Confirmation Hearing in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

As I have previously written about the procedural steps involved in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, once the debtor attends 341 hearing, and the bankruptcy plan is filed, the next important event is the confirmation hearing.

The date set for the confirmation of Chapter 13 plans varies depending on where the case is filed. Here in Rochester, the date for the confirmation hearing is typically set between 30 and 60 days after the 341 hearing.  The debtor(s) is required to attend it as the proposed plan is reviewied by the court and Chapter 13 Trustee.  If the debtor fails to appear for the hearing, the judge can prevent or delay the confirmation. In other Courts, such as those in the Northern District of New York, confirmation hearings are usually scheduled approximately 60 days after the proposed Chapter 13 plan is filed with the Court.

Unlike other jurisdictions, here in Rochester, Judge Ninfo reviews each Chapter 13 bankruptcy case and the circumstances that led the debtor to file for bankruptcy.  In addition, Judge Ninfo requires that a debtor file a checklist specifying the reasons that led to the filing.  In addition, if the amount of unsecured debt exceeds $75,000, the debtor will be also required to file with the court a detailed letter of explanation, describing how the debt was accumulated.  Also, approximately one week before the hearing, the Chapter 13 Trustee will file his report analyzing the case and either recommending confirmation of the plan or giving reasons why confirmation should be denied.

In cases where an objection to confirmation is filed, a confirmation hearing is held on the scheduled date and the objecting party, or its attorney, typically attends.  The views of the debtor’s attorney, the objecting parties’ attorney and the Trustee are heard by the judge, who either confirms the plan, denies confirmation, or sets an evidentiary hearing on the disputed matter (which could be a valuation issue, a bad faith objection, a disposable income objection, etc.).  Often the confirmation hearing is simply adjourned to allow the parties some time to try to resolve their differences.

The confirmation hearing is the critical step in any Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  It is the responsibility of the bankruptcy lawyer to present a plan that not only protects his/her client(s) interests by making the payments manageable, but also to make sure that the plan will be confirmed by the court.  That usually involves analyzing the parties’ income and expenses, and make certain that the budget is not excessive or has any frivolous expenses.

If you are dealing with debt problems in Western New York, including Rochester, Canandaigua, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, Webster, Victor, Farmington, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Parma, Brockport, Spencerport, LeRoy, Chili, Churchville, Monroe County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Orleans County, Livingston County, and being harassed by bill collectors, and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

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