Solutions to Common Objections to Chapter 13 Cases
Filed in the Northern District of Georgia
As your bankruptcy lawyers, our goal is to persuade the bankruptcy judge to issue an Order of Confirmation in your Atlanta Chapter 13 case. The first four to six weeks after we file your case is active but it is still in a temporary status. During this four to six week period, the Chapter 13 trustee as well as creditors are permitted to filed “objections to confirmation.”
Usually, creditors and the trustee are not trying to get your case thrown out when they file these objections to confirmation. Instead, the objections serve to let us know if more information is needed or to start the negotiation process whereby we change the terms of our plan. Experience has taught us to that most Chapter 13 plans will have to be modified, and we keep that likelihood in mind when we file your case. Sometimes, but not always, we will have to consider increasing your trustee payment slightly to satisfy objections. Here are some of the more common objections to confirmation that you are likely to see:
Common Chapter 13 Trustee Objections
in the Northern District of Georgia
Funding - the trustee will object if the funding of your case is delinquent. Remember that your funding obligation begins the minute we file your case. Some people mistakenly believe that they do not have to start paying into their case right away - this is false. Since your payroll deduction might not start right away, you may have to send in your first trustee payment by check or money order. The solution to a funding objection is money. But don’t wait until the week before confirmation to starting worrying about funding. Call our office at 404-522-2222 to discuss the steps you can take to satisfy your Chapter 13 funding requirements.
Needed documents - document request objections are becoming more and more common. The type of documents you may need to produce include:
tax returns - the current year and up to three years prior
receipts - including grocery receipts, gasoline receipts, car repair receipts, medical bills, education expenses. If you claim an expense on your budget (Schedule J), there is a chance that the trustee will want receipts. Therefore, start saving all of your receipts as soon as possible, preferably before you even file.
- pay stubs - save all pay stubs (also called “pay advices”) to verify income. This includes your pay stubs as well as pay stubs for any other person in your household who works
- closing statements - if you bought or sold real estate, you may need to produce the closing documents
- divorce paperwork - if you have transferred property as required by a divorce decree or if you have obligations to your ex-spouse that impact your budget, the trustee may want to see your divorce paperwork
Term problem - Chapter 13 cases can last no longer than five (5) years. If creditor claims come in higher than expected and the trustee computer shows that your case will last longer than 60 months, you will get a “terms” objection. The solution to this problem is to increase the plan payment to make the math work, or to object to one or more claims, if appropriate
Unfiled tax returns - if the IRS has not received a tax return from a previous tax year, they will file a notice documenting the missing return. Since the amount of your tax obligation is unknown due to the missing return the trustee cannot calculate whether your plan is feasible. The solution to this problem is for you to provide a copy of the missing returns to the IRS. Call our firm if you need help getting a missing tax return filed.
Feasibility - your case must be feasible in that you have got to be able to live with your proposed budget for up to five years. For example, if you show a food budget of $50 per month for three people, the trustee will objection on the basis of feasibility. At Clark & Washington, we work hard with our clients to make sure that all of the budgets we file are feasible.
Need proof of mortgage payments - if you are financing your home, the trustee will want proof that you have made your mortgage payments each month during the probation period. The solution to this objection is for you to make your mortgage payments and to save your receipts.
Some of the More Common Creditor Objections
and Their Solutions
Plan does not provide for a large enough monthly payment to the creditor. The plans we prepare and file in your Chapter 13 case direct the trustee to pay specific amounts to specific creditors. Creditors may object if they are not getting enough. For example, if your plan includes a vehicle finance company and sets a payment at $100 per month, the finance company may object. The solution to this problem is to set a reasonable payment. At Clark & Washington, we have a great deal of experience calculating Chapter 13 plans and we have a good idea what will work. Without giving away our strategy, we can say that our firm will push your creditors to accept terms in your plan that make sense for you.
Creditor needs proof of insurance - if you have a house or vehicle in your Chapter 13 plan, you need to keep it insured and you should be prepared to provide us with a copy of the declarations page and the name and contact number for your insurance agent.
Whatever the objection, Clark & Washington pledges to work aggressively to negotiate the best possible terms for you in your Chapter 13 plan and to keep you in the loop when it comes to creditor and trustee negotiations