Converting From Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

While debtors who file Chapter 13 to protect certain assets are usually diligent in making their payments, sometimes the circumstances have a way of interfering with their ability to meet the plan’s requirements.  It is possible that the debtor loses his/her job, missed a few payments, and creditors lifted stay, or the debtor decided that the assets were not worth preserving.  One option that is always available in Chapter 13 is to dismiss the case, which the debtor has a right to do at any time in a Chapter 13. But this may leave you with credit card or other debt, or you may be worried that the house or car will be sold at foreclosure or repossession, or that the lender will go after you for a deficiency. In these cases, the best option is to covert your case to a Chapter 7.

In those situations, the debtor may still seek relief from the bankruptcy court, and convert the case from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, provided that the means test can be met. When converting the case from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7, there is still some paperwork that needs to be taken care of.  The petition and schedules need to be updated with respect to the property, whether or not it is kept by the debtor.  With respect to any property securing the debt, arrangements must be made with the creditor in order to keep it.

Schedules I and J for your income and budget along with the Means Test have to be updated to reflect that you no longer have the money to make payments in a Chapter 13 case . Once all of the paperwork has been revised, then the debtor must sign the amended schedules, so that they can be filed with the court.

Once the attorney files a Notice of Conversion with the Court and pays the $25 conversion fee, the Court will convert your case to a Chapter 7.  There are also other consequences associated with the conversion. Initially, any money that the Chapter 13 Trustee is holding, less any administrative fees that the Trustee is due, will be returned to to the debtor. Any plan payments that are withheld from the debtor’s paycheck will be returned as well. A new Chapter 7 Trustee will be appointed and a new 341 hearing (meeting of the creditors) will be held. The debtor will also have to file a Statement of Intention with respect to any assets subject to creditors’ claims, and also file amended schedules listing any additional debt incurred between the filing of the Chapter 13 and the date of conversion.

If you are dealing with debt problems in Western New York, including Rochester, Canandaigua, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, Webster, Victor, Farmington, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Parma, Brockport, Spencerport, LeRoy, Chili, Churchville, Monroe County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Orleans County, Livingston County, and being harassed by bill collectors, and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.