How To Dismiss Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

by Jay Fleischman, Esq.

June 21, 2011

How To Dismiss Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

You filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and something went wrong.  Maybe you didn’t have a lawyer, or perhaps something went awry in your case.  Whatever it was, you want to get out of the case as quickly and easily as possible.

You need to know that you don’t have an automatic right to dismiss your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’re in it for the long haul unless the court allows you to walk away.  You’re still going to have the evidence of filing on your credit report – remember, the credit report shows that you filed even in the absence of a discharge – but depending on your reasons for seeking a voluntary dismissal it may not be a big deal to you.

Consider The Reason: If you want to dismiss your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’re going to need a good reason to do so.  The judge is going to need to know why, and the trustee is going to have the opportunity to object to the dismissal.  If you have assets that you can’t protect in your Chapter 7 proceeding, you may not be able to dismiss the case.

Consider Conversion: If you can’t dismiss, you may be able to convert to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  For many people, this is a good way to get out of a bad situation and still be able to resolve their debt problems effectively.

Make Your Motion For Voluntary Dismissal: Assuming there’s no prejudice to your creditors if your Chapter 7 is dismissed (for example, if you file to discharge tax debt but realize that you’re not going to be able to do so), make your motion to dismiss.  You should be prepared to serve the motion on the Chapter 7 trustee, Executive Office of the U.S. Trustee, the court, and all creditors.  In addition, you’ll have to attend the motion hearing and argue your position to the judge.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.

Last modified: October 22, 2012