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Chapter 13 - Individual Debt Adjustment

The information provided here is intended to answer frequently asked questions and is not to be interpreted as legal advice or to serve as a complete guide as to what is required to be filed, provided or completed in a chapter 13 case.   This information is subject to change without notice.

Attorney Representation
Chapter 13 Plan & Confirmation
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms
Credit Counseling & Debtor Education
Credit Rating & Reports
Discharge of Debts under Chapter 13
Documents Required to File Bankruptcy
Mortgage Modification Mediation
Payment of Filing Fees
Potential Delay or Denial of Discharge
Preventing Automatic Dismissal of Your Bankruptcy Case
The Trustee & the 341 Meeting of Creditors
 

Attorney Representation


Any debtor other than an individual (or a married couple) must be represented by legal counsel.  Corporations or other business debtors may not file bankruptcy under chapter 13.
 
Pro se debtors must comply with the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the Northern District of Florida (N.D. Fla. L.R.), the Title 11 of the U.S. Code (11 U.S.C. or “the Bankruptcy Code”) and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Fed. R. Bankr. P.) just as if they were represented by an attorney.  Failure to do so can result in dismissal of the case or other sanctions. 
 
The laws pertaining to bankruptcy are very complex.  The staff of the Clerk’s Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the judge, the judge’s staff, and/or the trustee appointed to oversee the bankruptcy case are not permitted to answer legal questions for you, nor can they provide guidance as to the content or types of documents that may be required in your bankruptcy case.  Please see the Filing Without an Attorney section of this website for more information if you are contemplating filing bankruptcy on your own. 
 

Credit Counseling & Debtor Education


Debtors who file chapter 13 bankruptcy are required to obtain credit counseling from an approved provider within 6 months before filing for bankruptcy relief.  Debtors are also required to complete an instructional course in personal financial management from an approved provider after filing bankruptcy.  (11 U.S.C. § 521(b),(c)).  Failure to obtain the required certifications may result in dismissal of your case or withholding of the discharge.   A list of approved providers is available from the Clerk’s Office or the website of the U.S. Trustee Program.

U.S. Trustee Program > List of Approved Credit Counseling Agencies
U.S. Trustee Program > List of Approved Providers of Personal Financial Management Instructional Courses

Documents Required to File Bankruptcy


The forms listed below are available from either the United States Courts > Bankruptcy Forms website (Official Forms) or the Forms page of this web site (Local Forms designated as “LF”).  Many of the forms are in interactive (“fillable”) Portable Document Format (PDF) and all can be printed or saved to your computer.
 
When filing a bankruptcy case, documents should be placed in the order as they are presented below.  Items preceded by an asterisk (*) are required to initiate a bankruptcy case.  Failure to include these items may result in the dismissal of the case.  All remaining documents must be filed within the specified time period.
 
  • *Filing Fee - The filing fee is to be paid in full at the time of the filing the petition unless the debtor files, and the court approves, an Application for Payment of Filing Fees in Installments (Official Form B 3A).  An application to pay in installments can be filed by individual debtors only (including married couples) and shall be filed at the time of the filing of the petition.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1006(b).

  • *Voluntary Petition (Official Form B 1) - Required to initiate the bankruptcy case.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(a)(1).

  • Summary of Schedules, including the Statistical Summary of Certain Liabilities  and Related Data (Official Form B 6) - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c).

  • Schedules of Assets and Liabilities (Official Forms B 6A - 6F), Schedule of Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases (Official Form B 6G), Schedule of Co-Debtors (Official Form B 6H), Schedules of Current Income and Expenditures (Official Forms B 6I & B 6J) and Declaration Concerning Schedules (Official Form B 6 - Declaration) - All schedules must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b),(c) and 11 U.S.C. § 521(1).

  • Statement of Financial Affairs (Official Form B 7) - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  11 U.S.C. § 521(1)(B)(iii) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b),(c).

  • Notice to Individual Debtor with Primarily Consumer Debts under 11 U.S.C. § 342(b) (Procedural Form B 201) - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  When the debtor is represented by legal counsel, the attorney’s signature on Exhibit B (page 2) of the Voluntary Petition certifies compliance with this provision.  11 U.S.C. §§ 342(b), 521(a)(1)(B), 1307(c)(9).

  • Declaration and Signature of Non-Attorney Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (Official Form B 19), if applicable - Must be filed with the petition if the bankruptcy petition is prepared by someone other than the debtor(s).  11 U.S.C. § 110(b)(2).

