Category: Bankruptcy blog

NFL Football Star Files For Bankruptcy

NFL Football Star Files For Bankruptcy

NFL Football Star Files For Bankruptcy

Antonio Brown is an NFL Super Bowl champion who got his start playing college football at Central Michigan University. His first season in the NFL was in 2010 for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was considered to be one of the most productive wide receivers of the decade. In 2021, he played for the Buccaneers, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl. However, all of these triumphs didn’t come without struggles. A warrant was issued for Brown’s arrest in October 2023 for failure to pay child support. He was arrested and later released on a $15,000 bond. Apparently, unpaid child support isn’t the only debt that the former football star needs to address. In May 2024, he filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing nearly $3 million in outstanding liabilities. His petition was filed in the Southern District of Florida. As he begins the chapter 11 bankruptcy process, that could leave you wondering how it works and if bankruptcy could improve your own financial situation. If you’re in the Phoenix or Tucson area, our team can assist you throughout chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy. To learn more about our services, as well as to see if you qualify to file your case for Zero Dollars Down, call 480-448-9800 to schedule your free consultation.

Bankruptcy lawyer consulting with client, gavel in foreground, for Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers

Some of Brown’s Debts

Many people who file for bankruptcy have credit card companies and medical providers as their top unsecured creditors. But when celebrities, including professional athletes, declare bankruptcy, they may have more unique expenses that a typical person doesn’t incur.

    • $1.2 million: Anton Tumanov, a truck driver from Florida who secured a judgment against Brown for assault in 2020
    • $312,000: Marketing firm
    • $970,000: An individual who works as a hip hop musician, filmmaker, and fashion designer
    • $169,000: Law firm
    • $83,000: Credit card company

    How Bankruptcy Helps People Struggling With Debt

    After filing a bankruptcy petition, it can take several months or even longer before the court will officially discharge the debt. Many debtors need protection from their creditors far sooner than that. That is why the automatic stay goes into place when a debtor files their petition, not when the case is discharged. The automatic stay is a special feature of bankruptcy that places several restrictions on creditors who are seeking repayment from a bankruptcy debtor. Some of the creditor actions the automatic stay limits include:

    • Home foreclosure
    • Vehicle repossession (or repossession of any secured asset used as collateral for a loan)
    • Lien execution or perfection
    • Utilities shut-off
    • Filing or continuation of a lawsuit
    • Wage garnishment
    • Bank account levy

    The automatic stay protects the debtor while the case is being resolved. Most creditors will have no cause to continue pursuing the debtor after discharge. Several different types of debt can be cleared in bankruptcy, and debts that can’t be cleared can be paid off using a chapter 13 payment plan. If the debt is successfully addressed during the bankruptcy, creditors will have no standing to proceed with any of the actions described above. To see if your debts are eligible to be discharged in a personal bankruptcy in Tucson or Phoenix, Arizona, call 480-448-9800 to schedule your free consultation.

    Other Famous Athletes to File for Bankruptcy

    Despite their notoriously high salaries, several professional athletes eventually end up in bankruptcy court. Approximately 16% of NFL players file for bankruptcy within 12 years of retirement. Additionally, 6.1% of NBA players file for bankruptcy within 15 years of retirement. Some of the most famous professional athletes that have filed for bankruptcy include:

