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.