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Christopher S. Mulvaney, Esq.


The difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is that Chapter 13 requires you to make at least 3 years and usually 5 years of payments before receiving a discharge – a bar against collection of remaining balances.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called a “wage earner plan” because it allows consumers with regular income to restructure their debts.

If you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, I can assist you in creating a proposed monthly payment plan which meets the requirements for confirmation (being made official and binding on creditors by the Court). You are expected to pay 100% of all valid claims or 100% of your disposable income as calculated by the means test, whichever is less.

I am Christopher S. Mulvaney, founder of Mulvaney Law Offices, PLLC, in Bellevue, Washington. I teach clients about their debt relief options and guide them to financial freedom. My goal is to help people turn a challenging time in their life into a transformative time. How you ended up over your head doesn’t matter to me (no judgment); my plan is to help you exercise your rights, and to make the absolute most of the opportunity that the exercise of those rights provides.

Protection From Creditors as Long as You Make Plan Payments

You may be a good candidate for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you are struggling to pay your bills each month, but you have a consistent income and assets that you want to keep, like a home with equity or a business with resale value.

Debt Limits.  The debt limits in Chapter 13 are $419,275 in unsecured debt and $1,257,850 in secured debt.  Undersecured debt is added to the unsecured balance.

TAXES:  Tax debt may be dischargeable in bankruptcy if certain strict conditions are met including filing all returns and paying all taxes on time for three full years prior to filing bankruptcy.  If taxes are not dischargeable, then they must be paid in full in 60 months in Chapter 13.Credit card debts, tax debts, mortgage arrears, medical debt and car loan balances are among the debts that can be paid through your Chapter 13 plan. It is important to have skilled legal guidance when filing for Chapter 13 to avoid dangerous missteps.

I help my clients steer clear of pitfalls and achieve many benefits from filing for Chapter 13, including:

  • Avoiding garnishment of 25% of your net pay by one creditor while balances to other creditors keep growing.
  • Avoiding repossession of a vehicle and allowing payments which are not current to be caught up over 5 years with a potentially lower “crammed down” balance, payment amount and interest rate.
  • Avoiding seizure of any bank accounts up to the amount of any Judgment against you
  • Paying tax debt over 5 years without interest or penalties.
  • Catching up arrears on a mortgage over 5 years.
  • Potentially stripping a lien from your home.
  • Potentially discharging debts that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7.
  • No more creditor harassment. Creditors cannot pursue collection actions against you as soon as your case is filed due to the automatic stay. Creditors must file a Motion and set a hearing if they want to take action against you. Creditors who are not part of your plan can sue you and garnish your wages while you are in Chapter 13, so list all creditors.
  • Time Limited Repayment (No Perpetual Debt Wheel) Completing a Chapter 13 plan is difficult. The plan requires that you have no disposable income (any more than necessary to live) for 5 years. However, without Chapter 13, many debtors would struggle for 10 years or more to pay off the same debt if they ever do so.
  • Repayment of all Creditors. Many businesses offer debt consolidation, but these services can lead to an endless cycle of debt for consumers because not all creditors are included or are bound by the plan as they are in Chapter 13. Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, under the guidance of a skilled attorney, offers a secure legal framework for repayment of debt.
  • Stopping foreclosure. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop foreclosure proceedings any time prior to the sale. You can get up to date on your mortgage through your monthly debt repayment plan so long as you pay the regular mortgage payment plus the arrears divided by 60 at the contract interest rate plus the 5% Trustee’s fee on the whole amount. This is rarely feasible.

You can see the list of bankruptcy forms here.

USTP Position Concerning Chapter 13 Disposable Income Test



If you do file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should create an account at the link below to see all deposits and payments in your case.


You should also be aware that there are strict requirements regarding purchasing a vehicle in Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 CarPurchaseRequest with Limits & Fax

The Chapter 13 Trustee’s Best Practices Manual will give you a good overview of how to comply with all requirements.

Chapter 13 Trustee Fitzgerald’s Best Practices Manual 07-21-15


Legal Services Offered





While my practice is centered on helping consumers get out of debt and protect themselves and their families in the event of death or incapacity, I am happy to offer additional legal services to my existing estate planning and bankruptcy clients.

Are you worried about mounting debt?

Or facing a Judgment, Garnishment or Foreclosure?

Have you been putting off getting an estate plan for too long?

I offer my clients legal counsel regarding foreclosure, buying and selling real estate, Transfer on Death Deeds, and real estate matters generally.  

MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC does not do litigation.

Christopher S. Mulvaney’s Mission:

To Always Be a Human Being First – and My Role Second. 

To First, Do No Harm, then to provide the best legal outcome, smoothest process, best value, and to make a positive difference in the life of every client.

Christopher S. Mulvaney’s Mantra:

May I be filled with loving kindness for all life.

May I be safe from dangers within and without.

May I be healthy in body, mind, socially, and spiritually.

May I be at ease and happy doing good in the world.

Every client is an estate planning client. 

Additional services related to debt, bankruptcy, and real estate are available to estate planning clients.

I offer initial ZOOM legal consultations to prospective estate planning and bankruptcy clients for two reasons:

(1) determining if the issues are within my practice areas (the “wheelhouse“), and

(2) determining whether a potential client is willing to let me lead them to the best likelihood of achieving a favorable outcome with the smoothest process of getting there. 


DISCLAIMER:  The use of email or this form for communication with MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC does not establish an Attorney-Client Relationship. Time-sensitive information should not be sent through this Form or through email.  Confidential information can be uploaded into a shared encrypted folder after you have made initial contact with me.

For more information about my practice in Bellevue, Washington, please consult my Blog.

  • Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Issaquah, Sammamish, Maple Valley, Burien, SeaTac, and throughout King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties.

If you have read this far, you may be interested to know what I need to explain to potential clients very quickly which is the intersection in the Venn Diagram above of my practice areas and insurance coverage. As you can see the numbers of case types that are not in my practice areas is large, as is the number of case types that are neither in my practice area nor covered by legal insurance. The intersection is what I call the Wheelhouse. It contains two practice areas – estate planning and bankruptcy that pay all of the bills.

The small miscellaneous bit of my practice which I only do in conjunction with estate planning (bankruptcy is also done in conjunction with estate planning, so every client is an estate planning client. The challenge to me is to quickly explain to prospective clients that the long list of miscellaneous services on the left side of the diagram do not pay the bills – they are simply done to assist my estate planning clients with other matters that are not economical for lawyers to handle in isolation, so they would likely have difficulty finding counsel to assist them.

That is the difference between paying out of pocket by the hour and using flat fee legal insurance. If you are paying by the hour, you have more latitude regarding what the scope of service includes and what it does not. However, if the issue is too small you are not likely to find a lawyer to assist you even if you are willing to pay more than the market hourly rate because many smaller cases interfere with revenue production, increase stress, and increase risk.

That is an important part of why I do what I do the way I do it. There are many lawyers to serve you if you have means, in the manner you wish to be served. However, the majority of middle class and lower middle class people do not have access to legal representation and advice when they need it. In 1979, I heard Jimmy Carter give a speech in which he said that America is over lawyered and under represented. That is more true now than it was then.

I see my niche in the law as representing people in the most economical way possible for the most people, which is through legal insurance. Egalitarian access to legal services affordable by as many people as possible is a value for me. I have the privilege of earning a living in a manner that is consistent with my values. So, if you choose to become a client of MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC I thank you for allowing me to be who I am in my work, and to serve with my whole self – not divorced from consideration for the good of society in the pursuit of forever more profit.