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I had the pleasure of attending the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys seminar held at the Nebraska College of Law a week ago, and it got me thinking about how much trial attorneys need to understand about the bankruptcy process.  In a nutshell, here are seven things every trial attorney should understand about bankruptcy.

1. Injury

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Two new court opinions were recently handed down by the 5th and 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue of whether Social Security income is considered “projected disposable income” under the Bankruptcy Code.  Projected disposable income is income that must be paid over to creditors during a 3 to 5 year Chapter 13 payment plan.

In the

Chapter 13 cases involve a payment plan over 3 to 5 years.  No case may be completed in less than 3 years (unless an undue hardship exists), nor may the plan extend beyond 5 years.

Since 2005, the Bankruptcy Code now requires that debtors whose income is above the median family income levels to remain

Chapter 13 is a 3 to 5 year payment plan supervised by a bankruptcy trustee designed to reorganize relatively small debtors.  Big companies or individuals with substantial debt seeking to establish reorganization plans (as opposed to filing a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy) must file Chapter 11.  The streamlined procedure of Chapter 13 is limited to