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In Business Since 1983
In Business Since 1983
706-322-8557

Information for Chapter 13 Clients in Columbus

Information for Our Valued Chapter 13 Clients

You will receive notice of your 341(a) Meeting of Creditors a few days after filing your Chapter 7 petition. Your attendance is required. You are required to show some form of picture identification and proof of your Social Security number during the hearing. Please see our General Information for Our Valued Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Clients page for the exact address and map.
Please arrive on time and be prepared to show the picture identification and proof of social security number. In addition, if you have a home and/or automobile financed which you intend to keep and reaffirm, you will need to be prepared to show proof of casualty/fire insurance on your home and full coverage insurance on your automobile, naming the mortgage holder/lien holder as loss payee.
Your Confirmation Hearing is scheduled approximately one (1) month after the 341(a) Meeting of Creditors. The exact date is on the notice you will receive from the bankruptcy court. Unless there are problems with your case, you will probably not need to attend this hearing. Confirmation hearings are held in the Bankruptcy Court Courtroom. Please see our General Information for Our Valued Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Clients page for the exact address and map.
You need to call our office a day or so prior to the hearing date to see if you need to attend. If there is a problem with your case and you fail to call our office for instructions or attend the confirmation hearing, your case may be dismissed.
There are other hearings which may be scheduled during the pendency of your Chapter 13 case. These hearings include, but are not limited to, trustee's motion to dismiss and a creditor's motion for relief from stay. You will be required to attend these hearings unless the motion is withdrawn prior to the hearing date. You should contact our office upon your receipt of any motion so that we can obtain the information we need to resolve the issue.
If an emergency ever arises which makes it impossible for you to attend any court hearing, please notify our office immediately.
Your first payment is due within 30 days of your case being filed. Your first payment will come due prior to any court hearings. Please be advised that court dates do not affect the beginning date of your payments. You cannot wait until after your court date to begin payments, or you will fall behind and we will be unable to have your case confirmed.
A wage deduction order may be sent to your employer. If you change employers at any time during the pendency of your Chapter 13, you must immediately notify our office of your new employer's name and address. Please use the form provided on our General Information for Our Valued Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Clients page to notify us in writing of the change.
Until you see the payments being deducted from your check or if a wage deduction order is not being entered, you are responsible for the payments. The payments must be in the form of a money order or cashier's check (be sure to include your name and case number) and mailed to:

Office of the Chapter 13 Trustee – Columbus
P.O. Box 11634 7
Atlanta, Georgia 30368-6347
Do not mail any correspondence to this address!

You should maintain records of all payments you make directly to the Trustee.
Once your case has been confirmed and you do not have a wage deduction order in effect, you may use the Trustee's ePay Online Payment System. You may find information about ePay here.
Chapter 13 Plan Payments
You are responsible for insuring your Chapter 13 plan payments are made on a timely basis. If a wage deduction order is entered in your case, you are responsible for the payments until such time as your employer begins the deduction. If your employer fails to honor the wage deduction order, it is still your responsibility to make the payments. Your employer's failure does not excuse the payments.
Mortgage Payments and Other Payments Not Paid Through Your Plan
You need to review your Chapter 13 plan and accompanying information sheet to determine if any payments are to be made outside your plan. If there are payments which need to be made outside your plan, you are required to make these payments on a timely basis. Your failure to make the payment could result in the creditor seeking relief from the stay, and you could ultimately lose any property securing that creditor's debt. You may find a Mortgage Payment Log here to assist you with keeping track of your mortgage payments during your Chapter 13 case.
Insurance
You are required to maintain casualty/fire insurance· on your home and full coverage insurance on your automobile and name the mortgage holder/lien holder as loss payee. Please provide our office with a copy of the declaration page for our files. Your failure to maintain the insurance could result in the creditor seeking relief from the stay, and you could ultimately lose your home and/or automobile.
Court Hearings
It is your responsibility to attend all court hearings unless otherwise instructed by our office. Your failure to do so could result in the dismissal of your case or the loss of property.
Address and Employment Changes
You are required to keep our office informed of your current address, telephone number and employer's name and address. Please use the forms provided on our General Information for Our Valued Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Clients page to notify us in writing of any changes. We will notify the court and the trustee's office.
Debtor Education Course
You MUST attend a debtor education course prior to your getting a discharge. During your 341 Meeting, we will provide you with information necessary for you to complete this course. You will probably receive solicitations/advertising through the mail from various companies offering this course. As these companies generally charge a higher fee for the course, please disregard those and wait for the information from our office. Please see our General Information for Our valued Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Clients page for information on the course.

Who is my trustee?

Your Chapter 13 trustee is: Kristin Hurst
Her office is located at:
1031 Front Ave.
Columbus, GA 31901
Her mailing address is:
P.O. Box 1907
Columbus, GA 31902
Her telephone number is: 706-327-4151
Do not mail any payments to either of these addresses!

Can I review information concerning my case via the internet?

Yes, through the National Data Center at www.ndc.org. This website allows you to view the details of your Chapter 13 case any time. You will be required to register the first time you attempt access of your case information.

What do I do when a creditor attempts to collect a debt via the telephone or mail?

If they call you, simply tell them that you have filed a Chapter 13, provide them with your case number and refer them to our office. If they mail you a statement or threatening letter, simply note on the correspondence that you have filed Chapter 13 and your case number and mail the correspondence back to them.

