My Case Was Dismissed, Now What?

Your bankruptcy case was dismissed and now you want to know what options you have. It first depends on what chapter of bankruptcy you filed and then on why the case was dismissed.

Chapter 13

A chapter 13 has numerous ways and reasons for being dismissed. Most can be prevented and even more can be remedied. All of the reasons listed above for ways that a Chapter 7 can be dismissed apply to a Chapter 13 as well. If the Debtor or Debtors do not appear at the Trustee’s 341 Meeting of creditors the trustee will continue it to another date for Debtor or Debtors to appear. However, if Debtor or Debtors do not appear at the continued Trustee’s 341 Meeting of creditors, the trustee can move for dismissal of the case.

However, there is many more way that a Chapter 13 can be dismissed. Given the multitude of reasons for dismissal, only about 25% of Chapter 13 cases see completion. Given the frequency of some of the dismissal reasons, attorneys have begun to safe guard against these issues by requiring the clients to comply with certain guidelines and provide certain documents prior to a case being filed. The reasons for dismissal and ways to avoid them are discussed below.

A Chapter 13 requires monthly payments to be made to the trustee as a condition of the bankruptcy. If payments are not made by the due dates or if you get more than 1 month behind on plan payments the trustee can file a motion to dismiss with the court. The motion will state a response date. If you are current by the response date then upon your attorney responding to the motion, the trustee will withdraw the motion. However, if you need more time to get current on plan payments you should contact your attorney and ask that they respond to the motion to dismiss stating that you intend to get current on plan payments or that you are in the process of getting current on plan payments. To prevent this from happening at all we ask that a wage order be filed. A wage order is where the payments are taking from your paycheck and forwarded to the trustee directly. No hassle and no temptation to spend the money that otherwise would go to the trustee.

Another reason a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be dismissed is for failure to provide documents. Required documents in every case include showing the trustee your Identification and proof of social security number. This can be in the form of a social security card, w-2, 1099, military ID, Medicare card, etc. However things that are not except as proof of social are tax forms that you or someone else prepared. The social security proof must be something that was given to your with your full social security number already on it.  Other required documents include the most recent 60 days of paystubs or other proof of income such as an affidavit, etc. These are not only required to give to the trustee but are needed by your attorney to accurately complete your entire petition before filing. In addition, the most recently filed tax returns are required to be turned over to the trustee. If you do not have a copy, you can call the State Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service and ask that they mail or fax a copy to you. If you most recently filed taxes over 10 years ago and are not required now required to file taxes, it is unlikely that you will need to provide a copy of the taxes however you should speak with your attorney to be sure that the tax returns are not needed. In certain cases, trustee may request bank statements, proof of sale, etc. Any documents requested must be turned over to the trustee. Failure to do so will result in dismissal of your bankruptcy. To avoid the pressure of coming up with documents after the trustee request them, your attorney will request and you should provide and documents relevant to the bankruptcy including but not limited to copy of identification, copy of social security card, w-2, 1099, military ID or Medicare card, 6 months of income history showing all sources of income covering the 6 months prior to the filing of the bankruptcy, copy of the most recently filed tax returns. If you own a business or owned a business within the 6 months prior to filing, provide a copy of the business tax returns or Schedule C of your individual returns. While some of the trustees request may seem somewhat unexpected it is crucial that you gather the requested documents and provide them to the trustee immediately upon request. While the trustee typically provides 10 days to comply with requests, it is best that you supply the trustee with information within a few days.