Bankruptcy can typically be a tedious process. You must do everything right because missing any steps could result in having your bankruptcy dismissed. If that happens, you likely can’t simply go back to the court and ask them to re-open your case. Instead, you likely have to wait 180 days (6 months) to file again. Because bankruptcy goes on your credit report when you file, you’ll probably have another bankruptcy listed on your credit report and factored into your credit score. It likely will be that much longer before the bankruptcy is removed from your credit report.
You failed to complete the required credit counseling. Bankruptcy law requires you to complete credit counseling from a court-approved credit counseling agency within 180 days before filing bankruptcy. In addition, you have to finish money management courses with the credit counseling agency before the court will discharge your debts. If you don’t show proof that you’ve met these requirements, your bankruptcy can be dismissed.
You failed to appear in court or follow a court order. You’re generally required to be at court hearings pertaining to your bankruptcy case. It’s important that you know when you’re expected to show up in court or file certain documents. Timely compliance is key to ensuring your bankruptcy doesn’t get dismissed.
You failed to pay bankruptcy fees. Chapter 7 bankruptcy comes with a $299 fee and Chapter 13 has a $274 filing fee. If you can’t afford to pay the fee when you file, then you should talk with the court about having the fee waived or paying it in installments. If you go on an installment plan, your final payment has to be made within 120 days from the date you file your bankruptcy documents. You may be able to get an extension if you give a written statement explaining why you can’t pay the fee.
You missed Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll be required to make monthly payments for generally three to five years. Missing any of these payments could result in dismissal of your bankruptcy case. If you’ve included mortgage or auto loan arrears in your bankruptcy, foreclosure or repossession proceeding may restart after your bankruptcy is dismissed. Protection from this collection activity is another reason to stay current on your bankruptcy payments. If you can’t afford them, talk to your trustee about changing your plan.
Talk to the court if you’re having problems paying. Don’t just miss your payment or else your case will likely be dismissed. Worse, if you re-file because you missed your payment, you probably won’t be able to get an installment plan next time.
You can volunteer to have your bankruptcy dismissed. For example, you might later decide that you don’t want to go through with the bankruptcy or that certain assets would be taken if you go through with the bankruptcy process. The proper way to have your bankruptcy dismissed is to file a motion to dismiss and appear at any required court hearing.