No one wants to hit any snags when they’re attempting to file bankruptcy, especially any errors that could lead to your case being dismissed. When you work with me, I’ll ensure that all of your paperwork is complete and organized so that the court trustee can assess your situation without any difficulty. This is important because missing information or documentation could lead to the court dismissing your case, with or without prejudice.
If there are minor errors or missing items when you file your case, the court will most likely dismiss your case without prejudice. These were honest mistakes, and you’ll just need to correct them and find the documentation before re-filing your case. You’ll still want to avoid this type of dismissal because it affects your automatic stay. When you re-file your case, the automatic stay will only be in effect for 30 days, which is a shorter window of time than most cases. If you don’t take the proper steps to ensure your case is resolved quickly, you may need to file an additional motion for an extension.
There are several reasons your case might be dismissed without prejudice, including:
• Not providing all of the required supporting documents or legal forms.
• Failing to complete your pre-filing credit counseling courses.
• Missing your 341 meetings 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.
If the trustee believes the errors in your case are due to intentionally being dishonest rather than a simple mistake, your case could be dismissed with prejudice. This might include actual bankruptcy fraud, but could include less serious offenses as well. In these situations, the trustee will take a case-by-case approach to determining how to move forward. The trustee will usually require you to wait 180 days before you can file again, but it is at their discretion to set the length of time. The trustee may also restrict the debts that will be included in your new case, sometimes disallowing debts that would have been included when you originally filed.
If your case is dismissed with prejudice, you’ll be faced with a couple of choices. Most people simply wait the required time and make the expected corrections. However, if you disagree with the trustee’s decision, you may want to file an appeal to a higher court. This can be a tricky situation, so it’s best to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of the best next steps.
Don’t Go It Alone
People sometimes decide to file bankruptcy without the help of an attorney, but there are risks involved with taking this route. You may miss out on helpful exemptions or inadvertently make a mistake that could damage your case. I’m well versed in bankruptcy law and have helped many people make a new financial start. Give me a call if you have questions or are ready to start a new chapter in your life.