    • Mike Tyson: Even though the famously aggressive boxer earned more than $400 million in his career, he listed $27 million in debts by the time he declared chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2003. Some of his debtors included the IRS, British tax firms, multiple law firms, a former trainer, and child support.
    • Bill Romanowski: This fellow football star declared bankruptcy just weeks before Brown. The former Oakland Raiders player filed for bankruptcy with his wife shortly before a hearing was set to occur regarding their alleged misuse of funds for their nutrition company. When a bankruptcy is in good standing, the automatic stay protects the debtor from lawsuits and other legal matters.
    • Antoine Walker: This NBA baller earned more than $108 million throughout his 13-year basketball career. In 2009, he was arrested in Las Vegas for writing bad checks to the tune of more than $1 million. This led to him filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010.
    • Dorothy Hammill: This figure skater won gold in the 1976 Winter Olympics. She leveraged her massive popularity to secure a $1 million yearly gig with Ice Capades. She still had to declare chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1996, citing her husband’s bad business advice as the cause.
    • Michael Vick: This quarterback may be more well known for spending almost 2 years in prison for his involvement with a dog-fighting ring. However, he managed to earn more than $100 million during his NFL career. He declared bankruptcy while in prison and has since paid back his creditors in the amount of $18 million by living on an annual budget of $300,000 since his release.
    • Terrell Owens: This wide receiver played in the NFL from 1996 to 2011. He earned approximately $80 million throughout his career. He still ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2012, blaming factors like the housing market and bad investments. His financial situation wasn’t helped by $50,000 per month in child support, either.

    Choosing Which Type of Bankruptcy Fits Your Situation

    Some of the athletes listed above addressed their financial issues with chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is rare to see an individual file this type of bankruptcy because of how lengthy, complex, and expensive it can be. If you’re thinking about declaring bankruptcy, your options will most likely be chapter 7 and/or chapter 13.

    Chapter 7 bankruptcy can wipe away vast amounts of unsecured debts like credit cards, medical bills, and more. It only takes three to six months to complete a chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Some types of debts won’t be affected by filing for chapter 7, like child support, and it can’t clear secured debts like a home mortgage. But it can be a powerful tool for someone who has gone through an experience like a job loss or a medical emergency. Debtors can’t exceed income limitations, which vary by state, if they want to qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy. They may also need to consider whether their assets will be protected in a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. When any of these factors makes chapter 7 unfavorable, chapter 13 may be an option.

    Instead of erasing debts, chapter 13 pays them off in an orderly fashion. Mortgages, car loans, child support, priority tax debts, and more can all be paid off in chapter 13 while protected by the automatic stay. Known as the wage earner’s bankruptcy, a debtor can use this chapter if they have income above the chapter 7 guidelines and valuable assets. The best way to find out which type of bankruptcy suits your needs the best is by discussing your situation with an experienced bankruptcy professional. Our Arizona bankruptcy team offers skilled representation and flexible payment plan options starting at Zero Dollars Down. You can learn more about your options and the bankruptcy process today with your free consultation. To schedule, contact us at Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers or call 480-448-9800.

March Data Shows Business Bankruptcy Filings Are Up

March Data Shows Business Bankruptcy Filings Are Up

It’s hard to go anywhere or do anything without being reminded about inflation and the rising cost of living. Rent is up, groceries are expensive, and it’s becoming more difficult to justify discretionary purchases like meals at restaurants or days out with the family. Consumers aren’t the only one feeling the pressure of inflation- businesses are struggling with debts and operating costs, leading some of them to turn to bankruptcy. When a business declares bankruptcy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the business is closing. However, bankruptcy can also help expedite the process of shutting down and keep matters fair for all parties involved. Consumers can also use bankruptcy to clear debts and keep creditors at bay. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in the Tucson or Phoenix area, you probably have a lot of questions. Get them answered by a skilled Arizona bankruptcy professional, free of charge- contact our firm at 480-448-9800 to set up your free consultation.

Close-up of a gavel on a table with two professionals discussing in the background, representing Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers specializing in bankruptcy exemptions

What Caused the Increase in Corporate Bankruptcy Filings?

There was a total of 59 corporate bankruptcy filings in the United States in March 2024. This is an increase from the 48 total corporate bankruptcy cases filed in February 2024. These levels are lower than the same months in 2023, but higher than they were 10 years ago. The top categories for consumer bankruptcy filings are the consumer discretionary sector and healthcare. The consumer discretionary sector includes non-necessity items like shoes and apparel.

