When Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Timing Matters

When Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Timing Matters -- LEE LEGAL -- DC VA MD

Timing matters in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Just as important as knowing whether to file is knowing when to file. Issues surrounding the timing of the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can cause your case to be dismissed.

When Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Timing Matters -- LEE LEGAL -- DC VA MD

When you must file quickly

You must file your bankruptcy prior to a foreclosure auction or you will not be able to save the property. Filing bankruptcy after a foreclosure auction has already been held will not save your home. If you file a Chapter 13 prior to the auction, then the automatic stay takes effect. That stops the auction. Then can make up missed mortgage payments over an extended period of time. But filing bankruptcy after a foreclosure auction is too late.

Likewise, if you file Chapter 13 after your landlord has obtained an eviction judgment, then the bankruptcy will not prevent eviction. You must file the bankruptcy prior to your landlord’s obtaining an eviction judgment.

Filing bankruptcy after a repossession, in some cases, will allow you to get your vehicle back. But the creditor will charge you handsomely for the repo costs and fees. It is usually preferable to file Chapter 13 prior to repossession.

When waiting to file makes more sense

Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy during a civil litigation case will not result in the case’s being dismissed. Instead, the case will only be “stayed” temporarily. Usually, bankruptcy courts will allow the plaintiff relief from the automatic stay to allow the litigation to go forward. This allows the claim to be litigated — and liquidated — in the proper venue. Often it makes sense to allow the litigation to run its course prior to filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Waiting to file until the first of the month might make sense, too. Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after your latest mortgage payment comes due allows you to include that payment in your Chapter 13 plan. On the other hand, if you file near the end of the month, then your first mortgage payment will come due within a few days after your filing. Sometimes this can strain your budget and even cause missed payments.

Especially at the beginning of a Chapter 13 case, you don’t want timing issues to trip you up. The Chapter 13 trustee will scrutinize your case for feasibility to determine whether you have the ability to repay. If you miss mortgage or vehicle payments or fail to make your Chapter 13 Plan payment, your case may be in peril.

Don’t let timing throw you off

Call Lee Legal to schedule a free, comprehensive financial analysis. When to file a case is often just as important as whether to file at all. We will help you identify the issues and develop a plan to allow you to move on with your life.

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About Brian V. Lee 535 Articles
Brian V. Lee provides bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, business turnaround, and litigation services to clients in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland. Brian was the Washington, D.C. state chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys from 2016 to 2018.