Even with all the planning and forethought that goes into your bankruptcy filing, mistakes can still happen. So, what do you do if you discover an error after your case has been closed? Typically, it is possible to reopen a case to cure a procedural error such as:
- forgetting to name an important creditor
- failing to file your credit counseling certifications
- forgetting to list a valuable asset
- the debtor receives a windfall of money or income
- neglecting to follow the appropriate procedure to remove a judgment lien on real property
- any other reason approved by the court
How do you reopen a case? We can file an ex-parte motion with the bankruptcy court requesting permission to reopen your case without providing notice to all of your creditors. The court may also allow the case to be reopened without holding a hearing. The motion outlines the relief that is being sought and what error will be fixed by reopening the case. If the court grants our motion, we can proceed with your case on the one issue until it is resolved.
It is critical to understand that there is no guarantee that the bankruptcy court will permit you to reopen your case once it has been closed. Therefore, it is important to make every effort to ensure that your pleadings and paperwork are correct and all-inclusive when they are originally filed.
If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.
When you fall behind on your mortgage payments and your lender is threatening foreclosure, you should contact us as soon as possible to discuss your debt relief options. A personal bankruptcy filing is typically an option you should strongly consider. In fact, many Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases are filed because homeowners are attempting to avoid a foreclosure action.
If you believe foreclosure is in your near future, it is important to confer with us to discuss whether a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 would be beneficial for you. Each type of case has pros and cons, which we will fully explain to you.
A Chapter 7 case is called a liquidation because your non-exempt property can be sold to pay your creditors. However, the reality is that most Chapter 7 debtors do not own very many (if any) non-exempt assets. Although a Chapter 7 filing may not completely halt a foreclosure action, it can buy you more time in your home. Your mortgage lender can file a motion for relief from the automatic stay. If the judge grants the motion, the lender will be allowed to proceed with foreclosing on your home. However, this process takes time and you can negotiate with your lender. If your lender is allowed to foreclose on your house, it is important to understand that you can discharge the deficiency balance (the amount that you owe after the house has been sold).
In a Chapter 13 filing, the debtor is required to submit a Chapter 13 plan of reorganization. The plan outlines how you intend to pay your creditors (including your mortgage lender) and it must be approved by the court. Depending on the amount of debt and your individual finances, the Chapter 13 plan lasts for a period of three to five years. During this time, you can make payments that will get you caught-up on your mortgage payments. Thus, the foreclosure action is halted as long as the debtor is making the Chapter 13 plan payments.
The thought of losing your house is frightening and overwhelming, but we can help. Let us help you try to save your home.
Don’t delay any longer. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.
Bankruptcy Attorney in Melbourne, Florida
The drafters of the bankruptcy laws were wise enough to realize that humans make mistakes. As a result, if you realize after your discharge order has been entered that an error was made in your bankruptcy case, it may be possible to reopen your case to fix the mistake. It should be noted that it is not a guarantee that the court will allow you to reopen your case, so it is essential that you try to get everything done correctly when you initially file.
The most common reason for reopening a bankruptcy case is that a procedural error occurred. This includes errors such as:
- failure to timely file your counseling certification (Official Form 23)
- failure to follow procedure for removing a judgment lien on real property
- failure to name an essential creditor
- failure to list a valuable asset
- a windfall of money or income (trustee might request the reopening)
- any other reason approved by the court
The process to reopen a case involves the debtor filing a motion asking the court for permission to reopen the proceeding. You must typically pay a fee to file the motion. Typically, the debtor requests that the case be reopened without giving notice to all of the creditors and without a hearing. Providing limited notice only to the parties impacted by the error being fixed is usually sufficient. The debtor’s motion must provide a detailed explanation of the mistake that occurred and why the case should be reopened to cure it. If the motion is approved, the case will proceed on the specific issues outlined in the motion until they are resolved.
You should never rely on the idea that you can reopen your bankruptcy filing. It is imperative that you closely review your initial pleadings to verify that they are complete and correct. Reopening a case costs you time and money, but it is an option if you need it.
If you have discovered an error in your bankruptcy case, let us help you obtain permission to fix it. Contact Faro & Crowder, PA to schedule an appointment.