  • Disclosure of Compensation of Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (Procedural Form B 280), if applicable - Must be filed with the petition if the bankruptcy petition is prepared by someone other than the debtor(s).  11 U.S.C. § 110(h)(2).

  • Disclosure of Compensation of Attorney for Debtor (Procedural Form B 203), if applicable - Must be filed within fourteen (14) days or other date set by the court.  11 U.S.C. § 329 and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2016(b).

  • Chapter 13 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable Income (Official Form B 22C) - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007.

  • *Creditor Mailing Matrix (no official form - see Instructional Document Inst-1 on the Forms page of this web site) - A typewritten list containing the names and addresses of all creditors of the debtor.  Must be filed with the petition.  11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(1)(A), Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(a)(1) and N.D. Fla. L.R. 1007-2.

All of the documents listed above may be filed as one document.
  • *Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B 21) - Required if the debtor is an individual.  Must be included with the petition.  This form is retained by the attorney for the debtor(s) and is not filed with the court unless the debtor is filing a pro se case (not represented by legal counsel).  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(f).

  • *Exhibit D - Individual Debtor’s Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling Requirement (Official Form 1, Exhibit D) - Required if the debtor is an individual.  Must be filed with the petition.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(3), (c).

  • *Motion for Determination and Waiver of Debtor’s Duty to Comply with Credit Counseling Requirement (Local Form LF-18), if applicable - Required if the debtor is an individual requesting a waiver of credit counseling requirements.  Must be filed with the petition. 11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(3).

  • Copies of all payment advices (e.g., earnings statements, pay stubs, etc.) or other evidence of payment received by the debtor within 60 days before the filing of the petition or, if the debtor has not received any income from an employer within 60 days before the filing of the petition, a Statement of No Employment Income (Local Form LF-16), whichever is applicable - Required if the debtor is an individual.  Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(1)(B)(iv) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c). 

  • Chapter 13 Plan (Local Form LF-21) - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3015.

Completing the Bankruptcy Forms


Your bankruptcy is a public record.  Do not place the full Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number on any bankruptcy documents other than the Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B 21).  Documents of which you are to provide copies, such as pay advices or earnings statements, bank records, or tax documents, must be redacted or truncated prior to filing.  (Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9037).   You may abbreviate the information as shown in the following examples:
  • Social Security Number and/or Taxpayer Identification Number:  last four digits only (e.g., xxx-xx-1234)

  • Financial Account Numbers:  last four digits only

  • Birthdate:  year of birth only

  • Names of Minor children:  initials only (no names) 

Debtors filing pro se (without legal representation) are required to provide a daytime telephone number and to submit a completed Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B 21) with the Voluntary Petition.  This document must contain the full Social Security or Taxpayer Identification Number and will be retained by the Clerk’s Office as part of the case file but is not part of the public record. 
Correcting an incorrect Social Security Number:  If you mistakenly provided an incorrect Social Security Number when filing the bankruptcy case, you must provide an Amended Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B 21 marked “Amended” in the title) to the Court.  An Amended Voluntary Petition should only be filed if the error is in the last four digits of the Social Security Number.
  • Debtors represented by attorneys: The attorney will mail a copy of the Amended Statement of Social Security Number to the Court and keep the original with the other original bankruptcy documents and retain this document for four (4) years after the case is closed.

  • Pro se Debtors:  You must provide the original Amended Statement of Social Security Number to the Court.  We will attach this document to your electronic case record and place the original in your case file but neither the original nor the electronic version of the document will be available for public viewing. 

  • Notifying Creditors and Parties in Interest:  Pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1009(c), the debtor (pro se) or debtor’s attorney shall promptly notify each entity included on Schedules D, E, F, G and H of the correct Social Security Number(s).  A truncated or redacted copy of this notice showing only the last four digits of the Social Security Number should be filed with the Court. 

Most of the information needed to complete the bankruptcy forms comes from the debtor’s own personal records.  Other information needed to complete some of the forms, for example the applicable median family income for the Chapter 13 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable Income (Official Form B 22C), comes from other U.S. government agencies such as the Census Bureau. 
 
This information is available through the website of the U.S. Trustee Program or from the individual agency websites.

U.S. Trustee Program > Means Testing
U.S. Census Bureau > State Median Income

Mortgage Modification Mediation


If you are a Chapter 13 debtor who wants to keep your home, cannot afford your current mortgage, and most importantly, can afford to pay 31% of your gross income to a modified mortgage, you qualify to participate in our new Mortgage Modification Mediation program. Requesting mediation will allow you and your lender to discuss whether modifying your mortgage loan is feasible. If you are successful, you may lower your monthly payment amount and keep your home.

