In a Chapter 13, an objection to confirmation is basically a written statement from the Chapter 13 Trustee or a creditor of the debtor that there is something wrong with the case that needs to be fixed before the confirmation hearing.
I advise all of clients from Dallas, Hiram, Douglasville, Calhoun, Cartersville, Rome, Dalton and Chatsworth to try not to panic when they receive an objection to confirmation. Most objections can easily be worked out. The key is to stay in contact with your bankruptcy attorney.
The Chapter Trustee’s objections usually read something like this, “Comes now, the Chapter 13 Trustee and objects to the Confirmation of the plan for the following reasons:”. The objections will go on to list reasons like
1. funding the case is not current,
2. the applicable commitment period needs to be changed,
3. a 401k loan was not listed on schedule I,
4. some asset was not properly listed on schedule B and on and on.
The part that scares the daylights out of my clients is the bottom part of the objection which reads, “Wherefore, the Trustee moves the Court to inquire into the above objections, deny confirmation of the Debtor’s plan and to dismiss the case; or in the alternative, convert the case to one under Chapter 7.” Some panicked clients will read this last sentence to mean that they are going to lose everything they own.
Whenever I sign up a new Chapter 13 case in the Northern District of Georgia, I advise all of my clients that objections are routine and no one should panic when they receive one. On the other hand, the objections should not be ignored either. Objections to confirmation must be dealt with before the Chapter 13 case can succeed. Any Chapter 13 debtor who receives an objection to confirmation should first take a deep breath and relax. Then, they should pick up the phone and call their bankruptcy attorney and ask for an explanation of the objections. In the vast majority of cases, the objections can easily be fixed.
Most creditor objections in the Northern District of Georgia usually relate to the valuation of collateral in the case or the amount of adequate protection paid to the creditor under the plan. Again, these types of objections can usually be worked out well in advance of the confirmation hearing.
A few weeks ago, I client from my Rome Georgia office call me in tears about an objection to confirmation she received in the mail. “Jeff, I know you told me not to panic but I am scared to death!” Her elderly voice trembled as she explained to me that she was not able to sleep all night because of the objection she received. After I got her calmed down, I explained to her that her funding objection was one of the most routine objections made in chapter 13 cases. Her employer was deducting the money from her paycheck and all we needed to do was show the trustee a copy of the paystub showing the year to date deduction for the Chapter 13 payment.
In the rare case where a resolution to an objection to confirmation cannot be resolved through negotiation or agreement, the Bankruptcy Judge will make a ruling. All debtors should plan on attending their confirmation hearing unless they have been specifically instructed otherwise by their bankruptcy attorney.