18 Apr Will Anyone Remind Me To Take A Financial Management Course?
Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution says congress shall establish uniform bankruptcy laws throughout the states. Any bankruptcy lawyer can tell you laws are not uniform from one state to another or from one Judge to another Judge within the same district. What works well in one area may not be allowed in others. Oppositely what is offensive to some may be welcome as spring air to others.
A case in point. My friend Jonathan Ginsberg is a bankruptcy lawyer in the state of Georgia.
He recently posted a blog to the Bankruptcy Law Network about a court procedure in the northern district of Georgia that warns debtors of the need to complete a course in Financial Management in order to receive a discharge of debt. Because the discharge is the mother lode of bankruptcy relief, everyone wants one in order to wipe out debts. It is the primary reason to file bankruptcy.
His aptly titled article, Court Notices About Pre-Discharge Certification Cause Unnecessary Confusion, explains how a Georgia court warning, a Chapter 7 debtor must file Form 23 within 45 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors, both confuses debtors who do not recognize a Form 23 Certificate, and is unnecessary for his clients who have already completed the course.
On the other hand, in Illinois, I welcome warnings, reminders and notices, for the plain and simple reason that some people do not follow instructions.
Failure to timely file a course completion certificate results in the closing of a chapter 7 case without a discharge. In a chapter 13 case, a form of bankruptcy that usually lasts between three and five years, one must not only file the required certificate, but one must also timely file a motion under Section 1328 of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 setting forth that debtor is entitled to receive a discharge. Local rule dictates a 20 day window within which to file the request. Failure to meet these requirements results in closing of the chapter 13 case without discharging the debt. Thereafter, one may seek to reopen a case to file late documents, however, that requires payment of additional court fees and attorney fees.
So far, the Illinois court has not indicated that it will send out any reminders. Perhaps the Georgia court can be of some influence.
Andy Miofsky, Esq.
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