The Chapter 13 Confirmation Hearing

Learn about the confirmation hearing in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.

When you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must propose a Chapter 13 plan for repaying part or all of your debts. The court will hold a confirmation hearing in order to decide if it will approve your plan or not. Read on to learn more about when the confirmation hearing is held, who attends, and what happens at the hearing and the options you have if your Chapter 13 plan cannot be confirmed.

The Chapter 13 Repayment Plan

In a Chapter 13, you propose a payment plan for a period of three to five years under which you agree to make monthly payments to a Chapter 13 trustee,beginning with the month after your case is filed. These payments are subsequently held by the trustee until your Chapter 13 plan is confirmed and then payments are made to the creditors you have included in the plan. (To learn more, visit our Chapter 13 Repayment Plan topic area.)

The Confirmation Hearing

Your Chapter 13 plan must be approved (confirmed) by the bankruptcy judge. The purpose of the confirmation hearing is for the bankruptcy court judge to determine whether your plan:

  • is feasible, meaning that you are likely to be able to make the plan payments, and
  • meets with other legal requirements for a Chapter 13 plan (essentially, that you filed your plan in good faith and that your unsecured creditors are not receiving any less than they would have gotten if you had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy).

Confirmation Timing

The court will schedule the confirmation hearing within 45 days of your meeting of creditors. Your creditors will receive notice of the hearing at least 28 days in advance.

Attendance

If you are represented by an attorney, you don’t have to appear at the confirmation hearing, but you can if you choose to do so. If you are not represented by counsel, you must appear or risk having your Chapter 13 case dismissed.

What Happens at the Hearing?

When you appear at the confirmation hearing, you will report to the judge’s courtroom to which your case has been assigned. When your name is called by the trustee, both you and any creditors appearing in your case will review with the trustee the proposed plan, the number of payments that you have made since the filing of your case. In addition, you will review the proofs of claim that have been filed by your creditors. Any objections to your confirmation will also be heard.

If your case is confirmed, the trustee will advise you what your required monthly payment will be and the length of time you will have to complete your plan. The plan is binding on both you and your creditors, whether the creditor’s claim is provided for in the plan, or whether or not the creditor objected to the plan.

Objections to Confirmation of Your Plan

Your creditors and your Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee may object to the confirmation of your plan. Most often, a creditor or trustee objection claims that:

  • the plan does not commit all of your projected disposable income for the applicable plan payment period (which is three to five years), or
  • you have not adequately provided for payment to your creditors under the plan. In a Chapter 13, you must make sufficient payments to satisfy all past due payments owed to secured creditors whose collateral you wish to keep, such as a mortgage or car loan. In addition, your unsecured creditors, those that extend credit to you without collateral, such as credit cards and personal loans, must receive as much as they would have gotten had you filed Chapter 7. The amount that your unsecured creditors will receive is dependent upon how much disposable income you have left after paying your monthly expenses and secured creditors. 

To learn about how much you must pay to unsecured creditors in Chapter 7, see the articles in The Means Test and Other Eligibility Issues in Chapter 7.

In many instances, you can settle an objection by providing to the trustee proof of your income and expenses and other evidence that supports your position. In some cases you can settle the objection by amending your plan to increase the amount that your creditors get paid.

If the Court Confirms Your Plan

Once the objections are resolved, the court will confirm the plan, and the trustee will begin paying the creditors that are listed in your Chapter 13 plan from the monthly payments that you send to the trustee. It is crucial to the success of your Chapter 13 that you make timely and regular payments to the trustee for the period of time agreed to in your plan. If, during the course of your Chapter 13 , you are unable to make your plan payments, contact the trustee’s office immediately. They can offer guidance about modifying your plan payments. (To learn more, see What Happens if You Cannot Make Plan Payments.)

If the Court Does Not Confirm Your Plan

If the court does not confirm the plan you have proposed, you do have options. You may:

  • Ÿfile a modified plan
  • Ÿconvert the case to a Chapter 7, or
  • Ÿvoluntarily have your Chapter 13 case dismissed.

In cases where the court won’t confirm the plan and/or the modified plan and instead dismisses the case, the court may authorize the trustee to keep some of the funds you have paid to cover administrative expenses, but any funds remaining must be returned to you.

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