Joann Fabrics filed for bankruptcy despite having more than 800 locations, and Macy’s announced its intentions to close hundreds of store locations, although it did not declare bankruptcy. These retailers blame consumer caution and high operating costs as the reasons behind their bankruptcy filings. When the cost of living is high for consumers, they have less money to spend on things like footwear and fashion. And the high cost of living translates into high operating costs for businesses. As of April 2024, a footwear company called Shoes for Crews also declared bankruptcy in an attempt to sell the business. It plans to find a new owner and continue operating, which can be accomplished through a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. When a company files for chapter 7 bankruptcy, it means the end of the company- it must shut down.

What Happens In a Business Chapter 11

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is available to consumers and businesses, but you will most often hear of it being filed by larger businesses. There are small business and subchapter V procedures available that speed up the process by eliminating the creditor committee requirement in a chapter 11 bankruptcy, but the business must meet certain limitations to qualify for this type of filing. If the company is too large to qualify for a small business filing, their primary creditors will join together as a committee. While the company retains control of its day-to-day operations, business ventures that are outside of the normal course of business will need to be approved by the committee. For example, if the company wants to shut down several of its locations to reduce operating costs, this still needs to be voted on for approval by the creditor committee. But if a manager wants to let an employee go for consistent tardiness, this type of matter doesn’t need to be escalated to the creditor committee.

There isn’t a set course for a chapter 11 bankruptcy. There are several ways a company can “emerge” from chapter 11 bankruptcy. Oftentimes, it means finding a new investor for the company or a buyer for the company altogether. Some businesses use chapter 11 to shut down although it is not a requirement for chapter 11 bankruptcy. A business could also use the protection period from the automatic stay to restrategize the business, such as moving away from brick-and-mortar locations and focusing on online sales. Once the committee approves of the plan, the business can implement it. When the case emerges from bankruptcy and is considered discharged will vary by case.

What Happens in a Business Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a less variable process than chapter 11 bankruptcy. Business debtors don’t have multiple options in how to complete a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. The only option is to close down the business. A chapter 7 case is generally always completed in a 3- to 6-month timeframe. So if you hear of a business that you like filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, head to their closing sale quickly because the business will not be around for much longer.

Personal Bankruptcy- Chapter 7 & Chapter 13

Unless you’re the head of a multimillion-dollar corporation, chapter 11 bankruptcy is probably not the solution to your debt issues. Chapter 7 is the most common form of consumer bankruptcy, but chapter 13 bankruptcy can be useful to those struggling with debt as well. If you are considering bankruptcy, chapter 7 or chapter 13 may be the right form of debt relief for you. If you need assistance determining your bankruptcy eligibility in the state of Arizona, call 480-448-9800 to schedule your free consultation with our firm.

Although chapter 7 is the most popular type of bankruptcy, not everyone qualifies. Debtors must meet income restrictions to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, and some of their assets might not be protected in chapter 7. There are bankruptcy exemptions that the debtor can apply to protect their assets, but the exemptions have relatively low values. Unprotected assets can be taken away by the bankruptcy trustee, who will sell them at auction and use the proceeds to pay debts from the bankruptcy estate. If the debtor passes these hurdles and qualifies for chapter 7, they can wipe away all of their unsecured nonpriority debts in a relatively simple process.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a debtor to address debts, like secured debts and priority debts, which are not affected by a chapter 7 filing. A debtor who files chapter 13 will pay off their debts in a payment plan that lasts for 3 or 5 years. Their disposable monthly income will be calculated to determine how much they can afford to pay into the plan. If the debtor doesn’t have enough disposable monthly income, their unsecured non-priority debts (the debts that could be discharged in chapter 7 will be discharged at the end of the payment plan. A debtor needs to be able to show that they have sufficient income to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Does Inflation Have You Considering Bankruptcy? Start With A Free Consultation.

