Featured News 2013 How to Get Your Bankruptcy Case Reopened

How to Get Your Bankruptcy Case Reopened

Did you make a mistake in your bankruptcy case? If your bankruptcy has been finalized, or even if it has been dismissed, you might be able to get your bankruptcy case reopened. This would be true in cases where you left out vital information, such as a significant asset or even a creditor. If you need to correct an omission in your bankruptcy file, you may be able to do so, even if you have already gotten a discharge. Here is when and how.

Before you actually filed for bankruptcy, you will have had to take credit counseling with an approved agency. At the time you completed this counseling, you should have received a credit counseling certificate, which you must have filed with the rest of your bankruptcy papers. If you missed the deadline to file this credit counseling certificate with a bankruptcy court, then your case can be dismissed with your debt not discharged. But if you still have your credit counseling certificate, it may be possible for you to reopen your case in order to file the certificate this time around.

What if you forgot an asset? As part of your bankruptcy, you are supposed to provide a list of all your assets, even property that is on its way. If you left out an asset on one of your schedules, then you (or even a trustee) can get your case reopened. Say for instance, that your name is on a car's title, but you do not really consider yourself the owner anymore because your sister "inherited" it and now drives it everywhere. If you failed to put this car on your schedule, then even if you already got your debt discharged, you have to get the case opened again in order to include the car on your file. Some cases are even trickier, however.

Perhaps you have had to file a personal injury lawsuit before you filed for bankruptcy. Maybe you are going to file a claim. In either case, you still have to put this claim in your bankruptcy case. If you miss this, you will have to go back and reopen your case to list this claim or lawsuit. You would hurt both processes otherwise. In your lawsuit, the defendant could get the case dismissed because you are not the real plaintiff, but the bankruptcy trustee is. Then the intentional omission of any property on your bankruptcy file would be both of fraud and perjury, which would result in worse than your bankruptcy case falling through. Take care of missed assets!

If you omitted a creditor in your case, then that creditor might come after you even after you got a discharge. You can reopen bankruptcy to then include this creditor. If they object to the debt getting discharged, this could prolong Chapter 7 bankruptcy by several months. You might have to pay more in Chapter 13 bankruptcy when you add another creditor.

To get your case reopened, you would need to submit an ex parte motion and explain why you want the reopening. A proposed order will have to go along with this motion. If the court puts the order in place, you will have to fulfill it quickly.

You definitely want to ensure that you have everything in order so that you get the fullest bankruptcy protection possible. But you also want to be able to get your discharge and start rebuilding your credit as soon as possible. Save yourself time and money when you work with an excellent bankruptcy attorney, who could be able to keep you from making these costly errors in the first place, or who can catch a mistake before it is too late to get your case reopened.

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