If you want to file a chapter 13 to address your debts and make more than the average family in Washington State, the length of your plan will probably last a full 5 years. If, however, you make less than the average family you can still file a 3 year repayment plan.
In a relatively recent case, In Re Flores, the Ninth Circuit joined several other circuits requiring a Chapter 13 debtor whose income is above the median average for similarly sized families in their place of residence to file a five year plan regardless of whether they have disposable income. Disposable income is calculated as income from most sources minus allowed expenses.
Previously, debtors located in the Ninth Circuit, which includes Washington State, could file a three year plan if their disposable income was zero or negative even if their earned income was more than the average family. Now if a debtors’ income is above that of a similarly situated average family it does not matter what their disposable income is, the debtor must file a 5 year plan.