High prices on just about everything aren’t just affecting businesses, but individual consumers as well. There is only so far you can stretch your budget before creditors take action for unpaid bills. If you are facing a lawsuit from your creditor, vehicle repossession, home foreclosure, wage garnishment, and more, bankruptcy can shield you from creditors and clear your debts. After bankruptcy discharge, debtors have a clean slate and can create a new credit history without the burden of old debts. Our Gilbert bankruptcy team strives to make the process seamless and reduce stress for our clients. We offer payment plan options that allow eligible clients to file for Zero Dollars Down. To learn more, call 480-448-9800 to schedule your free consultation and contact us.

Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers
Office: 480-448-9800

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Can I Convert a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Can I Convert a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Gilbert Bankruptcy Attorneys Explain How to Convert a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

You may wish to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a total discharge of your debts, but you may not qualify, so you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. Or you may want to protect some assets, such as your vehicle or your home, so you opt for Chapter 13 instead. But what you may find is that after you have been paying on your Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan for a while, your circumstances change and you want to switch to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Is that possible? Yes. And a Gilbert bankruptcy attorney can help you. 

A person converting a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy thanks to Gilbert bankruptcy lawyers.

Reasons to Convert

There are two reasons that you would need to convert from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Your financial circumstances have changed, or your goals for the bankruptcy have changed. 

If your financial circumstances have changed, you may be struggling to keep up with your Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments. Your income may have dropped, or you may have lost your job completely. In that case, you may be able to switch to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because you can no longer afford the payments on your Chapter 13 repayment plan. 

You may also wish to switch because your goals have changed. For example, you may have chosen Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that you could catch up on your late payments for your car and could keep the vehicle. But now, you may no longer wish to keep the vehicle, and you want to get the discharge that Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows. 

If you find yourself facing either of these circumstances after entering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, talk to a bankruptcy attorney about your options. You may be able to convert to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

Eligibility to Convert to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Of course, you won’t be able to just switch over to Chapter 7 bankruptcy because you want to – you’ll still have to meet the original eligibility criteria. Otherwise, everyone who couldn’t qualify for Chapter 7 at first would just file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and convert later. Your bankruptcy attorney will review your finances to determine if the change in your circumstances has been enough to qualify you for Chapter 7 now.

You may be able to transfer some of the paperwork that you submitted for your Chapter 13 filing, but you are likely to have to fill out a lot of new paperwork. Work closely with your bankruptcy lawyer on this step as any mistakes you make could prove costly. You could even face penalties for some errors. 

Forced Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Conversion

In some cases, the bankruptcy court may actually force a conversion from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The circumstances for a forced conversion vary, but they include you not being able to keep up with your Chapter 13 payments and suspicion that you are abusing the bankruptcy system. Your bankruptcy lawyer will help you understand when a forced conversion may be imminent and why. 

If you just miss a few Chapter 13 payments, that is unlikely to trigger a forced conversion. The bankruptcy court would likely just work with you to get current on the plan.

Always consult with a bankruptcy attorney to better understand how the bankruptcy laws apply to your situation. The laws can be complex, and not every person will have the same outcome under the system. Your attorney can help you understand how to use creative filings to get the results you need. 

Contact Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers today to learn more about your options for debt relief through bankruptcy protection. We can help you with a new bankruptcy filing, or we can talk to you about converting your current bankruptcy filing. We’ll help you understand how you can get the maximum debt relief possible under the law. We offer our services with no money down, and we offer affordable rates to ensure that you have no barriers to getting the debt relief you need. We serve clients throughout Gilbert and the surrounding area. Call our bankruptcy law office today to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney and learn more about your options.

Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers
Office: 480-448-9800

Keeping Your Holiday Credit Card Debt In Check

Keeping Your Holiday Credit Card Debt in Check

Keeping Your Holiday Credit Card Debt in Check


Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers Share Tips on how To avoid holiday credit card debt

Everyone gets into the spirit of gift-giving around the holidays – some of us a little more so than others. It can be easy to spend a lot of money on family and friends with the intention of showing them how much you care and how special they are to you. However, if you’re not careful, you can spend your way into debt and even bankruptcy in your efforts to express your affection.

