For many of those in Cleveland that may be struggling with debt, the option of seeking bankruptcy protection may seem to be out of the question due to a desire to be able to repay their creditors on their own. If this describes your attitude, you should know that a Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy allows you to do this. You present a payment plan to the court which allows you to repay your debts while stopping creditors from taking further actions against you. Countless others in your position have turned to this particular form of debt relief. In fact, data shared by Fox Business shows that nearly 30 percent of the 1.175 million bankruptcy filings in 2012 were Chapter 13 cases.

Yet what happens if you are unable to make your Chapter 13 payments? If financial hardships (such as the loss of a job or a reduction in income) contribute to your inability to pay, you may be able to explain your situation to the court and ask for more time to resolve the situation. If a resolution is nowhere in sight, you may even ask for hardship discharge, which discharges your case despite not having completed your payment plan.

If you still want to continue in your case, you can also request to submit a modified payment plan that more accurately reflects your current financial situation. Seeking to have your case converted to a Chapter 7 (if you qualify) is also an option.

A failure to do anything on your part after having missed payments could result in your case being dismissed. If this happens, you can refile in the future after your financial situation improves.