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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Requirements

What You Need to Know

Here you will find Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Requirements and other information regarding your Chapter 13:

  • Bankruptcy Filing and Creditors Notified
  • Financial Management Course Information (chapter 13 bankruptcy requirement)
  • Creditors Meeting and the Trustee Information
  • Chapter 13 Payments
  • Mortgage and Homeowner Association Dues
  • Taxes and Child Support / Alimony
  • Automobiles
  • Employment and Other Income Changes
  • Information for Chapter 13 Clients

Bankruptcy Filing and Creditors Notified:

When will my bankruptcy be filed with the Court?

Your bankruptcy will be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois within 7-10 days after you meet with your attorney to sign your bankruptcy petition and schedules, unless there is a reason to hold your case.

When will my creditors be notified of my bankruptcy filing?

Creditors will be notified by the Bankruptcy Court either electronically or by mail of your bankruptcy filing within 5 days of the date your case was filed. They will be provided your case number, the date your bankruptcy was filed, your attorney’s address and phone number, the Trustee’s address and phone number as well as the bankruptcy court’s information. It is important that you include the correct address for your creditors when you are filling out your bankruptcy questionnaire provided when you had your initial consultation.

One of the biggest benefits of filing bankruptcy is that the automatic stay stops creditor harassment – this is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy requirement. If you are contacted by one of your creditors, let them know you have filed bankruptcy, give them your case number, tell them you filed in the Northern District of Illinois, let them know your bankruptcy lawyer’s name (Brad Covey) and that they are to contact our office if they have any further questions. You can also direct your creditors to our website for additional information specifically for your creditors.

What should I do if a creditor continues to contact me?

If a creditor continues to call you AFTER you have provided them your case information, please give them the information again BUT take the person’s name and the date and time they called. If a creditor continues to call, and you document these calls thoroughly, our office may be able to file for sanction against the creditor.

In the rare circumstance that a creditor continues to call, obtain the name of the person that calls and the date and time they called. Contact our office and someone will also contact the creditor.

You may receive statements, bills or invoices from your creditors the first month after your bankruptcy is filed. This is not unusual since they must update their system to reflect your bankruptcy. If you continue to receive statements, bills or invoices from your creditors, please contact them and remind them you have filed bankruptcy and give them my telephone number to call for any information. Be sure to document the name of the person you spoke to and the date and time you spoke with them.

Again, it is extremely rare, but if a creditor continues to contact you after your bankruptcy filing, there is legal action we may take against that creditor. However, we must be able to document when and how the creditor was provided your bankruptcy information. As a result, be sure to keep documentation of the dates, times and person(s) you spoke with for that creditor. Without this information, we will not be able to take legal action against the creditor.

Financial Management Course Information (Chapter 13 bankruptcy requirement):

When do I need to take the Financial Management course?

As you know, you must take a financial management course and file the certification with the bankruptcy court to receive a discharge in your bankruptcy. We recommend you take the financial management course as soon as you receive your case number from us and before your creditors meeting. If you are married, each person must take the course separately, and you and your spouse will receive two different certificate numbers. Most of our clients take the course online at  This is important, if you have any questions regarding when to take the financial management course please contact our office.  Please note that only offers the course online and there is no telephone number.  If you need a counseling service that offers a phone number or in-person counseling please contact our office.

What should I do after completing the Financial Management course?

Prior to your creditors meeting, forward a copy of your Financial Management Certificate to our office. The credit counseling agency will also either fax or email the certificate to us. Once we receive your certificate we will file it with the bankruptcy court.  If you have taken the course and provided us with the certificate, you should within ten days receive an email or letter from us confirming that the certificate was filed.  If you don’t receive confirmation that the certificate was filed please contact us immediately.  It is your responsibility to make sure the financial management certification has been filed with the Court. If you have taken the course but simply failed to have your certification filed with the Court prior to your expected discharge date, the Court will close your case and you will not receive a discharge of your debts.

What if I forget to take the financial management course or forget to have it filed with the bankruptcy court before my case is closed?

