CHAPTER 13 CASE TIMELINE
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The information provided below is not a substitute for the advice of legal counsel and should not be relied upon or cited as legal authority.
Before Filing Bankruptcy
All individuals filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 must complete an approved credit counseling course within 180 days BEFORE THEY FILE a bankruptcy case. Failure to complete an approved credit counseling course may result in dismissal of the case. A certificate of completion will be issued once you complete the course. A copy of the certificate is required to be filed with the court on the day you file your bankruptcy or up to 14 days after filing your bankruptcy case, if you have not received the certificate by the day you file your case.
To access a list of approved credit counseling agencies, visit the Court’s website here.
File Bankruptcy Petition, Certificate of Credit Counseling, and Other Required Documents with Court and Pay Filing Fees
Filing a bankruptcy petition is your official request to the court to open your bankruptcy case. You are required to file several documents to open a bankruptcy case.
The Certificate of Credit Counseling you received upon completing your Credit Counseling Course along with any debt repayment plan developed through such course must be filed with the court on Day 1 or up to 14 days after filing your bankruptcy case, if you have not received the certificate by Day 1.
For more information on the bankruptcy process, you can visit the Understanding Bankruptcy section of the Court’s website.
Employees of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court are not permitted to recommend or refer you to a lawyer or provide legal advice, including how to complete the bankruptcy forms or which forms may be required in your bankruptcy case.
You must pay the fees for filing chapter 13 bankruptcy. More information on current filing fees is available here.
If you have trouble paying the filing fee, the court may grant you permission to pay in installments. For more information on paying in installments, visit the Court’s website here.
For methods of payment, please refer to the Court’s website here.
Where to File Documents
If you are an individual, filing without an attorney, you may file your documents in person at one of the Bankruptcy Court’s manned divisional offices in Shreveport, Alexandria, and Lafayette or by mailing your documents via U.S. Mail to one of the manned divisional offices. Documents may also be filed in the drop box at the Lafayette divisional office. Addresses and contact information for each of the division office can be found on here.
Attorneys should file documents through CM/ECF. For more information, visit the Court’s website at https://www.lawb.uscourts.gov/cmecf.
Note that for individual filers a copy of your picture identification card and your Social Security card are required to file.
File Schedules, Statements, Chapter 13 Plan, and Other Required Documents
(if not already filed with petition on Day 1)
You must file other required documents, including the Chapter 13 Plan (Local Form), on Day 1 or within 14 days after filing your petition. If you do not do so, your case may be dismissed. For a list of required documents for individuals, refer to the Chapter 13 Filing Checklist on the Court’s website here. Copies of the forms are available on the Court’s website for free at https://www.lawb.uscourts.gov/bankruptcy-forms-individuals.
Copies of all payment advices (pay stubs) or other evidence of payment that you received within 60 days before you filed your bankruptcy case must be filed on Day 1 or within 14 days after filing your petition. If you do not have this information, then you must file Statement Under Penalty of Perjury Concerning Payment Advices Due Pursuant to 11 USC §521(A)(1)(B)(iv) (Local Form) (available here at the bottom of the page) on Day 1 or within 14 days after filing your petition.
Note: Pursuant to Local Bankruptcy Rule 3015-1(b), the debtor must send a copy of the plan to all parties on the Creditor Matrix and file a certificate of service . More information on the Creditor Matrix is available in the Chapter 13 Filing Checklist here. Refer to Local Bankruptcy Rule 2002-1 for additional noticing requirements. The Local Bankruptcy Rules are available on the Court’s website here.
Begin Making Payments Directly to the Chapter 13 Trustee
You must start making payments directly to the Chapter 13 Trustee pursuant to your Chapter 13 repayment plan within 30 days after filing your bankruptcy case.
(7 days BEFORE Meeting of Creditors)
Deadline to Provide Tax Returns to Trustee
You must provide your Chapter 13 Trustee with a copy of your most recent federal tax return at least 7 days before the date first set for your Meeting of Creditors. Your Chapter 13 Trustee’s address will be listed in a notice entitled, “Notice of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case” which you will receive from the court after filing your bankruptcy petition.
Meeting of Creditors
(also called 341 Meeting)
Once you file your bankruptcy petition, the court will mail you and any creditors a notice entitled, “Notice of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case.” This notice informs your creditors of the bankruptcy case, provides information about various court deadlines, and contains the date, time, and location of the Meeting of Creditors. You are required to attend this meeting.
The Meeting of Creditors is not a court hearing, but rather a chance for the Chapter 13 Trustee overseeing your bankruptcy case, as well as any creditors who wish to attend, to ask you questions regarding your financial affairs and property. Although there will be no judge present during the Meeting of Creditors, you will be under oath as you answer questions regarding your financial situation.
Beginning with cases filed in September 2023, the Meeting of Creditors will be held via Zoom. More information can be found on the Court’s website here.
The Confirmation Hearing is the time where you, your attorney (if applicable), the Chapter 13 Trustee, and the Judge will meet to review your Chapter 13 repayment plan. This hearing must take place within 45 days after the Meeting of Creditors. The Chapter 13 repayment plan must meet certain criteria to be confirmed. After a Chapter 13 repayment plan is confirmed by the Court, you and your creditors are bound to the terms of the plan. You will continue making payments pursuant to the Chapter 13 repayment plan for the remainder of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case (36 to 60 months).
After your Chapter 13 repayment plan is confirmed by the Court, you and your creditors are bound to the terms of the plan. Complete all payments pursuant to your confirmed Chapter 13 repayment plan. Your Chapter 13 repayment plan may call for a duration between 36 and 60 months (3 to 5 years) from the date the case was filed.
You must promptly provide the Chapter 13 Trustee with signed, dated, and filed copies of all tax returns filed while your case is pending.
Before Receiving a Discharge
Complete Financial Management Course (Debtor Education)
and File Official Form 423
Individuals who have filed for bankruptcy are required to attend a Personal Financial Management Instructional Course (Debtor Education) in addition to the credit counseling course completed before filing for bankruptcy. A certificate of completion will be issued once you complete the course. You will need the information from the certificate to complete Official Form 423. Individuals who have filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 must file it before making your last payment made under the plan or before the filing of a motion for entry of discharge. You can access Official Form 423 here. The court is restricted from granting a discharge to debtors who are required, but have failed, to complete a debtor education course. Failure to do so may result in the case being closed without a discharge.
To access a list of approved debtor education providers, visit the Court’s website here.
After Plan Completion
Before the Court can issue you a discharge, you MUST certify you have paid all domestic support obligations due through the date of your certification, or that you have not owed any domestic support obligations at the time your petition was filed or since then, using Form 2830, which can be accessed here. Domestic support obligations include child support and alimony payments.
The discharge is the order from the court forgiving you from certain debts. Once your discharge is granted, your creditors can no longer attempt to collect from you for the debts that were discharged. Not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. More information on the discharge is available on the Court's website here.
Case Closed After Discharge
The Bankruptcy Court will close your case a minimum of 30 days after the later of the trustee's filing of the final report or the discharge. However, the timeframe for closing cases may vary.