A Motion to Impose Stay Will Require Going to See the Bankruptcy Judge to try to get one. A case illustrating how this works is In re Brenda F. Washington, Case No. 12-80056-G3-13, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division.

I filed a chapter 13 case for a lady recently, to stop her car from being repossessed. The problem was, she had been in 3 other chapter 13 cases in the past year, that had been dismissed! That is a big problem, because of changes made to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005.

The law change says that if you have been in 2 or more bankruptcy cases during the past year that were dismissed, then no "automatic stay" goes into effect when the new case is filed. You have to ask the Bankruptcy Court to "impose" or grant a stay, so that your creditors are stopped from repossessing your property, and suing you, etc. What had happened in this lady's case, was that her lawyer had dropped the ball on the prior cases.

She had done everything correctly, given him her tax returns, paid the chapter 13 trustee the payments, etc. but he had not provided the tax returns and all the other required documents to the court and trustee. So her prior 3 chapter 13 cases were dismissed. What made it even worse was that she had put $20,000 down on her car, and had had it for years, and she sure did not want to lose it.

So we filed a 4th chapter 13 bankruptcy for her, and filed an "Emergency Motion to Impose Stay" with the Bankruptcy Court. At the hearing, we had the debtor and her former attorney testify, and the judge granted a stay. So the lady gets to keep her car, and pay for it over the course of her chapter 13 plan. But you can't count on that happening. When you file a chapter 13 case, do everything your attorney says so that your case does not get dismissed.

If it does get dismissed, it is possible to re-file in most circumstances, but that is not a given. In some cases your case could be dismissed "with prejudice" if you did not do what you were supposed to do. Hire a good attorney and you can succeed. If you live in the Houston, Texas area, call my office at 713-772-8037.

J Thomas Black
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Board Certified, Consumer Bankruptcy Law- Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Mr. Black, I humbly thank you for the sharing of your information. I am pro se and the understanding of proceeding unrepresented as a debtor is confusing. Student of Life, Deloris Phillips 09/25/2013
by DELORIS PHILLIPS September 25, 2013 at 01:30 PM
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