If the bankruptcy court were to close your case without a discharge because you failed to take the financial management course, you will be required to file a motion with the bankruptcy court to reopen your case. The court’s current cost to reopen the case is $260 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There will also be substantial additional attorney fees to file the motion and obtain the order from the bankruptcy court.  Our office does not want you to incur any additional cost or inconvenience from not taking and filing the financial management certification. That is why it is extremely important that you complete and file the financial management certification in a timely manner.

Creditors Meeting and the Trustee Information:

Your One and Only Court Appearance

Your bankruptcy hearing is called the first meeting of creditors (“341 Hearing”). It’s called 341 hearing because section 341 of the bankruptcy code requires it. It is also called the “first meeting of creditors” although it is the only meeting (usually) and generally creditors do not show up.  It will be held approximately 4 to 6 weeks after we file your case. There will be no judge at the hearing. Your bankruptcy Trustee will preside over the hearing.  A bankruptcy trustee is usually an attorney appointed by the United States Trustee’s Office.  In the collar counties of Chicago, there are four trustees per county.  Our firm is very proud to have one of the four trustees in Kane County, Illinois and one of the four trustees in DuPage County, Illinois.

ID Required

You will be asked to swear or affirm to tell the truth and will testify under penalty of perjury.  The meeting will also be recorded. The trustee will verify your identity by reviewing your drivers license or other acceptable form of identification such as a passport. The trustee will also verify your social security number by reviewing your original social security card. Be sure to bring your photo identification and social security card to the hearing it is a chapter 13 bankruptcy requirement. If you do not bring acceptable photo identification and your social security card, the trustee cannot hold your hearing, and you will have to come back another day.

When is my creditors’ meeting?

Your creditors’ meeting occurs approximately 30 – 45 days after your bankruptcy is filed. We will send you an email with your case number, date filed, court location and time.  Attached to the email will be a copy of your petition and schedules that were filed with the court.  If you do not have email, we will send the same information via regular mail.  Additionally, you will receive a notice from the bankruptcy court in the mail within seven (7) days of the date your bankruptcy is filed regarding the date and time of your creditors meeting. If you do not receive a notice, please contact our office.

What types of questions will the Trustee ask me at the creditors meeting?

We will have discussed these at your bankruptcy signing appointment, but here is a list of possible questions. There may be others we discussed that pertain specifically to your bankruptcy case.

(see Stearns script)

Kane County and DuPage County Clients:

Where do I go for my creditors meeting?

Where: If you live in Kane or DuPage County, Illinois your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee will be Glenn Stearns. Your creditors meeting will be held at 801 Warrenville Rd., Suite 655, Lisle, Illinois.  You should find this building BEFORE the day of the creditors meeting.  801 Warrenville Road is on the south side of Warrenville Road, two miles east of our current location, 0.4 miles east of Illinois Highway 53.

Parking: 341 meeting parking is on the roof of the parking garage.

When you turn off Warrenville Road into the driveway for the 701 and 801 Warrenville

Road buildings the parking garage is right in front of you.
Turn left (toward 701) then turn right and proceed to the entrance to the parking deck.

For handicapped parking, turn right (toward 801) and immediately turn right again. There are ten or so handicapped parking places.

Click here for an overhead view of the new location.

Kendall, Will and LaSalle County Clients:

Where:  Creditor meetings will be held at the Joliet City Hall, 150 W. Jefferson St., 2nd Floor, Joliet, Illinois.  Meetings will usually be held on Wednesdays.  Start times are every half hour beginning 9:00 am to 1:30 pm.

What else do I need to know about my creditors meeting?

On the day of your creditors meeting, you will meet attorney Brad Covey at the Trustee’s office or the Joliet City Hall as directed. You will receive an email or letter reminder from our office reminding you of the time and place of your meeting.  Please arrive 30 minutes early so that Brad may review your case with you prior to meeting with the trustee.

You must bring you picture ID and proof of your social security number to your creditors’ meeting.  If you don’t bring proper ID the trustee will not hold your meeting and you will have to come back another day.

Chapter 13 Payments – Trustee Glenn Stearns Cases Only

Trustee Glenn Stearns if the Chapter 13 Trustee for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.  His office was created to service the Collar Counties of Cook County (Lake, DuPage, Kane, Will, Kendal, Grundy and LaSalle Counties).

