How to File a Motion in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

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After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it may be necessary to file a motion with the court. A motion is a request for the court to rule on a specific issue in the filer’s favor. Common motions filed by debtor’s in bankruptcy include a motion to modify a bankruptcy repayment plan, a motion to discharge debts because of hardship, or a motion to avoid a lien.

Basic Motions

There are two types of motions heard by a bankruptcy court: ex parte motions and noticed motions.

  • Ex parte motions: The judge rules on a party’s motion without a hearing.
  • Noticed motions: The other party receives notice and the opportunity to oppose the request within a specified time.

Filing a Motion

To schedule a hearing on a specific issue it is necessary to file a notice of motion. The other party must be given at least 25 days notice. The motion must:

  • Provide information about the specific action requested
  • Give the time and date of the hearing (if applicable)
  • A declaration or statement of facts
  • A memorandum that sets out the applicable law
  • Proof of service

If the opposing party objects to the motion, the objections must be filed at least five days before the scheduled hearing. At the hearing, the judge will listen to each side and will issue an immediate ruling or will take additional time to reach a decision. The prevailing party is responsible for the preparation of a formal order.

If a motion does not provide for a hearing, the opposing party must be given information on how to oppose the motion. If the other party fails to respond to the motion within 25 days, the debtor must make a request for the court to issue a default ruling. If the court does not receive a formal request, the court will not issue a ruling.

When to Get Legal Help

Filing a motion is usually a simple process. However, it may be helpful to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney to determine issues relevant to the specific motion.