We’re sure that your friends and family would much rather have the gift of your presence than to see you run up serious debt that could lead to your need for a bankruptcy attorney. Here are a few other things you can do to keep your holiday credit card debt in check so that you don’t run into serious financial troubles: 

Stressed Out Woman Trying To Pay Credit Card Debt In Gilbert

Budget: Don’t Overspend With Credit

Make a complete list of everyone you want to give a gift. Include not just your immediate family members and close friends, but also anyone else you might want to give even a small gift, such as your children’s teachers, your mail carrier, or your trash pickup. You will then need to set a budget for each person – and stick to that budget.

It can be easy to overspend at the holidays because you shop on impulse and spend more than you intended for each person. You can also overspend because you forget to include people in your list, such as those teachers and professionals, and you nickel and dime your way up to hundreds more dollars in spending. Create a comprehensive budget and stick to it. 

Avoid Department Store Credit Cards

Many stores offer their own credit cards. They offer you great introductory rates or other perks, like cash back or free gifts, to entice you to sign up for the card. But these cards encourage you to overspend (you can’t use them anywhere else, and you feel more free to shop when you know you have the credit with the store). The stores are also counting on you not to pay off the balance each month and so to incur interest.

Just say no to these store credit cards. If you must shop with credit, use one of your other credit cards. But better still is to purchase all your gifts with cash. Credit just encourages you to buy what you can’t actually afford

Limit Credit Purchases With A Gift Exchange

Why do you need to purchase a gift for every person you know? You can still get into the spirit of the holidays and not spend as much money by participating in a gift exchange. Then you draw one name, give one great gift, and get one great gift in return. Everyone feels like they have been a part of giving and receiving, and everyone keeps their expenses low. 

Suggest a gift exchange with your family and with your friend groups. You may end up buying a handful of gifts for the season instead of dozens. 

Buy Early for Next Year

When the holiday season is over, stores start selling everything at deeply discounted prices. If you have some foresight, you can buy gifts for a fraction of the cost, and save big next holiday season. If you get into the practice of doing this every year, you can always have nice gifts ready without overspending. 

Just be mindful not to put these gifts on your credit card. Even discounted gifts can accrue interest on a credit card, and you can end up paying more than full price over the long term if you aren’t careful. Don’t overspend in January only to call a bankruptcy attorney in July. 

Keep Gift Giving in Perspective

You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses and buy Beat headphones or brand new iPhones for everyone on your list. You can give a small but meaningful gift that costs you very little and get the same enjoyment out of the holidays. 

Keep your gift giving in perspective. Focus on gifts that are thoughtful, rather than on the labels they carry or how much they cost. You may even consider making gifts or giving the gift of your time. Know that your loved ones would rather have a gift that came from your heart instead of a designer gift that cost you so much it led to debt problems that required a call to a bankruptcy lawyer. 

Make your holiday season truly bright. Follow these tips to keep your credit card debt under control while still being able to give your loved ones great gifts and enjoying the holiday season together. 

If you have already run up credit card debt that has gotten out of control, call Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers to learn more about your options through bankruptcy protection. We represent clients in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which offers a total liquidation of credit card and other unsecured debt, and in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which restructures your debts into a repayment plan, allowing you to keep assets such as your home or vehicle. Call our bankruptcy law office in Gilbert today to schedule a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer and learn more. 

Gilbert Bankruptcy Lawyers
Office: 480-448-9800

Ascena Retail Group bankruptcy blog

Four Arizona Lane Bryant Stores to Close in Ascena Retail Group Bankruptcy

Ascena Retail Group, the parent company of clothing stores like Lane Bryant, Catherine’s, and Justice, has joined a long list of large companies to file bankruptcy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Brick and mortar retail was already struggling, and months of stay at home restrictions have been the final straw. Ascena has chosen Chapter 11 so that some of its subsidiaries can continue operating. However, a significant amount of Arizona clothing stores will be closing as part of this bankruptcy. 

