13 Apr My Hearing Was Continued Since My Debt Dates Were Incorrect.
Trustees, the US Trustee, and the Court can be a stickler when it comes to dates, and its not uncommon for your hearing to be continued as a result. Hopefully, after reading this Blog, no one will ever have a continued hearing as a result of incorrect dates again.
Bankruptcy Schedules D, E, and F require a debtor to list when the debt was incurred. This is so the Trustee, US Trustee, Court, Creditors, and other parties in interest can evaluate whether the bankruptcy was filed in good or bad faith.
Dates give a heads up as to purchase intent. If debt was recently incurred, it may be a sign that the debtor never really intended to pay the debt back and ran up the debt knowing that it would simply be eliminated in Bankruptcy. Of course, this is not the type of debtor for which the bankruptcy code was meant to give a fresh start.
On the other hand, if the debt is very old, then it actually may not be enforceable against the debtor due to being past the statute of limitations, which in turn, might allow a trustee or debtor to object to that debt, lower the actual amount of debt that the debtor seeks to discharge, and change the analysis as to what might be the amount of consumer debt versus non-consumer debt for a 707b analysis(to determine substantial abuse).
So how do you list the date of debt? Technically, the date of the debt is simply the date when it was incurred. Sounds easy right? Well, some debt is such as a house or car(the date of purchase.) But what about credit cards, charge cards, medical bills, etc? These are not as easy and actually may require some thought!
The following examples should help:
1. House: Date of purchase or date of refinance if done later
2. Car: Date of purchase or refinance if done later
3. ATV, Cycle, etc: Date of Purchase
4. Medical Bill: Date of Service or date rage for services (ie 4/04-7/06)
5. Personal Loan: Date of Loan or rage of loan dates (ie 1/01-6/05)
6. Bounced Check: Date Bank assessed NSF
7. Credit Cards: Date Range. Generally it’s the last purchase going backwards to thebeginning date where a purchase might still exist as part of the balance on the account. Assume a FIFO (first in first out) situation.
8. Time Share: Date of Purchase or Refinance
9. Utility Bills: Date Range for the months being charged (ie 4/06-8/06)
10. Magazine Subscription: Date Range for the time the magazines were not paid.
11. Business Debt: Date goods purchased, services rendered, etc.
12. Foreclosure/Repossession: Date of foreclosure or date of sale
13. Lawsuits: Use the forgoing date unless judgment entered, then use date of judgment.
14. Student Loan: Date each loan was taken out.
15. Child or Spousal Support: Date range for the months support payments not paid.
16. Taxes: Date of tax year (07 tax due 4/15 yet it was incurred 2007)
17. Eviction: Date Range for months not paid, unless eviction judgment entered by court and then use that date.
The forgoing is a non-exhaustive list, but nevertheless meant to give an idea of what the Trustee and Court is looking for as to when debt was incurred. As a general rule, a single purchase should have a single date, whereas multiple purchases should have a date range.
Probably the most difficult date range is credit card debt. Generally, credit card debt should not have the date opened as the beginning date of the range, unless recent. This is because an account opened in 1985 has probably had its purchases for that year paid off by now. Accordingly, that account might have a date range of 3/04 to 12/07.
When in doubt, discuss your dates with your attorney.
To have a hearing continued simply because of incorrect dates is a waste of everyone’s time and money, including yourself!
Written byMichael G. Doan
Bankruptcy Law Network (BLN)
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