Every bankruptcy case is different, especially so for Chapter 13 bankruptcies. However, a common timeline runs through nearly every case. Knowing this outline helps my clients to better understand the process and requirements. Here is a brief overview of the important moments in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
The first important moment is the filing of the case. This occurs after all the necessary paperwork and documents have been provided, and a Chapter 13 plan and petition are filed. However, an "emergency petition" can be filed when necessary, allowing the case to be filed before everything is ready. When an emergency petition is filed, all the necessary documents and papers must be filed within 14 days. This is a very important deadline, because the case will be dismissed if it is not met. Therefore, it is important to not file an emergency petition unless absolutely necessary. When a case is filed under normal circumstances, your attorney should file everything within a few days and get nowhere near any of the deadlines.
When the case is filed, a Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors will be scheduled for (roughly) four-to-six weeks later. The meeting of creditors is discussed in more detail elsewhere in this blog. However, it is only important to note here that appearance at this meeting is mandatory. You will generally be allowed to reschedule once. Missed appearances after that threaten the case being dismissed. It is advisable to make sure you have made the first payment in your plan by the time this meeting is held.
A second hearing, called a "conciliation conference" will be scheduled at the meeting of creditors. You will not be required to attend this hearing. Your attorney will amend your plan (if necessary) in the weeks before this hearing. This will occur if there are new claims to be accounted for or objected to, or if corrections need to be made to your plan. Assuming the amended plan is accepted, the bankruptcy case will be approved on a final basis at this hearing. If not, additional amendments can be made. After the planned is confirmed, you only need to make sure all of the payments are made on time.
Assuming all goes well with the case, the final requirements will occur at the end, or closeout, of your case. You will need to complete the second bankruptcy course, and review a motion with your attorney attesting that you have completed all of the requirements in your case. You won't need to make an appearance, but you will need to be in touch with your attorney. Once the case ends, you may need to start paying your mortgage again. Your attorney will explain the closeout procedure.
Contact us if you are considering filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and wish to review the process in more detail. We can set up a free consultation to discuss your situation in detail.