The decision to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a choice that requires a great deal of thought and planning. Therefore, finding out that the Chapter 13 case you filed has been dismissed can seem disastrous. If the court notifies you to tell you that your bankruptcy case has been dismissed, remember to stay calm and act quickly before your creditors learn that your automatic stay preventing collection activities is not being enforced.
Find out the exact reason for the dismissal and whether or not the court has issued orders preventing future refiling. Have your bankruptcy attorney contact the trustee managing your case to get the exact reason a motion for dismissal was filed. Common reasons for dismissal are failure to appear in court or obey court orders, failure to make payments to the trustee, or failure to make mortgage or car payments. If your case was dismissed because of failure to obey court orders you may be barred from refiling for up to 180 days.
Ask your bankruptcy attorney to discuss the possibility of reinstating your bankruptcy case. Doing this will help you avoid paying additional refiling fees while giving you immediate protection from creditors. Cases can often be reinstated if past due payments are made, the debtor proves (using bank statements or copies of payments) that they did make payments but they were incorrectly documented, or a new payment plan is negotiated.
File for Chapter 13 bankruptcy again to obtain a new case number. Depending on the reasons for dismissal, the court may require the debtor to offer secured property as a show of good faith. It may be necessary to attend another credit counseling course if it has been more than 180 days since you completed your original course. After refiling have your attorney find out how long your automatic stay will be enforced since, in some situations, the court will grant only a 30-day automatic stay for your second case. If your automatic stay is temporary, your attorney can file a Motion to Extend the Stay to extend your protection from creditor collection activities.
Prepare for a second meeting with your trustee and creditors. During this meeting the trustee will more than likely ask why your previous case was dismissed since you will be considered a "multiple" filer. Also, be prepared to be confronted by your creditors, especially if your previous case was dismissed because a creditor filed a Motion for Relief to dispute your bankruptcy. During this meeting the trustee will decide whether or not to approve your bankruptcy case, and a new payment plan will be established if your case is approved.