Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition protects you from creditor actions, and allows you to develop a repayment plan with the court's supervision. You're eligible to file Chapter 13 as long as your debts don't go over the maximum amounts allowed by law and you meet the other court requirements. You don't have to be behind on your bills to file.
Federal law allows for the adjustment of debt limits following changes in the consumer price index. The 2013 debt limits were $360,474 in unsecured debt, such as credit cards, and $1,081,399 in debts backed by property, such as a home mortgage. You can file a Chapter 13 petition if you run your own business as long it's not a corporation or partnership arrangement. You must receive credit counseling that has been approved by the court and submit any debt management plan developed during the counseling sessions. If you filed for Chapter 13 and didn't do what was required, you must wait at least 180 days to file again.