When you read pages on this site or on other personal bankruptcy sites, you will often see references to amending your Chapter 13 plan or file an amendment to your petition. What exactly does it mean to amend your Chapter 13 plan or petition?
Amending your Chapter 13 plan or petition basically means that you are changing something. You could be adding a creditor, changing the income or expense side of your budget, adding a provision to your plan or increasing/decreasing your plan payment. Almost every Chapter 13 case is amended at one point or another – in our office, we have hundreds of examples of the most common types of amendments. An amendment can be two or three pages, or it can include dozens of pages, depending on the type of amendment.
Usually, when you amend your Chapter 13 petition or plan, your attorney will serve all creditors, the trustee any any other interested parties with a copy of the amendment.
Generally it is easier to amend your Chapter 13 case prior to confirmation. Confirmation is when the bankruptcy judge approves your repayment plan and issues an order that obligates all parties (you, your creditors, and the trustee) to abide by the terms of your plan. It is always wise to file any amendments sooner rather than later – judges and trustees do not like amendments filed at the last minute and last minute changes can delay the confirmation of your case.
At your Chapter 13 341 hearing, you will be handed a trustee information booklet that explains a little about the Chapter 13 process and instructs you to communicate with your lawyer as soon as you receive a copy of trustee or creditor objections.
After confirmation, if you amend your plan, you will need to serve the trustee and all creditors and notify these parties that they have the right to object to your proposed amendments. If your proposed post-confirmation amendment substantially changes the terms of your plan, you and your attorney may need to appear before the judge to obtain the judge’s permission for the change.
Because just about every Chapter 13 case will be amended, you should keep copies of all pleadings in your case so you will know exactly what you have filed as well as your responsibilities under the terms of your plan. If you see a mistake, you are required to notify your attorney so that the error can be fixed.
Therefore, it is not at all difficult to amend your Chapter 13 petition or plan but the trustee and judge expect that you and your attorney will use the correct forms and provide notice to all interested parties.