How To Make Amendments In A Discharged Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

The bankruptcy laws in the United States of America allows you to make amendments in a discharged chapter 7 bankruptcy provided there are some valid reasons to do the same. For example, there can be a situation when you already have been granted bankruptcy under chapter 7, but later after a couple of months, you start getting collection calls or collection letters regarding a specific debt that you had forgot to include in the bankruptcy. In such cases, you can still get that debt discharged by amending your bankruptcy. Likewise, you may also find yourself in a situation where you forgot to add a particular asset or property in to the list of exemptible properties. Amending your petition is the solution to such problems. Following is a brief rundown on it.

Obtain The Necessary Bankruptcy Forms

In order to make amendments in a discharged chapter 7 bankruptcy, the first thing you have to do is to file a motion for leave with the court to amend your petition. When you file this motion, your closed bankruptcy case is reopened. You need to fill out and submit a specific bankruptcy form, which you can download from the official website of the bankruptcy court that granted your petition. If you cannot find the form online, you can alternatively contact the clerk’s office and request them to provide you a copy of the form.

Prepare An Amended Schedule

The next step is to prepare an amended schedule, explaining what kind of new information you want to be added into your petition. For example, if you want to add a particular debt into the list of dischargeable debts, you will have to file a motion to amend Schedules D, E or F, depending on whether the debts belongs to a non-priority creditor (such as personal loans and credit cards), a priority creditor (such as child support, student loans, and taxes), or a secured one (such as car loan and mortgage loan). Likewise, if you want to make amendments in a discharged chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to add an omitted property, you will have to file a motion to make amendments to Schedule B (personal property) or Schedule A (real property). However, if the property is exemptible, amendments will have to be made to the exemption schedule (Schedule C).

File The Motion

Once you fill out the necessary bankruptcy forms, you can file the motion with the clerk’s office. You will also have to pay a specific amount of fee as part of the procedure. Here, it is very important for you to keep in mind that the motion must be filed within thirty days before the “return” date. Therefore, you must first contact the judge’s chamber or the clerk’s office to find out information about the available motion days; the ‘return’ date has to be set accordingly. Depending upon the state you are living in and the district court you are filing the motion to, you may even be allowed to file a motion as “presentment”, which means there is no other party involved with the motion to object your request for amendments. The return date is crucial in this process, as the order is signed and the motion is granted on this date only. These days, most courts allow you to file the motion through Internet. When you file a motion online, the court will issue you a password. If you are not sure about the process on how paper filings are done, you can contact the clerk for detailed information on it.

Additional Copies Of The Motion

When you file a motion with the district bankruptcy court to make amendments in a discharged chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will also be required to make several additional copies of the motion and send the same by mail to other parties, such as the trustee and the creditor the omitted debt belongs to. In order to determine which parties you have to send the copies of the motion, you may again need to contact the clerk’s office to review the PACER information of your case. After sending the copies to all parties, you will also have to certify to the court that you have completed this task.

Court Hearing On The Return Date

Not all bankruptcy courts require you to appear for the court hearing on the return date, but if the appearance is required and you fail to appear, your motion will automatically be denied. If you still want the amendments to take place, you will have to start the procedure again from the scratch, right form the step, which includes payment of the required fee.

Once, the court approves your motion and signs the order, you will again be required to send the copies of the order to necessary parties, such as to the creditor who you have now included in bankruptcy. Overall, in order to make amendments in a discharged chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a set procedure that you have to follow. If you are not sure if you can handle the process on your own, you can always consider hiring an experienced lawyer to assist you with the process.

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