Chapter 13 is designed for individuals who have a regular income from any source who are temporarily unable to pay their bills and would like to pay them in installments over a period of time. Only individuals and/or persons conducting business under an assumed name are eligible to file Chapter 13. Corporations are not allowed to file Chapter 13. Also, you may not be eligible to file Chapter 13 if your total unsecured debts exceed $360,475 and/or secured debts exceed 1,081,400. (These dollar amounts are adjusted by Congress from time to time).
In a Chapter 13 you, working with your attorney, prepare and file a plan with the court to repay your creditors either all or part of the money that you owe using your future earnings or income. Income includes essentially any money that comes into the household including: child support, unemployment, social security income, pension income, disability pay, etc. The minimum period allowed by the court to repay your debts is three years and the maximum period is five years. Your plan must be approved by the court before it can take affect. In most consumer cases, the approval of the plan takes place automatically if there are no objections. If there are objections, those objections are usually satisfied prior to the date the debtor's case is scheduled to be approved or confirmed by the court.
The fundamental of Chapter 13's is that you keep all of your property whether exempt or non-exempt. However, sometimes you want to surrender or return property to a secured creditor (such as a vehicle) so you do not have to pay for that property anymore.
After completion of all payments under your plan, all of your debts are discharged except any alimony and child support, student loans, debts and criminal fines and restitutions, and debts for death or personal injury caused by driving while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs.