Finishing a Chapter 13 Plan And Getting a Complete Discharge
Once your plan payments are complete the Court or Trustee will file a notice that a request for discharge must be completed. The Request for discharge is a simple one page form which states the home address of the Debtor and place of employment at the time the case closes. Each district may has a modification of the national form and you get this document from your attorney or the local court website.
The major purpose of the form is to inform primary custodians where the ex-spouse is employed and resides so child support and alimony can be paid. Alimony and child support is sometimes caught up through a Chapter 13. Normally alimony and child support is not effected or paid by the Bankruptcy court but it is possible to catch up alimony or child support full and pay unsecured creditors less. Bankruptcy court gives alimony and child support full priority over unsecured and even secured debts. A Chapter 13 can be a tool of child support enforcement but it is rarely or almost never used.
The request for discharge form and getting a complete discharge.
The request for discharge form is required along with the Debtor education certification to get the final discharge order in a Chapter 13.
Ask yourself if you need the discharge. If your real purpose was just to save the home you may not need or want a discharge. You can only get a discharge every few years. If your bankruptcy was filed to manage student loans, or a foreclosure and you don’t need to discharge your mortgage or student loans why ask for the discharge? Asking for the discharge uses up a bankruptcy discharge which you may need later in life.
If you do need the discharge filling out this form takes only minutes. Your attorney can fill it in but here is the Western District of Kentucky form which should work in most districts. PDF Format Word Format
The Debtor education class.
If you are shopping for a class I recommend you only use a place which automatically files the debtor education certification. Every year someone forgets to file the certification and can cost the debtor over 600 dollars because the certification is filed after the case closes. Using a cheap provider is a bad idea when it comes to filing the debtor education certificate.
The Debtor education certification is only required if you wish to get the discharge. It is a one to two hour class designed to teach budgeting to debtors. If your only debt or goal was to save the home from foreclosure then you may not need the Debtor Education class.
Finishing a Chapter 13 plan
The final discharge is the permanent court order which protects the debtor personally from collections. This order is less powerful than the stay but it still can allow actual damages attorney fees and punitive damages if a creditor attempts collections after this order is entered. In our Circuit it protects the debtor from even creditors who were not listed.
It takes a short time but the court will eventually issue the discharge at the completion of the Chapter 13 if you file this one page form and complete the education.
Remember the trustee has to send the request to you to file the request for discharge. You can file the Debtor Education certification early. You cannot file the request for discharge until the Chapter 13 trustee requests it. This is after you make the last payment. If you need further help getting this filed contact the attorney who filed your case. He should be happy to file the request for discharge. But again here is the fillable form. Remember this form must be filed in pdf format if it is filed electronically. PDF Format Word Format