The duties of a debtor in Chapter 13 are not particularly hard, but, you must perform your duties in a timely manner. There are 10 basic duties that a debtor must perform. Failure to perform the duties may cause your case to be dismissed.

SHOWUP for your hearings. If you do not think enough of your case to come to the hearing, on time and with some idea of what is going on, then the Court, the Trustee and even your own attorney will not try as hard for you. Showing up also means having read and re-read all documents in your case and trying to remember what is in the documents.

KNOW what your schedules say. The values for your property, the amounts you owe, your expenses and income and lots of other information is in the schedules. The schedules are yours and you signed them. You are not required to remember everything in the schedules, but, you should never say you did not read them, have not seen them or have no idea where something in the schedules came from. You provided the information that was used to prepare the schedules.

MAINTAIN current information so that you can be contacted by your attorney, the Trustee and/or the Court. Anytime any of your contact information changes, you need to contact your attorney at once so that the information on how to contact you can be updated. Sometimes, there is only a very limited time to respond to Court and/or Trustee inquiries. There is no time to wait for forwarding of mail or running you down. By the time your are contacted, your case could be dismissed or you could have lost property.

PROTECT all of your property. When you filed your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you established what is called a bankruptcy estate. This consists of all that you own at the time of filing and everything you acquire while your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case is going forward. You cannot sell, trade, dispose of, mortgage, lien or lose property of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Estate without the prior approval of the Bankruptcy Court. Since everything you own is property of your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Estate, never get rid of anything without the permission and/or order of the Bankruptcy Court. No exceptions, no excuses and there is no reason for you to ever not have what you started with.

PAY the Chapter 13 Trustee as your plan says you will pay him or her. Your first payment to the Trustee is due 30 days after you file your case. Not 29 days and not 31 days. You do not need a bill from the Trustee or a reminder from your attorney. You are responsible for paying the payment or making sure that the payment gets made. Your attorney, your employer, your Mom or whoever else you want to blame will not help you. It is up to you to make the payment so make it or your case will be dismissed.

(Continued Rules in a Subsequent Blog)



About Nathan Davis, Esquire

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Nathan Davis has been practicing law for many years. Mr. Davis has a wide variety of experiences having practiced domestic relations, criminal law, social security law having also practiced collection law in the past. This knowledge is helpful when someone needs to restart their financial life. The practice is now primarily bankruptcy and debtor representation work, but, Mr. Davis continues to also practice real estate law, trusts and estates and a general litigation practice. I believe that the most important part of representation is trying to leave you better off when the case is finished than when you started. Although I will do as my client directs, I will always tell you if I think that you are making a mistake. Bankruptcy is about a "fresh start". If you do not make changes in what you are doing, you will be doing what you are doing now in the future. There is no shame in bankruptcy or other steps that you may take to start your life over. Too often, people worry more about things than about themselves, their family or their future.
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