What happens when you cannot make your Chapter 13 payments due to unexpected
bills? A furnace goes, or a car breaks down, or you get sick or hurt. What
There are a number of options. None of them are “Keep this secret from your
You can ask for a suspension, or moratorium of payments and
catch up by adding months to the end of your plan if your original plan was for
less than 60 months, or you can increase the remaining payments if not. You can
modify your plan to reduce the dividend to the unsecured
creditors or to surrender a now-broken car. You can seek a Chapter 13
hardship discharge or you can convert to Chapter
7. Under the right circumstances, you can even ask permission to
borrow additional money.
Each alternative has pros and cons which may or may not be appropriate for
your situation. But there are options.
Do not keep your struggles a secret from your lawyer. There will be a motion
to dismiss or motion for relief from stay (to begin foreclosure) soon enough,
making the challenge more difficult for your attorney than if you had said
something when the troubles began.