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“Force Field” Protections with an Automatic Stay

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April 27, 2018

Background:

  • Pro Se Debtor filed for Chapter 13 in March 2017
  • Filed a second Chapter 13 case pro se June 14, 2017
  • Debtor did not make a motion to have the 30-day stay extended and it expired on July 12, 2017
  • Debtor attended Meeting of Creditors on August 1, 2017
  • Debtor found out that the 30 day stay* had expired. (*which is basically a force field around you so creditors cannot touch your assets)
  • Debtor asked the Court on August 3, 2017 to extend the automatic stay

 Court Ruling:

  • Court denied Debtor’s request to extend the automatic stay.
  • Debtor appealed.
  • Appellate Court denied appeal – the Debtor’s only excuse was that she was mistaken.
  • Bankruptcy code 362 (c) (3)(B) states she had only 30 days from the petition date to (1) file a motion to continue the automatic stay and (2) have the motion heard. 30 days means 30 days – no more.

As I always point out, Bankruptcy is a specialized field and pro se Debtors who handle their cases on their own are detriments to their goals.    Clients who have filed for a bankruptcy on their own or with an attorney who does not specialize in bankruptcy subsequently ask me to take over the case.

Most times more work is required to take over a case than it is to start a new case.

Experienced and specialized representation is required before debtors go to Bankruptcy Court.