Ascena Retail Store Closures in Arizona

There are 688 Lane Bryant locations, Ascena has announced that four Arizona Lane Bryant stores would be closing as part of the bankruptcy.

The Lane Bryant stores Closing are located at:

• Gilbert- 3855 South Gilbert Road

• Gilbert- Baseline Road and N. Cooper Road

• Mesa- 6555 E. Southern Ave.

Tucson- 5351 S. Calle Santa Cruz

Ascena Retail Group bankruptcy blogAscena also owns Catherine’s, a plus size women’s store. Ascena plans to focus attention for this brand on online retail, as opposed to brick and mortar. All of its locations are closing in the bankruptcy.

The 6 Catherine’s Stores Closing in Arizona:

• Chandler- 2986 N. Alma School Road

Glendale- 5350 W. Bell Road

Mesa- 5052 S. Power Road

Mesa- 833 N. Dobson Road

Peoria- 9282 W. Northern Ave.

Tucson- 4730 E. Broadway Blvd. 

Justice, a girls’ clothing store formerly known as Limited Too, is also owned by Ascena Retail Group. Justice has 826 locations, approximately 600 of which are closing in the bankruptcy. As with Catherine’s, Ascena plans to focus more on the online side of this brand.

The Justice clothing locations Closing in Arizona include:

  • Avondale- 9945 W. McDowell Road
  • Gilbert- 1073 W. Baseline Road
  • Glendale- 5350 W. Bell Road
  • Glendale- 6800 N. 95th Ave. 
  • Mesa- 6555 E. Southern Ave. 
  • Peoria- 25546 N. Lake Pleasant Highway
  • Phoenix- 21001 W. Tatum Road
  • Phoenix- 2501 W. Happy Valley Road
  • Scottsdale- 16451 N. Scottsdale Road
  • Tempe- 5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle
  • Tucson- 4500 N. Oracle Road
  • Tucson- 5870 E. Broadway Road

Ascena also owns Ann Taylor and LOFT, but only one Ann Taylor Factory Store is closing in Arizona. It is located in Glendale at 6800 N. 95th Ave. Stores that have begun to reopen as stay at home orders are lifted have realized it’s too little too late, and it’s time to file bankruptcy. Ascena Retail Group will be joining Neiman Marcus, JC Penney, J. Crew, True Religion, Lucky Brand, and more on the list of fashion retailers to fall victim to COVID-19. Many of the Ascena locations that are closing are even at the same shopping malls. The pandemic has made it clear that online shopping has officially won the battle over fashion retail. 

Arizona’s Unemployment Rate

Ascena Retail Group bankruptcy blogArizona saw a spike of unemployment claims in April 2020, with an unemployment rate of approximately 13.4 percent. Conditions improved and the unemployment rate was down to around 9% in May, but has crept back up to 10% for June. The extra $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit is ending soon, as well as Arizona’s eviction moratorium. With at least 20 Ascena-owned stores closing in the bankruptcy, Arizona will hopefully at least be able to keep the unemployment rate static for July. 

What is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

Ascena has chosen Chapter 11 Bankruptcy because it allows the company to keep some store locations running and also continue operating online sales. Chapter 11 is also known as a Business Bankruptcy. It is the Chapter that a lot of businesses have to use when considering a bankruptcy for their business that they intend on still operating the business. When a company files Chapter 11, its top creditors will form a bankruptcy panel. This will give them control over business decisions like entering new contracts and selling assets, while leaving day to day operations in the hands of ordinary management. Debts will be restructured with the approval of the panel, with the filing company usually securing funding to emerge from the bankruptcy with a well-defined plan to return to profitability. Businesses also have the option of filing Chapter 7, which would discharge the liabilities for all of the company’s debts. However, the business would have to shut down entirely and surrender all of its assets and inventory. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 are available to businesses as well as individual filers. Individual filers also have the option of Chapter 13, which is a debt reorganization payment plan not available to businesses.