Hopefully you have an attorney. If you do not have one in this situation you need one YESTERDAY.
You may or may not be eligible to convert depending on many things including income. And it may or may not be wise to convert depending on numbers. Along with conversion, you need to someone who can advise on staying in the 13 (and perhaps modifying it) and dismissal, which also may be options. Note that lifting a stay doesn't guarantee foreclosure; it simply allows it. These are all questions that a lawyer can answer only with all the numbers and facts.
If you don't have counsel and need counsel, feel free to call me at 404-768-3509.
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Depending on your income, assets and prior filings, you may be able to convert to Chapter 7. Contact your attorney immediately. Even if conversion is imprudent, you will likely need to amend your plan.
Please consult an attorney who is licensed in your state to evaluate your case if you have any questions at all. This communication does not in any way create an attorney client relationship.
A Debtors' right to convert from one chapter of bankruptcy to another is automatic and the first conversion will be automatically granted. When you convert you will need to file an amended budget (schedules I and J), new Statement of Intention, and any other supporting docs. You will need your budget to support a conversion from a Chapter 13 to Chapter 7. Have you had a loss or change of income that does so? If your budget supports the conversion there should be no objections.
Another important question for you is - what is your intention with your house? Do you want to keep it? From what you wrote above my sense is that you are behind in your mortgage payments: Did you file a 13 to save your home and now have also been denied a modification? If your goal is to save your home and you are in arrears, you would not be able to keep your home in a Chapter 7 unless you became current with your mortgage payments and continue making the payments on time.
This is definitely something that you want to speak with an attorney about.
If you have an attorney, you REALLY need to sit down with him and discuss your rights in converting to chapter 7!!!! Yes, you can convert your case to chapter 7, you need to discuss with your attorney the possible effects that converting to 7 will have on you and your case. Good luck!!!
The quick answer is yes. The long answer is that, since you have been in a chapter 13, you have been protected from and paying your other secured creditors. If you convert, any other secured creditors (such as cars) which were being paid under the plan will no longer be under the plan. They will want the normal monthly payment, original interest rate, and for you to get current on the debt if you want to keep it after the chapter 7 is closed in a few months. If you were only in a chapter 13 to save the house, and there were no other secured creditors, you will probably be fine. If you had no debts other than the house, and only one mortgage, dismissal could be better than conversion, preserving your right to discharge debts down the road if you need to. Either way, sit down with your attorney, or find one to sit down with if you don't, so that you know exactly what will happen before you take that step.
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The attorneys before me made some good points. The major issue here is whether or not you qualify for Chapter 7, even though you probably would not have passed the "means" test (Form 22A in under Chapter 7) had you initially filed for Chapter 7.
Some bankruptcy courts have ruled that you must take the means test, while others have ruled that you don't need to worry about it as long as the Chapter 13 plan was filed in good faith (i.e. feasible plan based on your income). To be on the safe side, you should file the Form 22A under Chapter 7 and analyze (something an attorney will be able to help you do) what exactly has changed as far as income and expenses.
For example, if one files under 13 and converts to a 7 because he/she got laid off, they would most likely be in the clear. In contrast, if one files under 13 and converts for no apparent reason to a 7 after a week, the means test will likely have to be addressed. Further, there are certain tools an attorney would be suited to handle if you have equity in your home, as they relate to Chapter 7 exemptions. I definitely recommend retaining counsel if you have not already.
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