When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Maryland, you’ve completed the first step in a process that gives you the fresh start you deserve. For most people, the Chapter 13 discharge process takes between 3 and 5 years to complete. Remember, though, that the court system is designed to help you you’re your creditors) move forward as quickly as possible.
The Chapter 13 Discharge Process: What You Need to Know
Your attorney will help you fill out the appropriate forms to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Greenbelt or Baltimore (these are the two locations where Chapter 13 filings are accepted), depending on which county you call home. You’ll have a set of bankruptcy documents that include information on your:
- Monthly expenses
You must also propose a payment plan that repays some (or all) of your creditors while the Chapter 13 discharge process is taking place.
From there, it’s like a domino effect; your petition sets a series of events in motion.
Chapter 13’s Automatic Stay
As soon as you file your petition, an automatic stay takes effect. An automatic stay prevents your creditors (once they learn that you filed for bankruptcy) from calling you, sending you letters or emails, or texting you. Your creditors must see you as “off-limits” when it comes to collections; they’re not allowed to bother you.
Appointing the Bankruptcy Trustee
A few business days after you file your petition, the court will appoint a trustee to oversee your case. The trustee will review your petition, including all your supporting documents and your repayment plan. His or her job is to make sure your calculations are correct and that your repayment plan is fair to your creditors.
If the trustee has any objections to your bankruptcy, he or she will let you know. The trustee may also request additional documentation, if necessary.
Remember that the trustee’s job is to maximize the return to your creditors—and that may mean the trustee will want to increase your payments and distributions. If you can’t reach a resolution with the trustee, the judge in your case will hear both sides’ arguments and determine what you should pay.
The Meeting of Creditors
You’ll receive notice of your case in the mail, and so will your creditors. This notice typically contains general information, a summary of the plan, and the date you’ll need to appear for the meeting of creditors.
The trustee assigned to your case oversees the meeting of creditors, where you’ll be asked under oath about the information in your petition. He or she will ask you questions about your assets, your income, or other relevant information.
Working Your Way Through the Chapter 13 Discharge Process
Within 30 days of filing your petition, you’ll be required to start sending monthly payments to the trustee. (Until the court approves your repayment plan, it’s in a temporary state that requires the trustee to hold the funds for your creditors. Once it’s approved, the trustee will begin distributing the funds among your creditors.)
The trustee will receive your payments and distribute the funds to your creditors until your repayment plan is complete.
Do You Need to Talk to a MD Bankruptcy Lawyer About the Chapter 13 Discharge Process?
Every case is different, so if you have questions about your situation, it’s usually best to talk to an experienced and knowledgeable Maryland bankruptcy attorney.
Call us at 301-933-2595 or get in touch with us online for a free bankruptcy consultation. We can help you, so call us today.