Bankruptcy is a complicated process, and simple errors could lead to your case being dismissed. Oftentimes, missing information or documentation are the primary causes of a case being dismissed. When I am working by your side, I’ll make sure that all the paperwork is complete and organized. The court trustee will be able to review your case without any difficulty or delay. This is very important because if you end up missing information, it could lead to your case being dismissed with or without prejudice.
If you make an honest mistake in your paperwork, the court will likely dismiss your case without prejudice, meaning that all you need to do is correct the mistakes and locate all the proper documentation before re-filing. Obviously you want to avoid having this type of dismissal because it negatively affects your automatic stay. Once you re-file your case, the automatic stay will only be in effect for 30 days. This is less time than most cases. If for some reason your case gets delayed or is not resolved quickly, you will need to file an additional motion for an extension.
Other factors that can lead to your case being dismissed without prejudice include:
• Not providing all of the required supporting documents or legal forms.
• Failing to complete your pre-filing credit counseling courses.
• Missing your 341 meeting with the court trustee.
• Not meeting the requirements for the chapter of bankruptcy you’ve chosen, such as filing a Chapter 7 without passing the means test.
• Not paying all the required court fees or keeping up with your Chapter 13 repayment plan.
The court will assign a trustee to evaluate your case and go over all the documentation. If the trustee finds an error and believes it is intentionally misleading or dishonest rather than a simple mistake, your case could be dismissed with prejudice. The trustee will also evaluate if the error is actually Bankruptcy Fraud or a less serious offense. The trustee will investigate each case to determine how to move forward.
The trustee will most likely require you to wait 180 days before you could file again. Ultimately, it is at the trustee’s discretion to set the length of time. The trustee can also take a look at all your debts and make decisions on what debts can be included in your new case. It is possible that the trustee can disallow debts that would have included on your original case.
If you end up having your case dismissed with prejudice, you have a couple of choices to make. Most people make the corrections and wait the required time and attempt to file again. But if you don’t agree with the trustee’s decision, you have the option to file an appeal to a higher court. If you decide to appeal, it is best to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney by your side as these cases can be very tricky and you will need advice on how to proceed.
Don’t Go It Alone
Occasionally, people move forward with filing bankruptcy without guidance from an attorney. You need to be aware of the potential risks involved in taking this action. Not only could you miss out on possible exemptions you qualify for, you could make a mistake that damages your case or ends up getting you in trouble. I have helped countless people make a fresh financial start and have guided them through the process. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, give me a call and I would be happy to help.