Requesting A Hardship Discharge From Bankruptcy Court – A How-To Guide

When it comes to requesting a hardship discharge from bankruptcy court, there are several things that you need to take into your careful consideration. There is a set procedure that you need to follow. However, the actual procedure may vary a little depending upon the factors involved in your specific case. When you file a bankruptcy petition under chapter 13, the court usually allows you to make the repayment toward the debts that you owe to different creditors within a period of three to five years. The repayment plan is designed in a way that is something you can afford and something that allows you to discharge all your debts within the court-specified period. However, sometimes, things may go wrong and you may not be able to make your payments in full within that period. In that case, you have an option to request hardship discharge from the court. You will have to file a motion in this regard, which will eventually lead to a court hearing, where it will entirely be your responsibility to convince the court that you are eligible for a hardship discharge. Here, it is also very important for you to keep in mind that your creditors have the legal right to file an objection and to challenge your request. Following is a brief rundown on how to go about it.

Discuss Your Situation With Your Attorney

If you are considering requesting a hardship discharge from bankruptcy court, the first thing you have to do is to consult your attorney and discuss your situation with them. A bankruptcy attorney is a legal expert in these types of matters and they can help you determine whether you can be eligible for a hardship discharge or not. Judges generally do not approve such requests; instead, they prefer to modify the repayment plan in order to make it more affordable. But, there definitely can be certain exceptions. Whether your request for the same gets approved or not will very much depend on you present the case in the courtroom and whether your attorney is able to convince the court.

File A Motion

In order to request a hardship discharge from bankruptcy court, you will have to follow a set procedure. You will have to file a motion in this connection with the court. You will also have to notify other interested parties (especially your creditors) that you have filed such a motion. Once the motion is filed, an objection deadline is issued by the court, which means if any interested party has any objection, they must file their dispute before a specified date.

Prove That Your Creditors Have Received Enough Money

When the court receives the motion, they set a date for hearing regarding that issue. You must attend the court hearing promptly. In order to maximize your chances of approval for the hardship discharge from bankruptcy court, you (or your attorney) will have to prove in the court that you have already paid your creditors as much amount of money as they would have got in case you had filed the petition under chapter, where all your assets would have been liquidated and the proceeds would have been divided in specific proportion among the creditors.

Prove That Modification In Repayment Plan Is Not Possible

Besides that, you will also have to convince the court that there is no reasonable way to solve this issue through certain modifications in the repayment plan. You will have to explain your reasons why you think modification in the repayment plan is a not a reasonable solution. For this, you will have to convince the court that you are genuinely going through a financial hardship, where you cannot afford to pay even a reduced amount. Some typical examples of such proof may include severe illness or injuries, especially something that prevents employment.

Prove That Your Inability To Make The Full Payment Is Not Your Fault

In order to get your request for the hardship discharge from bankruptcy court approved, you will also have to convince the judge that you are not at all at fault if you are unable to make the repayment; for example, it can just be an accident who no one can foresee. It means you will have to prove it in the court that the circumstances that caused the hardship were just beyond your control.

Overall, you must have a genuine case to qualify for a hardship discharge from bankruptcy court. In fact, even if your case is a genuine one, you may still need the representation of an expert bankruptcy lawyer because otherwise things can be too complicated to handle on your own.

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