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The Chapter 13 Guide to Your Chapter 13 Case: A Must Read

I am attaching a portion of the Chapter 13 Handbook that you were given at your 341 hearing right after your Chapter 13 case was filed. Please take a moment and review this attachment. I have high lighted and underscored the more relevant provisions. It is extremely important that you read this attachment and keep it hand for future reference.

As the Trustee states, completing “your plan successfully, is going to take a great deal of hard work.” That – is an understatement. Chapter 13 provided a great deal of hard work for you and for your attorney.

Here, at our office, we care about you and your success. We must – however – operate within the confines of the law, the rules and the procedures that govern the Chapter 13 process. There is no “quick” or “easy” way to modify, amend or otherwise alter your plan. Once the plan is in place, the Court must approve any changes after the Trustee signs off on the requested changes.

Additionally, we are insisting that all of our Chapter 13 clients engage in some type of ongoing monthly budgeting process. The first step in this process is to purchase an accordion file with at least 12 slots representing each month of the year. We are asking that you (and your spouse – if applicable) keep track of every expense that you make; keep every receipt for every purchase – no matter how small the purchase is. Then, put each receipt in the monthly slot so that if we need to review your file, we have hard facts to work with. We are asking that you also put each of your bank statements in that months slot. This process – however tedious – will help you get on track with your budgeting.

The number one reason for failure in Chapter 13 cases is the “failure to budget.” Budgeting is the key to success in Chapter 13 and any other business venture – trust me – I learned the hard way. I religiously maintain an annual accordion file for each months expenses. That way – I can find and substantiate any expense that I incurred for any month in any year.

One final word – if you come in to a scheduled appointment to discuss your Chapter 13 case, please bring your accordion file with receipts and all of your pay stubs for that year (they should be in the accordion file). I am also attaching the excel spread file that has the detailed budget information that we put together to help clients with their monthly budgeting process. Chapter 13 is a client participative process – unlike Chapter 7 where you just submit information and documents one time – Chapter 13 require you to keep track of your income and expenses. You must participate in the process if you want to succeed and enjoy the many benefits afforded by Chapter 13.

We have a really good staff and we are truly blessed with a manageable – but very busy – case load. If I am not immediately available, you can talk to Tracy or Gina direct at (989) 262-4583 or Tina at (989) 262-4582. My direct cell number is (989) 890-1409. Please know that I am actively involved in your case. We discuss all active files on an ongoing basis and maintain contact with the Trustee’s office. So – even though it may seem like nothing is happening – we are working on your case.

Thank you for taking the time to read and review this information. With best personal regards, I remain

Very truly yours,

Mike Shovan
Attorney at Law