If you filed Chapter 13, you might have done so because your car was recently repossessed or you’re facing foreclosure or some other financial disaster is imminent. Now that you’ve filed, the car has been returned, the foreclosure sale has been cancelled and the harassing creditors’ calls have stopped. Life is good. But this is no time to kick back and let the bankruptcy court handle things. You still have lots to do.
Make Your Payments. It should go without saying, but it has to be said. You must make your payments. That includes payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee and any ongoing mortgage payments. You and your attorney have put together a budget and you have to stick with it. The budget is tight but you have to follow it. That means you might not be able to splurge and take the family to dinner at an expensive restaurant.
Provide Information to Your Attorney or the Trustee. You’re now in a long-term relationship with your attorney and the Chapter 13 trustee. Both may request additional information. You will probably have to provide copies of your tax returns each year. Make sure you continue to cooperate.
Alert Your Attorney to Any Changes. A Chapter 13 is a three to five year process. During that time, things happen. Jobs change. Cars and houses need repairs. Unexpected medical expenses come up. If any of these or any other reasons make it impossible to make your plan payments for a month or a few months, tell your attorney. After you’re delinquent about two payments the Chapter 13 trustee will move to dismiss your case. Let your attorney know ahead of time. There are things he can do.
Keep the Goal in Mind. There was a reason you filed Chapter 13. Maybe it was to save your house or car. Whatever it was, keep that reason in mind. It will help you through the next several years.