Where do I send my Chapter 13 payments?

Attorney Brad Covey calculated your plan payments when your case was filed.  The amount of your plan payment was given to you in the email/letter you received with your other case filing information.  Your first plan payment is to be paid to the Chapter 13 Trustee by certified check or money order (no personal checks) within 30 days of the day your case was filed.  Please allow 5 days for your check to post.

Payments should be made payable to Glenn Stearns Trustee and mailed to his lockbox at:

Glenn Stearns, Chapter 13 Trustee
PO Box 2368
Memphis  TN   38101 2368

Why Memphis?  SunTrust provides excellent service to a large number of Chapter 13 Trustees nationwide and the mail time from Chicago to Memphis is about the same as from one location to another in the Chicago metro area.  Figure on four to five days between the date the payment is postmarked and the date we post it to your case.

Do not send payments to the trustee’s office.  This will only delay the payment being credited to your account.

You MUST pay via money order, cashiers check or payroll deduction.  No personal checks.  Personal checks will not be processed by my bank and will be returned to you.

Write your name and case number on every payment.

Case information is available on the World Wide Web at the National Data Center.  First time users will need to set up a free login account by following the instructions for “Debtors”.

Other useful information is available at

What if I miss a payment to the Trustee?

In order to have your case confirmed, you must be current with your plan payments.  After your case if confirmed, you should not go more than 30 days past due.  If you go over 60 days past due the Trustee may file a motion with the court to have your case dismissed.  If you are having problems making your payments, please contact attorney Brad Covey so that you may discuss your options.

It is your responsibility to make your Chapter 13 payments to the Trustee. We strongly recommend you obtain a file folder specifically for Chapter 13 Trustee payment receipts. If there is ever a discrepancy between your records and the Trustee’s, you must be able to quickly and easily provide your receipts. You are required to prove that you made the payments.

How can I find out what the Trustee is paying each month or how much I owe on my bankruptcy?

We urge you to get a password from the National Data Center’s website so that you may follow your case.  You can see where your payments are going and what is left to pay.

Should you need an “official” payoff, you must obtain that through our office. Do not contact the Trustee’s office; they will simply redirect you to our office. It may take 10 days to receive an official, unaudited payoff. An official, unaudited payoff is usually needed only when you are trying to pay off your bankruptcy or you are looking to refinance your home and payoff the bankruptcy.

If I have someone who wants to pay off my bankruptcy, what should I do?

Please make your regular payment to the Trustee an no more.  If you are considering paying off your case, you will need a payoff letter from the Trustee’s office. If you have the funds to payoff your case please contact our office.

Should I contact the Trustee’s office if I have a question or need to inform someone of a change in my circumstances?

Please do not contact the Trustee’s office directly or send letters to the Trustee without first speaking with our office. In almost every case, the Trustee will redirect the communication to our office. We are here to help you navigate the bankruptcy process – that’s why your paid us. In most cases we can answer your questions and if there is a change in circumstances, we will probably be required to file amended schedules with the Court.

Mortgage and Homeowner Association Dues

What should I know about my mortgage and homeowner association dues?

How much is my monthly mortgage payment after filing bankruptcy?

The mortgage company will file a proof of claim with the court that includes the amount  of your monthly mortgage payment after your case is filed. The payment should revert to your regular monthly payment, but there are many factors that may impact that amount.

If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, a change in the interest rate may impact your future mortgage payment.

If you had a forbearance agreement or other modification to your loan prior to filing bankruptcy, your payment should revert to the payment amount in the last written agreement between you and your mortgage company.

If your house was in foreclosure before filing bankruptcy, the mortgage company may have paid outstanding property taxes on your home. As a result, they will likely escrow taxes, as outlined in your loan agreement, into your monthly payment which may increase your mortgage payments.

If the mortgage company is not escrowing taxes and insurance, do I need to continue to pay for taxes and insurance?

Absolutely, if not escrowed by your mortgage company, you are responsible for making payments for taxes and insurance after your bankruptcy is filed.

What happens to my home if I get behind on my Chapter 13 plan payments after filing bankruptcy?

