What Happens When There’s a Problem?
If a significant issue with your case is identified, the Chapter 13 Trustee will communicate that there is an issue by filing a motion with the Bankruptcy Court. Her office will also send a copy of that motion to the debtor and the debtor’s attorney. If you receive a copy of a motion in the mail, please contact your attorney so that the underlying issue can be resolved.
If you have a problem or issue with your Chapter 13 case or with making your payments, you should contact your attorney. Your attorney may be able to adjust your debt repayment plan by filing certain pleadings with the Bankruptcy Court. The Chapter 13 Trustee, however, cannot waive, excuse or lower your payment requirements, and she cannot offer you legal advice. The Chapter 13 Trustee is required to report to the Bankruptcy Court if you fail to make payments on time or in full. The Court may then enter an order dismissing your case and withdrawing the protection of the Bankruptcy Court. If that occurs, you then could be subject to creditor collection efforts and other actions.
After speaking with your attorney, if you are concerned that your plan may not timely complete, you may request a Feasibility Status on your case. You and your attorney will be required to complete a Request for Feasibility Status form. For your convenience, the Trustee’s Office will provide a Feasibility Status annually upon request but only after the government bar date has passed. Upon request, the Trustee’s Office will audit the case and then estimate the remaining months in the plan, assuming timely payments and no additional changes to the plan or claims. This feasibility report is only an estimate, and any information given regarding the status of a case or claim is subject to court approval and is not legally binding. There are many factors which may subsequently affect how long it will take to complete a plan, such as, but not limited to:
• Failure to pay according to the terms of the confirmed plan, such as missing plan payments or not making each complete plan payment in a timely manner;
• Filed claims which are greater than the scheduled or anticipated amount;
• Filed claims which were not scheduled or anticipated;
• Claims which are filed after the government bar date but to which no objection has been lodged;
• Mortgage arrears caused by missed or short plan payments;
• Additional mortgage payments required because of other feasibility issues;
• Mortgage payment increases due to escrow items, like homeowner’s insurance and/or property tax increases;
• Post-petition fees and expenses on mortgage claims;
• Allowable post-petition claims to be paid pursuant to the confirmed plan;
• Amended claims or allowed deficiency claims;
• Supplemental attorney fee requests or hourly billing;
• Tax refunds due as additional payments under the plan; and
• Funds from a sale of property, lawsuit or inheritance that qualifies as additional payments under the plan.
Typically, your request for a Feasibility Status will be processed within 3 to 4 weeks. This information is provided as a convenience only. Ultimately, it is incumbent upon you and your attorney to monitor and manage your plan performance.