Mediation is an informal meeting conducted by a neutral mediator selected by you and your lender who acts as a discussion facilitator. The mediator cannot force a lender to modify your mortgage but can help you and your lender reach an agreement. Mediation is simply a way for you and your lender to discuss whether modifying the mortgage on your home is possible.

If you qualify for and want to use this mediation program, you must complete and file a Motion for Referral to Mortgage Modification Mediation (Local Form 13-38 or 13-38-PS ).

NOTE: You will need to pay a $385.00 mediation fee to the Chapter 13 Trustee before you attend the mediation.

After you file the Motion for Referral to Mortgage Modification Mediation (“motion”), the Court will enter an order granting the motion for referral to mediation. A sample order is provided here so you can familiarize yourself with the requirements. If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney can answer your questions. If you are not represented, you can call the Chapter 13 Trustee at 850-681-2734.

For a more detailed description of the program, visit the Mortgage Modification Mediation page of this website.
 

Payment of Filing Fees


Debtors may pay filing fees by cash (exact amount), money orders or cashier’s checks.  Attorneys may pay filing fees by cash (exact amount), check, money orders, cashier’s check, or credit card.  Personal checks or credit cards from the debtor, two-party checks, or post-dated checks will not be accepted.

Preventing Automatic Dismissal of your Bankruptcy Case (11 U.S.C. § 521(i)(1))


The following documents must be filed within 45 days of the filing of the petition or the case will be dismissed automatically without hearing or further notice:
 
  • Creditor Mailing Matrix/List of Creditors

  • Schedules of Assets and Liabilities - Schedules A, B, D, E & F (Official Forms B 6A, 6B, 6D, 6E & 6F)

  • Schedules of Current Income & Expenditures - Schedules I & J (Official Forms B 6I & B 6J)

  • Statement of Financial Affairs (Official Form B 7

  • Certificate pursuant to § 342(b), if applicable (Procedural Form B 201) - When the debtor is represented by legal counsel, the attorney’s signature on Exhibit B (page 2) of the Voluntary Petition certifies compliance with this provision.

  • Copies of all payment advices (e.g., earnings statements, pay stubs, etc.) or other evidence of payment received  within 60 days before the filing of the petition

  • Chapter 13 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable Income (Official Form B 22C)

  • A statement disclosing any reasonable anticipated increase in income or expenditures over the 12-month period following the date of the filing of the petition.  This information can be provided in item #17 of Schedule J.

The Trustee & the 341 Meeting of Creditors


Within ten (10) business days of the filing of a bankruptcy petition with creditor matrix, the court will issue a “Notice of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines.”  This notice is sent to all creditors listed on the creditor matrix to inform them of the bankruptcy case filing .  It also advises the debtor and creditors of the date, time and location of the  § 341 Meeting of Creditors (also known as the “341 Meeting”) and the deadlines for creditors to file a Proof of Claim and by which objections to discharge or dischargeability of certain debts must be made.  (11 U.S.C. § 341).  
 
Debtors should read the notice carefully to ensure the accuracy of name(s), address(es), and Social Security or Tax Identification Number(s) as well as to determine where and when to attend the 341 Meeting. 
 
Debtors must present a form of photo identification at the 341 Meeting as well as verification of his or her Social Security Number.  (11 U.S.C. § 521(h)).  If these items are not provided, the meeting may have to be rescheduled to another date.  The debtor’s failure to attend the 341 Meeting (including both husband and wife in joint cases) could result in dismissal of the party who did not attend (in joint cases) or dismissal of the entire case.  
 
An impartial case trustee will be appointed by the Assistant U.S. Trustee, an officer of the U.S. Department of Justice, to oversee the case and serve as a disbursing agent by collecting payments from the debtor and making distributions to the creditors.  The 341 Meeting will be conducted by the case trustee or an appointed member of her staff.  At the 341 Meeting, the debtor(s) will be placed under oath and both the trustee and any creditors in attendance may ask questions regarding the debtor’s acts, conduct, property, financial records or bankruptcy case documents, and the administration of the case.
 
Within seven (7) days prior to the date set for the § 341 Meeting of Creditors, debtors must provide to the trustee (not the Court) a copy of the Federal Income Tax Return (or transcript of the return) for the most recent year ending before filing bankruptcy.  (11 U.S.C. § 521(e)(2)).  Do not file this document with the court unless you are specifically requested to.