If you fall more than 60 days behind on your plan payments, you should expect the Trustee to file a Motion to Dismiss your bankruptcy case.  As a result, it is extremely important to stay current on you plan payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee.

What if I do not receive a bill or statement from my mortgage company?

It is likely that the mortgage company will stop sending you a bill or statement while you are in bankruptcy. You may contact them and specifically request that they send it to you. However,  you MUST make your mortgage payment(s) each month if you want to keep your home. If you do not receive a bill or statement, simply add your account number on your payment and send it to the mortgage company by the due date. Indicating you did not receive a bill or statement is not a valid excuse for not making your payments.

What if I get behind on my mortgage payments while in bankruptcy?

If you get behind on your payments while you are in bankruptcy the mortgage company may file a Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay. This means that they are asking the bankruptcy court for permission to start foreclosure on your home. If you are behind on your payments, we may be able to negotiate a repayment plan that would allow you to “catch-up”. This repayment plan is called a “repay default order” and will be in addition to your regular monthly house payment. However, there is no guarantee the mortgage company will agree to this repayment plan.  The mortgage company will charge you for their attorney’s time to file the Motion for Relief from Automatic Stay.

What if I can no longer make payments on my house?

If you are unable to maintain payments on your Chapter 13 bankruptcy including the payments on the house, please contact our office to discuss options available to you.

What should I do if I want to refinance my house while in bankruptcy?

If you want to refinance your house, you may be able to obtain financing if you have made 12 consistent, timely payments to the mortgage company(ies) and/or the Trustee. The decision about whether you are eligible to refinance is up to the mortgage company. However, the court must approve any refinancing. Once you find a mortgage company that will refinance your house, you should contact our office and make an appointment to talk to attorney Brad Covey.  From the date we file a motion to allow the refinance with the court, it will take approximately 30 days to obtain permission.

What if I want to sell my house while in bankruptcy?

If you want to sell your house while you are in bankruptcy, you may place your house on the market with a real estate agent or on your own without obtaining court permission. If you use a real estate agent, you will need to let her know you are in bankruptcy. However, the court must approve the sale of your house in advance. You cannot close on the house without court approval. Once you find a buyer for your house, you should contact our office and ask to speak to attorney Brad Covey. You will be required to provide a copy of the sales contract on your house.  Any excess proceeds from the sale of your house, after paying closing costs and your homestead exemption, will be paid to the Trustee. From the date we file the motion with the court asking for permission to sell your house, it will take approximately 30 days to obtain permission.

What if I get behind on domestic support obligations (child support or alimony) after filing bankruptcy?

You must stay current on domestic support obligations after you file bankruptcy. Should you get behind on these payments after filing bankruptcy, your case may be dismissed. IMPORTANT: To obtain a discharge in your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, at the end of your payment case you must sign an affidavit that you are current on domestic support obligations.


What if I need to purchase another car or truck while in bankruptcy?

The purchase of a vehicle required the Trustee’s approval. You should contact our office and speak with bankruptcy attorney Brad Covey.   You will need to submit the contract you will be entering into along with new income and expense numbers.  Our office then will forward the request to the Trustee’s office for approval.

To obtain approval, you must demonstrate you are able to make payments on the new vehicle in addition to other bills, including house payments and Chapter 13 bankruptcy payments. You should also be current on your payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee.

What if my car or truck is destroyed or totaled in an accident?

If your car was totaled in an accident, you will need to contact your insurance company or the insurance company of the person that caused the accident and let them know you are in bankruptcy. You should also contact our office, since you will need to obtain permission from the Court to settle the claim with the insurance company.

Employment and Other Income Changes

What happens if I become unemployed while in bankruptcy?

You should contact our office if this occurs. We will need to discuss how long you expect to be unemployed and whether you are receiving unemployment. These will all be factors in considering your options.

What happens if I am sick for an extended period of time, in an accident, or on disability or workers compensation while I am in bankruptcy?

Please contact our office.  These are very special situations and there is no general answer. Depending on your specific situation, including how your bankruptcy is structured and how long you will be off work, will depend on the action to be taken.

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