I am very aware as a Des Plaines bankruptcy attorney that things happen during the course of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case where the debtor might fall behind. One example would be if the debtor becomes ill or if the debtor becomes unemployed. If the debtor can get back on his feet, then the Chapter 13 can remain in good standing. If, however, the debtor is off for an extended period of time or if the debtor is ill for an extended period of time and there’s no possible way to get current with the trustee, then the trustee will be successful in bringing a trustee’s motion to dismiss.
If that were to happen, the debtor may have the option to re-file another bankruptcy Chapter 13 case. If the debtor is able to file another Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the debtor’s attorney must bring a motion to extend the automatic stay within 30 days of the filing of the second case. This is a special nuance of the law in Chapter 13 when a debtor has refiled a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case after a prior case was dismissed within the last year. Your bankruptcy attorney will know to bring that motion to extend the automatic stay. If your attorney fails to bring the motion to extend the automatic stay within 30 days of re-filing the second case, then it is too late to bring a later motion to extend the automatic stay, and it’ll be up to creditors to accept the bankruptcy case, or creditors will have the opportunity to pursue the collateral. This is true of an individual bankruptcy case or a joint bankruptcy case.
Chapter 13 is a very complicated case, and I would never recommend that you try to file bankruptcy yourself. Many years ago it was possible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case with forms that you can purchase at an office supply store. However, since the law has changed, the requirements have changed; it has become completely difficult for even attorneys to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases unless they are seasoned and experienced in the Chapter 7 arena. I would strongly suggest that you contact a local bankruptcy lawyer and find out what they require to file a bankruptcy case. If you are unhappy with the advice that you are getting, visit another attorney. I am confident that you will be able to find an attorney that makes you feel comfortable. You also want to make sure that the attorney is knowledgeable in the particular area of the law.