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What do I do when my case is up for dismissal?



You must make your Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan payments on time, which means they must be received by the bankruptcy trustee and processed by the deadline. One day actually matters. People whose payments are being payroll deducted are given a little more latitude but the payments still have to be sent by the employer, and sometimes they are not. It is up to you, the debtor, to monitor your paychecks and KEEP YOUR PAYCHECK STUBS to be able to prove that money was taken out of your check.

If a payment is not received then the bankruptcy trustee will file a motion to dismiss the case for failure to pay. In SC a hearing is set and you have to object to the request to dismiss your case or it is dismissed. If you have objected, then you need to work out the dismissal hearing with the trustee either one or two days prior to the hearing (depending on before which judge you are scheduled to appear), which means you work out a way for you to catch up the chapter 13 bankruptcy plan payments which are behind or you have to appear in court and ask the bankruptcy judge not to dismiss your case. The customary practice is for you either to contact your chapter 13 trustee caseworker and resolve the matter or to sign an agreement the bankruptcy trustee has sent to you. Which one you do depends upon the practice of your bankruptcy trustee. It is rare that you cannot just agree to the bankruptcy trustee’s settlement proposal UNLESS you have had a lousy payment history. (Everything you do and say to the trustee’s office during the payment plan is noted on your caseworker’s computer). This is because typically the bankruptcy trustees will offer a settlement that is as generous as the bankruptcy judge would give you if you went to court. However, if you do not contact the bankruptcy trustee or your attorney, then the case will be dismissed and you will be back where you were before you filed bankruptcy, except probably worse off.

In NC the trustee sets a hearing and will ask to adjust your plan payment amount or term to pay the amount that the debtor is behind, unless you are too far behind and he may ask for a dismissal if you cannot bring the case current.

Sometimes, cases are set for dismissal because you have not provided the bankruptcy trustee with documents you were supposed to provide by a particular deadline. If this is the case, for gosh sakes, GET THEM TO YOUR ATTORNEY and you may be ok. Other times, bankruptcy cases are dismissed because the debtor did not appear at the meeting of creditors. You may not be able to save the case in this situation if you do not have a valid excuse.

It is very important that you do not let your bankruptcy case be dismissed because, under the new bankruptcy law, it is very difficult to qualify to file a second chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have had a bankruptcy case dismissed. Also, sometimes cases are dismissed with prejudice. This means that, if it is dismissed, then you cannot file any type of bankruptcy again anywhere for a certain period of time.

Normally, there is an extra charge for your attorney to defend a motion to dismiss.



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