Outline for client Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
The purpose of this outline is to advise the client on what to expect in the preparation and filing of a Chapter 13 case:
- The first step in filing the case is to pay the fee to the office and provide all of the information required. An important point is providing all of your income for the 6 month period prior to filing the petition.
- After you have paid the fee and provided all of the information, it will be necessary for you to do the Credit counseling course with Greenpath. The credit counseling certificate must be obtained prior to filing the case.
- Once all of the information is provided your petition should be prepared promptly. If you do not hear from the legal assistant within 10 days in regard to signing the petition you should call and ask when an appointment to sign the petition. If you have a Sheriff’s sale you must schedule and appointment and obtain a case number prior to the Sheriff’s sale date or you will lose your house.
- At the appointment, you will be provided with the petition to review and sign. The attorney will then review the petition with you to make sure it is correct and then file the case.
- You must begin to make your payments immediately after your case is filed. The attorney will provide you with the amount and frequency of the payment. If you are working a payment order will be sent to your employer. If you are on a fixed income you will have to provide a check or bank statement for direct withdrawals. The number one reason cases are dismissed is for failure to make the payments. Do not wait for the wage assignment to take affect because this generally results in your case being dismissed..
- After the case is filed you will receive a notice from the court regarding your hearing dates. The first hearing is in approximately 30 days after your case is filed. It generally lasts about 10 minutes. We will provide you a script of generally asked questions. You must attend this and bring proof of your identity; drivers license or state ID and social security card. If you do not have this at the hearing the Trustee will move to adjourn or dismiss your case. The second hearing is the confirmation hearing at which your case will generally be approved. This hearing generally lasts an hour to all day if necessary to see the Judge. Your presence at the court is to work out problems with the case if any and not testify.
- After the first hearing you will probably receive objections from the Trustee or creditors. Do not be overly alarmed. The objections usually ask that your case be dismissed. My staff will also receive copies of the objections and generally contact you to help resolve the issues. If you have questions regarding an objection, please call the office.
- After the case is approved you must pay 100% of your future Federal refunds to the Trustee. You must also provide copies of your Federal returns to the Trustee each year.
- Your plan will run generally either 36 months or 60 months from the date it was confirmed. Near the termination of your plan you will receive a notice from the Trustee and you must do the Educational course with Greenpath and sign a Certificate regarding spousal support. Failure to do this can cause your case to be closed without a discharge and result in additional fees.
- It is possible after your case is approved to modify your plan if your income has changed. You will need to schedule an appointment with the office and bring current paystubs or other information to do this.
- You may also wish to convert your case to Chapter 7 if you are eligible especially if you have brought your mortgage current and having a difficult time making the payments in the case.
- Also you may receive periodic bills for attorney fees for services performed during the case
- If you want to purchase a vehicle or incur a debt over $1,000.00 you will need to obtain the courts permission.
- Near the end of the case the Trustee will send a notice that your case should be terminating and you have 30 days to complete the Educational Course with Greenpath. In addition, you will have to sign an Affidavit with my office that you have no delinquent child support obligations that accrued during the course of the case.
- Once these documents have been filed with the court and you have made all your payments, you should receive a Discharge.
- If you have an ongoing mortgage payment you should resume making the payments directly to the mortgage company. You should also resume paying any non-dischargeable debts such as student loans if not paid in full during the Chapter 13.
Article provided by Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney John Steinberger.