Assistant U.S. Trustee for the Northern District of Florida

Charles F. Edwards
110 E. Park Ave., Ste. 128
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 521-5005
http://www.justice.gov/ust/r21
Charles.Edwards@usdoj.gov

Chapter 13 Trustee

Leigh D. Hart
P.O. Box 646
Tallahassee, FL 32303
(850) 681-2734
http://www.13network.com

The Assistant U.S. Trustee and his staff are employees of the U.S. Department of Justice.  Although they, nor the panel trustees or their staffs are employees of the Federal Judiciary or the bankruptcy court, the contact information for trustees in all chapters is located here and on the Contact Us page of this website for your convenience.

The Chapter 13 Plan and Confirmation


The debtor must file a plan of repayment to creditors with the petition or within fourteen (14) days after the filing of the petition.   The plan must provide for payments of fixed amounts to the trustee on a regular basis for a specified period of time, usually three to  five years.

After the plan is filed with the court, a “confirmation hearing” will be held for the judge to decide if the plan is feasible and meets the standards for confirmation under 11 U.S.C §§ 1324 and 1325.  Once the plan is approved (“confirmed”) by the court the trustee will distribute the funds to the creditors according to the terms of the plan.

Chapter 13 Process & Forms

Discharge of Debts under Chapter 13 (11 U.S.C. § 1328)


The debtor will receive a discharge of debts provided for by the plan upon completion of all payments under the chapter 13 plan so long as the debtor meets all requirements under 11 U.S.C. § 1328.

Debts not discharged in a chapter 13 case include certain long term obligations (such as a home mortgage), debts for alimony or child support, certain taxes, debts for most government funded or guaranteed educational loans or benefit overpayments, debts arising from death or personal injury caused by driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, and debts for restitution or a criminal fine included in a sentence on the debtor's conviction of a crime. To the extent that they are not fully paid under the chapter 13 plan, the debtor will still be responsible for these debts after the bankruptcy case has concluded. Debts for money or property obtained by false pretenses, debts for fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity, and debts for restitution or damages awarded in a civil case for willful or malicious actions by the debtor that cause personal injury or death to a person will be discharged unless a creditor timely files and prevails in an action to have such debts declared non-dischargeable. 11 U.S.C. §§ 1328, 523(c); Fed. R. Bankr. P. 4007(c).
 
Questions regarding dischargeability of debts should be directed to a competent attorney who is familiar with the bankruptcy laws.

Potential Delay or Denial of Discharge


The court will delay or withhold the discharge for the following reasons, as applicable:
 
  • Failure to file a Debtor’s Certification of Completion of Post-Petition Instructional Course Concerning Personal Financial Management (Official Form B 23).  If a joint petition is filed, each spouse must complete and file a separate certification.

  • The debtor(s) received a discharge within the prior four (4) years if filing a chapter 7, 11 or 12, or within the prior two (2) years if filing a chapter 13. 

  • *Failure to file the required certifications regarding domestic support obligations.  

  • A Motion to Delay discharge is pending, including those related to 11 U.S.C. §§ 522(q)(1), 727(a)(12), 1141(d)(5)(c), 1228(f), the filing of tax returns under 521(f)(f), and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(8). 

  • Failure to pay the filing fee.

  • A hearing is pending concerning a reaffirmation agreement in which undue hardship is indicated.

  • *Failure to file a statement as required under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(8), if applicable, or if the statement declares that: 

    • There is NO pending proceeding in which the debtor may be found guilty under § 522(q)(1)(A) or found liable for a debt in § 522(q)(1)(B), a discharge cannot be provided earlier than thirty (30) days after the filing of the statement.  If a related Motion to Delay Discharge is filed prior to the thirty (30) days, the discharge will not be entered pending direction to be provided via resolution of the motion.

    • There IS a pending proceeding in which the debtor may be found guilty under § 522(q)(1)(A) or found liable for a debt in § 522(q)(1)(B), the discharge will not be entered pending direction to be provided via the resolution of the pending proceedings and any related motions.   

     *The requirement for items marked with an asterisk (*) may be satisfied using Local Form LF 13-37.

Credit Rating & Reports


The court is not responsible for credit reports or the information reported by credit bureaus.  Bankruptcy records are public record and the information contained in them can be retrieved by anyone.  Additionally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows credit bureaus to keep a bankruptcy on your credit record for up to ten (10) years from the date of discharge (not the date of the filing of the case).  Any disputes you have with a credit reporting agency must be resolved by you and that agency. 
 


Disclaimer
Various links listed on this and other pages are maintained by other public and private organizations. These links and pointers are provided for the user's convenience. The U. S. Bankruptcy Court does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information; nor does it control or guarantee the on-going availability, maintenance, or security of these Internet sites. Further, the inclusion of links or pointers to particular items in hypertext is not intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.