Please note that the following are summaries and do not, by any means, cover everything that can and does occur in any given bankruptcy case. Moreover, the following assumes that you are represented by an attorney, because it omits certain tasks and duties that will be performed throughout the process by your attorney.
(Time from filing to discharge: usually 36-65 months)
- Mandatory Credit Counseling: you must obtain a certificate from an approved credit counseling agency before you can file your case.
- File Petition with the Court.
- Your “Plan” in Chapter 13: along with all your other papers, you file a “Plan” of repayment with your creditors.
- Mandatory meeting with the Trustee. This occurs about one month after your case is filed. It is often referred to as the “341 Meeting.”. Depending on your situation, these meetings in Chapter 13 cases can take quite a bit of time, as they are significantly more involved than in Chapter 7 cases. The Trustee will analyze your bankruptcy papers and the information contained therein. Also, you are required to prove the income you set forth on your bankruptcy papers.
- Objections to your Plan. Your creditors are, of course, able to object to your Plan (if they can show it wasn’t proposed in good faith, the amounts are insufficient, etc.).
- Claims of your creditors. Generally your creditors have 90 days following the first meeting date with the Trustee to file their claims.
- Plan Confirmation Hearing. At some point after your meeting with the Trustee, the court will hold a hearing on confirmation of your Plan.
- Your payments. Your monthly proposed plan payments are first due 30 days after your case is filed and then continue for the duration of your plan. A failure to maintain or stay current on such payments during your Chapter 13 case can result in the loss of the asset and dismissal of your case.
- ONGOING DUTIES: Once your Plan is confirmed by the court, you simply need to make the required payments for the duration of your plan. However, you must provide the Trustee in your case with a copy of your subsequent tax returns that come due and are filed during your Plan term.
- Financial Management Course: you are required to complete a financial management course before receiving your discharge.
- Once you have completed all the required payments, the Trustee will start to process your discharge. YOU ARE NOT DISCHARGED FROM ANY DEBTS UNTIL YOU RECEIVE THE DISCHARGE ORDER FROM THE COURT. If you are curing a mortgage default, your loan is not reinstated until all payments have been received as required under the plan by that creditor.