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Maryland residents like you may find yourself in a position where debt overwhelms you. When pushed into a corner like this, your options often feel limited. You may turn toward bankruptcy feeling like it is a last resort, but it is not.

Bankruptcy is a helpful tool that can get people like you out of hot water. But if you opt for Chapter 13, you need to know how it will impact you and what your obligations are.

Starting off on the right foot

Forbes discusses your basic obligations under Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The first obligations include filing the necessary paperwork at the start of the process. You should file a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in your local bankruptcy court. The court also requires documents like your repayment plan and most recent tax return. You must also submit filing and administrative fees at the time.

Then comes your primary obligation: repaying creditors. Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 works under the assumption that you can handle your debt if you restructure it. In accordance, the court expects you to pay those debts off.

Maintaining your repayment plan

You distribute money to creditors according to your repayment plan. In general, there is an order to which you repay them. For example, you must pay your priority debts in full first. This includes alimony, child support and owed wages. Other secured debts go next, including tax liens.

You pay unsecured creditors in an amount that equals your non-exempt property. This includes medical and credit card bills. Speak with experts before filing to ensure that your repayment plan sets realistic standards that you can actually reach.