In a Chapter 13 case, what are the debtor’s responsibilities?
June 29, 2022
By Diane Drain Attorney & Retired Law Professor
The Debtor may not submit any papers to the Bankruptcy Court until he or she is confident that the information is (1) accurate; and (2) supported by existing law or a good faith case for its modification. Rule 9011 applicable. To put it another way, someone who is representing themselves in a bankruptcy must be familiar with the bankruptcy and state laws that pertain to their circumstances. Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse. Regarding the information submitted by the Debtor, the Debtor’s counsel must make the same oath. Under Section 707(b)(4), sanctions may be imposed.
The Bankruptcy Code’s Section 521 and other parts detail the paperwork that must be filed and some deadlines:
- (Before filing the bankruptcy, take the mandatory credit briefing class.) §109(h))
- 521(a)(1)(A) requires that all creditors be notified of the bankruptcy. Any addresses on all mail received in the last 90 days prior to filing must be included in this notice requirement. §342(c) If the creditor does not receive notice at the correct address, the creditor may be able to pursue legal action outside of bankruptcy court until the creditor receives notice at the correct address.
- Schedules, a statement of affairs, and an employer declaration must all be filed.
- Fill out the master mailing matrix.
- Submit the electronic declaration that is necessary.
- 7 days before the creditor’s meeting, file the Mean’s Test (Official Form B22A-C) and send a copy of the most recent tax return filed or a transcript to the Trustee.
- Debtor must file all required, unfiled tax returns for the previous four years the day before the creditor’s meeting.
- Attend the mandatory creditor’s meeting.
- Provide evidence of identity and other documentation to the Trustee (bank statements, wage statements, tax returns, car titles, etc).
- The trustee has the option of continuing the meeting for another 120 days. (§1308)
- The Plan of Reorganization should be filed and noticed to all creditors.
- Complete the financial management class (after the bankruptcy has been filed). §§111.1328(g))
- The Chapter 13 case may be dismissed if the Debtor fails to keep all child support and alimony/maintenance obligations current throughout the Plan. (§1307(c)(11))
- Before filing bankruptcy, the debtor must file any tax returns that are due within the last four years. Otherwise, the Chapter 13 case may be dismissed. (1308(a)) (§1307(e)) It is impossible to confirm a plan until all tax returns have been filed. (§1325(a)(9)
About the Author: Diane Drain
Diane is a well respected Arizona bankruptcy and foreclosure attorney. As a retired law professor, she believes in offering everyone, not just her clients, advice about bankruptcy and Arizona foreclosure laws. Diane is also a mentor to hundreds of Arizona attorneys.
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