If you have been considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you probably know that there are several steps to the process. Your bankruptcy isn't final until it is approved by the court. In order to obtain that approval, there are a series of steps you must complete. Here's a look at some of the things you need to be attentive to in order to avoid the dismissal of your Chapter 13 filing.
Provide Complete And Accurate Documentation
You'll be required to provide a series of documents as part of your bankruptcy filing. This will include information such as a complete log of your debts, a full report of your earnings and sources of income, pay stubs, tax filings, bank statements, and more. If your paperwork is incomplete, you risk having your case dismissed.
It's important to retain the services of a bankruptcy lawyer before you file so that you have legal support to ensure that your documentation is complete. Your lawyer will help you to create a comprehensive package of the financial records and evidence that the court has requested and will ensure that all of the forms are filled out completely and accurately, to reduce the risk of dismissal.
Attend The Debt Counseling Sessions
As a part of your Chapter 13 filing, the court may order you to attend a certain number of debt counseling sessions. The purpose of these sessions is to teach you how to manage your debts responsibly. When debt counseling is ordered as part of a bankruptcy filing, you have to file completion certificates with the court to document that you attended. If you're missing even one certificate, the court may dismiss your filing.
If you want to ensure that your completion certificates are on record and you want to avoid the risk of dismissal due to lost or misplaced paperwork, give copies of the certificates to your bankruptcy lawyer, as well as the court. That way, if a problem is raised during your final hearing, your attorney can provide the documentation.
Make Your Payments
The benefit of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it allows you to pay your debts under a restructured payment plan. However, this means that you are required to make those payments on time in order for your bankruptcy to be properly discharged by the court. If you miss a payment, you risk having your bankruptcy dismissed.
In the event that you miss a payment, or if you know that you have to miss an upcoming payment, reach out to your bankruptcy lawyer right away. Your lawyer can communicate directly with the courts to present your justification in the hopes of protecting your case from dismissal.