After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy debtors are required to make monthly payments to a bankruptcy court trustee. These payments are distributed to various creditors, including a debtor’s attorney and the trustee him or herself. At the end of the bankruptcy, the petitioner will receive a discharge that prevents creditors from pursuing him or her for additional payments and allows the petitioner to have a fresh start with his or her credit. However, failure to meet certain terms may result in a bankruptcy case being dismissed prematurely. If this happens, knowing what to do if your chapter 13 bankruptcy case is dismissed may help you avoid some of the most negative repercussions of dismissal at the hands of creditors.
Contact Your Attorney
If you receive notice that the trustee has either filed a motion to dismiss your case or obtained a dismissal because of past issues with the case, contact your attorney immediately. In most cases, your attorney will already have a copy of the motion or notice, but there are times when you may receive notification first. Contacting your attorney as soon as you are aware of the problem will give your attorney more time to explore your options and protect you from adverse actions at the hands of your creditors. Remember, once your chapter 13 case is dismissed, your creditors can begin collection activity again, including repossessing vehicles or garnishing your wages.
Explore Modification Options
In some cases, the dismissal was caused by payments not being made in a timely manner or a change in your financial status. If these reasons are cited by the bankruptcy court, then explore the possibility of having your plan modified. A modification may reduce your payment amount or even help you become eligible for a hardship discharge. Depending on your circumstances, the trustee may even recommend that your case be converted to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Discuss these options with your attorney and decide if any are reasonable given your unique circumstances.
Prepare to Appeal or Refile
The bankruptcy court and the trustee overseeing your case will work with you to resolve a motion to dismiss. Your attorney can appeal the dismissal, citing any relevant reasons why they feel the court should consider granting an appeal. If an appeal is not successful and your case is dismissed, in most situations you can immediately refile a new bankruptcy case allowing you to receive protection from the court.
Protecting Your Rights
The process to appeal or dispute a chapter 13 case dismissal is complex and is not something you should attempt on your own. Even if you originally filed your bankruptcy without help, it is advisable to contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney before reaching out to the court regarding your motion to dismiss. The legal team at Adam Law Group knows how overwhelming and stressful it is to receive a motion to dismiss from the bankruptcy court. Our lawyers work on your behalf to resolve the situation and protect your rights as a bankruptcy petitioner. Contact our conveniently located Jacksonville, Florida office to schedule a consultation so that we can begin working on your case today.