At the Law Office of Gregory A. Holbus, L.L.C., we are always looking for ways to better serve our clients and meet their needs. We’ve had a number of clients inquire about alternative ways to pay legal fees, and in a few days, we will be offering ACH/EFT as a new method to do so. We’re in active negotiations with a title company to re-introduce real estate deeds, mortgages, and tax bills to the list of things our Document Retrieval System can obtain for you.
We are now offering services to file debt amortization plans under Wis. Stat. § 128.21. What is it? In a lot of ways, it is similar to a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy debt consolidation and repayment plan. Unlike Chapter 13, “Chapter 128s” are cheaper, have less restrictive qualification requirements, and require far less paperwork/disclosures to sign and file. Both Chapter 13 and Chapter 128 pay unsecured creditors at 0% interest and can prevent wage garnishments and utility shut-offs. Chapter 128s do not show up on your credit report as a bankruptcy, there are no counseling courses to take, no hearings to attend, and you have the freedom to selectively include and exclude debts.
But, as I always say: you get what you pay for. Chapter 128 may be Chapter 13’s cheaper, faster, and easier cousin, but there is a trade off. You are not eligible for a discharge in Chapter 128 – all of your debts must be paid in full. You can’t do a 5 year plan like you can in Chapter 13 – a Chapter 128 may go no longer than 3 years. Chapter 128s do not prevent repossession or foreclosure. Though both Chapter 13 and Chapter 128 are a matter of public record, it is much easier for your friends to learn about your Chapter 128 via Wisconsin’s free and publicly-accessible Circuit Court Access (CCAP) web-site. Finally, Chapter 128 is limited to Wisconsin residents.
As your attorney, it is my job to make sure that you make a decision that is in your best financial interests. I do not recommend Chapter 128 for people who have a personal aversion or distaste for bankruptcy. I do, however, recommend Chapter 128 for people in unique circumstances. For example, if your debt is so low that the cost-to-benefit ratio of filing bankruptcy would be negligible, then a Chapter 128 might make more sense. If you are ineligible for a discharge under Chapter 13 because you filed bankruptcy too recently, then a Chapter 128 might make sense. If you are facing a utility shut-off, and cannot afford a bankruptcy (or can’t afford it in the time window you have before the shut-off), then Chapter 128 might be a good temporary solution to your problem.