What is a Motion to Dismiss in Chapter 13?

A motion to dismiss is a common motion in a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Such a motion asks the judge to close the bankruptcy, and the result is no discharge of debts and the debtor is left to resolve debt matters without the assistance of the bankruptcy process. (However, filing again may be an option.)

Motions to dismiss are used for a number of different sorts of issues, and can filed by a variety of different parties. While any given motion may be more or less of a concern, such a motion can't be ignored (unless dismissal of the case is desired).

Most motions to dismiss are filed by the Chapter 13 Standing Trustee. I would group these trustee motions into three categories:

  1. Payment arrearages. The most common motion to dismiss is a motion to dismiss for falling behind on plan payments. Sometimes, an arrangement can be worked out to catch-up payments, but missed chapter 13 plan payments are the most common reason chapter 13 cases get dismissed.
  2. Administrative matters. Particularly in Raleigh chapter 13 cases, motions to dismiss are brought as a means to bring unresolved case administrative matters up for resolution. These types of administrative matters are often easily resolved by the debtor and his or her attorney.
  3. Other major issues. Non-compliance with certain other major bankruptcy code requirements can lead to dismissal. For example, chapter 13 debtors must have filed particular tax returns on a timeline set out by statute. This type of motion to dismiss is the most difficult to resolve.

Other parties, including creditors and the bankruptcy administrator, can file motions to dismiss as well. A motion to dismiss filed by someone other than the chapter 13 trustee is a serious and non-routine matter.

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