Peter Orville is a bankruptcy lawyer in Binghamton, located in the Southern Tier of New York. He is a member and New York co-chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.


Author: Peter Orville, Binghamton Bankruptcy Lawyer

26 Jun Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Payments Can be Lowered if Your Income Decreases

When a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan gets confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court, the monthly payments you are supposed to pay to the trustee are set by the confirmation order. But they are not always set in stone. A Chapter 13 bankruptcyPlan can usually be modified if there is a significant and unanticipated change of circumstances, such as an unexpected reduction in income. In many cases your lawyer can make a motion to modify the confirmed plan. If you have less money to pay to the trustee, you can propose to lower the monthly payments. You can also propose tolower the percentage being paid to the unsecured creditors, and toextend the duration of the plan to 60 months, if it not already a 60 month plan. If you are proposing to lower your monthly payments, you will also have to submit a new budget (Schedules I & J). This amended budget must show that your current household income and expenses have decreased your disposable income to the amount you are proposing to pay in your modification. There may be some limitation to how much you can lower your payments to the Trustee.
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27 Mar Chapter 12 Bankruptcy is Like Chapter 13 on Steroids!

I have been filing Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases in the upstate New York for over 20 years. Due to the many financial difficulties dairy farmers have been having over the past few years, I started filing more Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies. There are very few farm bankruptcy filings compared to Chapter 7’s and 13’s, but in many ways they are so much more effective for the farmers who are forced into seeking the relief of a Chapter 12. For one thing, the other players in the bankruptcy system seem to respect the farmers more than they sometimes do with Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 debtors. The judges are well aware of the daily hard work they must do to keep their farms going, and the financial risk they take due to unpredictable weather. For example, we had a 15 degree hard frost last night after an extended period of 75 degree heat opened up the buds of the fruit trees. In my experience, even most creditors, especially FSA/USDA, try to accomodate reasonable plans and requests of farm debtors. The trustee also loves Chapter 12’s. We are especially fortunate here because our trustee is both Chapter 12 and 13 trustee, and is the current president of the Chapter 12 Trustee association. Most Chapter 13 trustees earn a set salary, but those that are also Chapter 12 trustees earn additional personal income on top of their Chapter 13 income. In fact, when the last Chapter 12 & 13 trustee in our district became a Bankruptcy Court Judge, he actually took a decrease in pay! Many struggling farmers learn about farm bankruptcy
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01 Mar Can Bankruptcy Court Decisions be Appealed?

If you lose a motion in Bankruptcy Court you may be able to file an appeal. But not all of the judge's rulings that go against you can be appealed. Only "final" judgments, orders, and decrees in Bankruptcy Court can be immediately appealed. For example, a bankruptcy court's judgment determining dischargeability, an order on an objection to a debtor's claim of exemption, an order dismissing a Chapter 13 case, and an order granting or denying relief from the automatic stay are all final orders that can be appealed. Timing is very important. Within 14 days of the date of entry of the judgment, order, or decree appealed from, you must file a notice of appeal in the bankruptcy court and pay the appropriate filing fees.
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29 Feb Does a Chapter 13 Debtor Really Have to Get Court Permission to Sell Property?

A Chapter 13 debtor MUST get Bankruptcy Court permission to sell property while their Chapter 13 case is pending. In fact a debtor in ANY bankruptcy chapter must get court permission. Permission to sell comes in the form of an Order from the Court, which only comes after a motion is made seeking the Order to allow the sale of the property in question. The motion to sell must attach a copy of the sales contract, and must list the purchase price, proof of the property value, and where the proceeds of the sale are to go. If an attorney and/or realtor are getting paid from the sale proceeds, they need to be specifically approved to be paid as professionals. It takes some time to get an Order from the Bankruptcy Court approving the sale.
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31 Dec I Am Your Bankruptcy Lawyer … What Do I Do?

Consumer bankruptcy lawyers are among the most unappreciated and underpaid people in the entire bankruptcy system. On a time spent basis, we rarely get paid our full hourly rate for the time we put into each case. On a benefit to our client basis, we usually get only a tiny percentage of the financial benefit received. On a service to the entire bankruptcy court system, we generally don’t even get a “thank you”. Instead our work is often questioned, our fees are often slashed, and we are often blamed when our clients don’t follow through on their commitments.   What do I do for you, my client?
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28 Dec Chapter 12 Farm Bankruptcy Case is Before the Supreme Court

Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy helps family farmers to keep their farms. It allows family farmers to reorganize their finances and operations.Chapter 12 was originally enacted by Congress in 1986, and was made permanent in 2005. It helps the farmer and the banker to sit down and work out alternatives for debt repayment. But according to Senator Charles Grassley, recent IRS actions are threatening family farmers’ ability to properly reorganize in Chapter 12. Grassley authored a provision which is supposed to allow farmers in Chapter 12 to sell some of their property without having to pay capital gains taxes to the IRS in full. The provision, enacted in 2005 as 11 USC 1222(a)(2)(A) was intended to make capital gains taxes into unsecured claims (often paid at only a percentage of the total) rather than priority claims (required to be paid in full). The US Supreme Court heard arguments on November 29th in the case of Hall v. United States. The IRS argued that capital gains taxes created by the sale of property during a farm bankruptcy proceeding are payable in full as an administrativeexpense under the Chapter 12 reorganization plan.
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