What if I am served with a lawsuit, garnishment or a foreclosure/repossession notice?

Simply bring the lawsuit, garnishment or foreclosure/repossession notice to our office and we will take care of it.

What if I have a codebtor or guarantor on a debt or debts?

If you want to protect the codebtor or guarantor, the debt must be paid in full through your Chapter 13 plan. If you do provide for the debt to be paid in full through your plan to protect the codebtor, then the creditor is prohibited from attempting to collect the debt from the codebtor or guarantor. If not, the creditor can seek relief from the stay through the court against the codebtor or guarantor and pursue collection activity against the codebtor or guarantor.

What if I want to sell my automobile or home while I am in my Chapter 13 case?

You must obtain permission from the court to sell any property during the pendency of your Chapter 13. Contact our office for specific instructions as to the documentation you will need to provide and the steps we will need to take.

What if I want to purchase an automobile or home, or if I need to obtain a loan while I am in my Chapter 13?

You must obtain permission from the Chapter 13 trustee to obtain any type of credit. You need to contact the trustee's office for specific instructions on how to obtain that permission. Please be advised that if you seek to obtain additional credit during your Chapter 13 case, the trustee can (and usually does) adjust your plan, requiring you to pay your creditors in full (which would cause your Chapter 13 payments to increase).

What if I want to trade in my vehicle?

You cannot trade in your vehicle during the pendency of your Chapter 13 case.

What if I total my vehicle while I am in my Chapter 13 case?

Either the lien holder of your automobile will receive the insurance proceeds or we can obtain permission from the court to allow you to use the insurance proceeds to purchase a new vehicle and substitute the new vehicle for the totaled vehicle. If you want to make the substitution, you will need to notify our office of the amount of the proceeds and the insurance company's name and address. Please be advised that this process takes approximately 30 days to complete. You would not be allowed to purchase a vehicle until that time. You may find further information on Substitution of Collateral here.

What if I fail to list all my creditors in my initial petition?

You can add creditors to your bankruptcy after the filing upon the payment of an amendment fee and so long as the debt was incurred prior to your filing. Please contact our office for further instruction. You may provide the information by email, but the fee must be paid prior to the petition being amended.

What attorney's fees are charged and how are they paid?

The attorney's fees are based on the time and effort expended on your case. The initial fees are approved by the court and are for the fees incurred through confirmation of your plan. Any additional work completed on your case after confirmation is again based on the time and effort expended and is approved by the court upon the filing of a motion for fees made to the trustee. All fees approved by the court are paid by the trustee from the payments you made to the trustee.

What if lose my job and become unable to make my Chapter 13 payments, or if my income is reduced and it becomes a hardship for me to make my Chapter 13 payments?

If you lose your job and are unable to make your Chapter 13 payments, eventually the trustee will file a motion to dismiss. At that time, you will have to either work out some arrangement with the trustee to make up any missed payments, convert your case to one under Chapter 7 to receive a discharge from your debts or your case will be dismissed (allowing your creditors to pursue collection activity, including foreclosure proceedings, repossessions and garnishments).
If you have a reduction in your income which causes a hardship for you to make your Chapter 13 payments, you need to notify our office immediately so that we may review your case to see if it would be possible to reduce your Chapter 13 payments. If not, eventually the trustee will file a motion to dismiss and you will have the same options as outlined above.

How long will I be in my Chapter 13 case?

You must be in a Chapter 13 for a minimum of three (3) years (unless your creditors are paid in full prior to the three-year period), but no more than five (5) years. The exact time will be dependent on the total of claims filed by the creditors in your case and your timeliness in paying your Chapter 13 payments. The trustee will give an approximate length of the plan in the report to the court for confirmation; however, should the claims be more than anticipated or if you miss any payments during the pendency of your case, the plan will extend beyond the length approximated by the trustee.

What if I disagree with a claim filed by a creditor?

If you have proof (written documentation, canceled checks, receipts, etc.) that a creditor's claim is incorrect, please provide the proof to our office and we will object to that creditor's claim and have the claim denied or reduced, whichever is applicable.
It is not uncommon for the trustee to file an objection to a creditor's claim. If an objection is filed, you as well as our office will be provided with a copy. This objection is between the creditor and the trustee. The creditor, not you nor our office, is required to take action on this type of objection.

What other papers may be filed in my case?

It is not uncommon for creditors to file objections to confirmation of your case. They usually base their objections on the value and/or lack of interest. Our office will handle these objections. You are not required to take any action. However, sometimes these objections are based on lack of full-coverage insurance. In this case, you need to immediately provide our office with proof of insurance so that we may make it available to the creditor.

What happens when I complete my Chapter 13 case?

Once you have made all payments required under your Chapter 13 plan, a discharge will be entered discharging you from all debts not paid through your plan which are dischargeable. Some debts which are not dischargeable include (but are not limited to) alimony, maintenance, support, student loans not paid through your Chapter 13 plan, priority taxes not paid through your Chapter 13 plan, debts that were paid outside the plan and not covered in the plan, debts for death or personal injury caused by your operation of a motor vehicle while unlawfully intoxicated, debts for restitution included in a criminal sentence imposed on you, installment debts whose last payment is due after the completion of the plan, and debts incurred while the plan was in effect that were not paid under the plan. For a complete list of nondischarged debts, please refer to the discharge entered by the court in your case.