How to Amend Chapter 7 After it Has Been Filed

By Elizabeth Stock

Filing for bankruptcy requires you to honestly state information regarding your financial situation, including your debts and current financial status. If you've made an error or circumstances have changed, you can amend the information contained in your filed bankruptcy petition or one of the bankruptcy schedules to include the omitted information. According to Rule 1009(a) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, you can amend your bankruptcy paperwork at any time until the case is closed.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is a liquidation proceeding that involves selling assets to repay your creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a fairly quick proceeding with most cases taking less than six months. Therefore, if you need to make changes to your bankruptcy paperwork, it is best to do it as soon as possible. You must qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by passing a means test. This test looks at your income and expenses each month, and if you have little to no remaining disposable income to repay your creditors for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, you may be eligible to file for Chapter 7. Due to the fact that your income is an important factor in filing for Chapter 7, any change in income must be reported to your bankruptcy trustee as soon as possible.

Reasons for Amendments

Making changes to your bankruptcy paperwork after it is filed may be necessary for several reasons. For example, if you forgot to include a creditor in your bankruptcy schedule, you can file an amendment to add the creditor to your case. And, if your financial situation has changed since you filed for bankruptcy -- you may have been fired from a job or filed for divorce -- you need to notify the court of your changed circumstances.

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Process

To amend a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, complete an amendment form and submit it to the bankruptcy court clerk. You are required to sign the form under penalty of perjury, just like your bankruptcy petition. Each bankruptcy court may have a slightly different procedure for amending your paperwork, so it is best to contact the clerk's office to determine what the procedures are in your court. For example, some states, such as Wisconsin, charge an amendment fee to add creditors. And some bankruptcy courts may require you to complete a particular form to make changes.

Consequences

All bankruptcy paperwork, including the petition and schedules, are signed under penalty of perjury. This means that if you knowingly omit information or intentionally lie on your paperwork, you can face consequences including the dismissal of your bankruptcy case or even jail time. If you think there is a mistake in any of the documents filed in your bankruptcy case, contact the court immediately to make the necessary changes.

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References

Related articles

Facts About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a big decision that will affect your credit score and ability to qualify for personal loans and credit cards in the future. Therefore, getting the facts is essential. For example, you must first determine whether you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do file, you will have to appear at a meeting of creditors before you will receive a bankruptcy discharge.

What Do I Do When I Leave Out a Creditor in a Bankruptcy?

When you file the initial petition for bankruptcy, you will complete a schedule that lists all of your creditors and the amount of debt you owe for each. Each creditor listed on your bankruptcy schedule is included in your bankruptcy case. Once you realize you have excluded a creditor from your petition, there might be a few things you can do to correct the omission. However, sometimes adding a creditor to a bankruptcy petition is impossible, and you might be left with a debt that survives your bankruptcy case.

Bankruptcy Due Diligence Requirements

When you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court needs information about your current financial situation, including a full disclosure of your assets and income. You must act with due diligence in providing the court with supporting documentation regarding your financial situation. Due diligence means that you cooperate with the bankruptcy court to the best of your ability by providing requested documents and answering all inquiries truthfully. Failure to act with due diligence can result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy case or a revocation of your bankruptcy discharge.

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