After you file a chapter 13 case, you are required to make monthly plan payments to your bankruptcy trustee. If you fail to make a payment, your case will likely be dismissed. With that said, payment plans can last anywhere from three to five years and making your payments on time during this period of time can be challenging. Unexpected events tend to happen, especially over such a long period. For this reason, debtors are not always bound by their confirmed Chapter 13 repayment plan. The court understands things break down, people lose jobs, and medical expenses can build up. Therefore, 11 USC 1329 (a) permits the debtor to modify its confirmed plan “upon request.”
You are allowed to modify your plan both before and after the confirmation. Depending on the case or the court, it may take anywhere from a couple of months to over a year before your case is confirmed. During this time you can explain your situation and file an amended plan for the trustee and creditors to consider. Modification after confirmation requires you to draft a motion to modify your plan payments to something you can afford. Once again you will have to show proof that you are no longer able to afford the plan for the duration of your case.
Please note, there are priority obligations that you are still required to pay, such as certain taxes, domestic support obligations, and any mortgage arrears on properties you wish to keep. If your payment plan was only enough to cover required debts, it might be difficult to reduce your payment plan. Conversely, if your payment plan allotted a percentage to nonpriority unsecured creditors, then you can reduce your payment plan by eliminating or reducing the amount you owe them.
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