Chicago Bankruptcy Question: What is a confirmation hearing in Chapter 13?

Chicago Bankruptcy Question of the Day: What is a confirmation hearing in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?  When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, your plan of reorganization requires the approval of the bankruptcy judge assigned to your case.  This process is known as the confirmation process and it starts with a hearing.

In a Chicago area Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as soon as you file for Chapter 13 protection, the clerk of the court assigns your case a case number, a trustee, a judge, a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors date (which was the subject of a prior blog) and an initial confirmation hearing date.   Upon filing, notice goes out to all of your creditors advising them of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing and giving them an opportunity to file a proof of claim in your case, attend the 341 meeting and, if they believe it is necessary, file an objection to confirmation of your case.  You attend your Meeting of Creditors and then, usually about thirty days after the meeting in the Chicago area, the court will hold a confirmation hearing.  Normally it is not necessary for you to attend this hearing, as your bankruptcy attorney will attend it on your behalf.

Prior to the confirmation hearing, your bankruptcy lawyer should address any objections raised in your case, whether by the trustee or by your creditors, by filing amendments to your schedules and plan of reorganization.  Attending the confirmation hearing will be an attorney from the trustee's office, your bankruptcy attorney, attorneys for any creditors who wish to be heard and the judge.  Generally only attorneys for significant secured creditors, such as mortgage companies or auto finance companies, or for priority creditors, such as the IRS, will attend confirmation hearings. 

If all outstanding issues are not resolved by the initial confirmation hearing, the court will usually allow for the hearing to be continued to a future date for all parties to work out their differences.  While each case is different, the judge will usually only allow a limited number of continuances before denying confirmation of the plan.  In the majority of cases where you have an experienced bankruptcy attorney representing you, there should only be a few continuances if any. 

Once all of the outstanding issues are resolved, the trustee should recommend your case for confirmation and the judge will confirm it.  Confirmation of the plan means that the court has found that your plan complies with the U.S. Bankruptcy Code requirements, has been proposed in good faith and that all parties agree that your plan of reorganization has a reasonable chance of success.  At this point, your plan has been approved and the only time it will change is if you have a significant change in circumstances.

It is essential to have an experienced Chapter 13 attorney representing you in this process.  In the Chicago area, there are currently three Chapter 13 trustees and twelve bankruptcy judges.  You need an attorney who is intimately familiar with not only the rules and procedures of Chapter 13, but who also knows and understands what your trustee and judge expects in order to get your case confirmed.  The attorneys at Ledford & Wu are very experienced and focussed on practicing bankruptcy law in the Chicago area and can effectively represent you throughout the confirmation process.  Call us for a free consultation today.

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