All the recent press about Chapter 13 bankruptcy relates to the new bankruptcy law that is being debated in the U.S. senate, which would give bankruptcy judges the power to modify mortgages. And, while I’m very involved and keenly interested in these developments, the fact is, I’ve been dealing with Indiana Chapter 13 bankruptcy every working day for almost twenty five years. Since this form of bankruptcy involves a three to five year repayment plan, the debtor must have income with which to make payments. That’s the reason I stay on top of job news, including job statistics, but also news of projects that will create new jobs.

Feature stories about two long-term projects caught my eye in reading the Indianapolis Business Journal. Right here in Indianapolis, where my main bankruptcy law office is centered, plans are being finalized for a twenty-mile underground tunnel to store water, as part of an overall revamping and expansion of the city’s sewer system. At a projected cost of 3 1/2 billion dollars, this will be the largest public works project in our area for the past three generations! As IBJ explains, “local firms will have plenty of opportunity to sink access shafts, supply concrete, haul debris, and design and build interceptor sewers to feed the tunnels.” To me as an Indiana bankruptcy attorney, all of this can be summed up in four letters: j-o-b-s.

The second story concerned the Subaru plant in Lafayette, Indiana. According to IBJ, “Subaru expects its Lafayette assembly plan to produce enough vehicles in 2009 to make one forget the nation is sunk in recession.” The most important part of the article, (from my vantage point as a bankruptcy lawyer with offices that serve 38 Indiana counties, including some contiguous to Lafayette), is that “the plant will continue to employ more than 3,000 people”. What’s more, says reporter Kathleen McLaughlin, “the plant will keep employment steady…because rolling out new models requires extra hands.”

The success of any Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is dependent on steady income. It’s the income stream that allows a debtor to keep up with all the payments over the three to five year period and then emerge from bankruptcy to make a fresh financial start. If the new bankruptcy law is enacted allowing judges to modify mortgages, that will make Chapter 13 an even more viable tool for debtors to get their financial lives back on track.

As I mentioned in “New Bankruptcy Law Lines Up Advocates And Detractors From A to Z”, that’s why support for the measure is coming from many civil rights organizations, labor unions, and even the AARP.
Just as building cars and tunnels can’t be completed in a day, bankruptcy, as I keep reminding blog readers, is never a one-day “event”, but a process of building and rebuilding.