How Coronavirus Is Impacting Your Bankruptcy Case

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Coronavirus is affecting every aspect of daily life including federal, state, and local governments. The courts have had to adjust their rules in light of the pandemic. We have put together this FAQ to help our clients navigate the new bankruptcy rules. This is not legal advice but guidelines.

ARE THE BANKRUPTCY COURTS STILL OPEN?

Yes. However, most court hearings will be done over the phone and not in person.

CAN I STILL FILE FOR BANKRUTPCY?

Yes. The courts are still allowing bankruptcy cases and motions to be filed.

IS MY 341 HEARING BEING POSTPONED?

All pending 341(a) meetings of creditors (initially scheduled for March 25, 2020 through April 10, 2020) have been continued to a later date, most to be determined. This order may be extended.

In a Chapter 13 case, the continuance of the creditor meetings does not relieve debtors of their obligation to commence making plan payments to the Trustee not later than 30 days after the date the petition was filed. Debtors may make these payments electronically on tfs.com

HOW DO I CALL IN TO MY 341 HEARING?

Most jurisdictions are not doing telephonic 341 meetings currently. If the Trustee does conduct a telephonic meeting specific instructions will be sent.

IS MY CONFIRMATION HEARING POSTPONED?

No. Chapter 13 confirmation hearings and hearings on miscellaneous chapter 13 matters will be held as scheduled, counsel to appear by telephone.

CAN I KEEP MY ECONOMIC RELIEF PAYMENTS?

The Trustee will not be seeking a turnover of any economic relief payments related to coronavirus.

DO I STILL NEED TO MAKE MY PLAN PAYMENTS?

Yes.

WHAT IF I CAN’T MAKE MY PLAN PAYMENTS DUE TO CORONAVIRUS?

Each trustee has different rules on how they will assist debtors that have been financially impacted by COVID-19. You must be able to provide documentation of income loss due to Covid-19.

  • Trustee Danielson:

Can suspend up to 3 payments if you can establish a loss of income or documented hardship. Trustee drafts the stipulation if he agrees to the hardship. Payment would increase moving forward to make up for the missed payments.

  • Trustee Cohen:

Can file a motion to suspend payments with an updated income/expense declaration, proof of income attached, to establish a hardship. Judge will review after 24 day waiting period and can issue an order to suspend at that time or set the matter for hearing.

  • Trustee Dockery:

Can stipulate to establish a loss of income and hardship due to COVID-19 specifically. May suspend up to 3 payments and increase moving forward to make up payments.

  • Trustee Curry:

Can file a motion to suspend payments with an updated income/expense declaration, proof of income attached, to establish a hardship. Judge will review after 24 day waiting period and can issue an order to suspend at that time or set the matter for hearing.

  • Trustee Rojas:

Can suspend up to 3 payments if you can establish a loss of income or documented hardship. Trustee drafts the stipulation if he agrees to the hardship. Payment would increase moving forward to make up for the missed payments.

DO I STILL NEED TO MAKE MY MORTGAGE PAYMENT?

Yes.

WHAT IF I CANNOT PAY MY MORTGAGE DUE TO COVID-19?

Although many mortgage lenders are offering grace periods, the bankruptcy court still expects you to make your mortgage payment. If you are unable to pay we may be able to work out voluntary repayment options with your lender to bring the accountย current by the end of the plan term so you may still obtain a discharge of debt.

WILL MY DISCHARGE BE DELAYED?

Your discharge may be put off if yourย 341 meetingย is rescheduled or continued until further notice. Stay informed with updates from your court or trustee. Updated information may also be sent to you by mail, even after your meeting has taken place.

WILL MY AUTOMATIC STAY BE AFFECTED?

Not unless your bankruptcy case has been dismissed. Otherwise, theย automatic stayย will remain in effect unless certain exceptions are met, such as your creditor requests relief from stay. Debtors who file multiple bankruptcy cases in a short amount of time may be denied an automatic stay as well.

SHOULD I CONTACT CREDITORS?

The court will provide notice to creditors in accordance with the law, so you donโ€™t need to contact your creditors.

KEEP TABS ON PAYMENT AND PAPERWORK DEADLINES

All filing fees and paperwork must still be submitted on time. Deadlines for submitting course 2 certificates and other due dates still apply. Missing a deadline can delay your case further and thereโ€™s no promise the court will be lenient to pro se debtors.

CONTACT OAKTREE LAW FOR ASSISTANCE

The Bankruptcy Court continues to followย CDC guidelines, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts preparedness information, and public health officialsโ€™ advice. Information is being updated daily, so check theย latest updatesย from the federal judiciary and theย California Bankruptcy Court. And, please contactย OakTree Lawย atย 888-348-2609ย for assistance with your bankruptcy case, coronavirus-related changes, and any questions you have.