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.
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.)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 the plan you have proposed, you do have options. You may: