What shall I expect at 341 : (1) my case dismissed (2) my case not confirmed (3) my case converted to Chapter7 (4) something else. I received a Notice about my "projected earnings" for the 341 meeting. I am very nervous and any help would be appreciated. I am a single women.
The Trustee is not a judge, so the Trustee is unable to dismiss your case the day of your 341 meeting or convert it. Those things would require a motion before a judge. The trustee could file a motion to dismiss but you would have the opportunity to object. At that point hopefully your situation will be better. You should consult with an attorney immediately to prepare a strategy what is best for you.
There are so many variables, however, all is not lost.
If you anticipate a job or anything that will help you through these tough times (family contribution), you can amend the plan. If you believe the situation is temporary but you truly have no idea when the next income source will come in, then you can evaluate dismissing the instant case and re-file when you anticipate earnings to be more optimistic.
In the latter situation, if it is a Chapter 13 to save a home or car, be careful of deadlines and make sure you time the dismissal and re-filing in enough time to ensure the automatic stay preserves your right to the property.
Best thing ---speak to an attorney to appropriately guide you through the variables...but certainly all is not lost! Chapter 13 i out there for the Debtors who merely hit a bump in the road.
What was the reason for filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy? Did you make too much money in the prior 6 months before you filed and you didn't qualify for a chapter 7? Do you have mortgage arrears, or missed car payments you need to catch up on? Were you trying to get rid of a wholly unsecured second loan on real property? Is there equity in your property, or do you own a lot of assets you could not otherwise exempt and protect in a chapter 7? I do not mean to overwhelm you with questions but these are the kinds of questions that any attorney you consult with will ask in order to be able to give you advice on what the next step should be. If you filed for chapter 13 because you made too much money in the prior 6 months and had disposable income to contribute towards a repayment plan, then you could convert to a chapter 7. However, if the reason for filing a chapter 13 was because you could not exempt your vehicles, or all the equity in your home, then converting to a chapter 7 may not be the best option for you. Similarly, if you are in foreclosure because you are behind on your mortgage payments, if you want to keep the home then you need to stay in a chapter 13 and repay the debt(s) over the course of 3 or 5 years (depending on your income or considering the amount of debt).
Since I am not licensed in California, but practice primarily in Colorado, I cannot predict what your trustee would do there. Here, the chapter 13 trustees are very friendly and willing to help you through the process. But for sure, there are many deadlines that you have to comply with to get your case confirmed. The good news is that you can dismiss your 13 at anytime if you get in over your head. I would not convert your case to a 7, without discussing matters with a competent chapter 7 lawyer. As for the 341 meeting, I suggest to you and all my clients that you arrive at your hearing very early and listen to the questions that are asked of the debtors before you. Generally, there are several people on the docket, so you can learn by listening to those who go before you. I hope this helps. Good luck.
I totally agree with the attorneys that have advised you to get the help from an experienced bankruptcy attorney. There are things that you might be able to do, to save your Chapter 13, depending on why you filed a 13, what you are trying to accomplish and what your future employment prospects are. Run, don't walk to find an attorney to help you.
I agree with my colleagues who state that you will not be required to make a decision right there at your 341 meeting. You should, in the interim and asap, get a lawyer to explain to you the conseqences of your alternatives (converting to 7, dismissing the case then filing 7, dismissing the case and filing 13 later, etc)
None of these things would happen at the 341 meeting, since the meeting is with the Trustee and not the judge.
Dismissal would only happen if the judge dismisses the case. The Trustee will file objections, since your plan is not not feasible.
You'll either have to re-work your plan using alternate income sources or, more likely, file a conversion to Chapter 7.
It would have been useful had you stated why you are in a chapter 13. Generally, when someone files a chapter 13 it is because they wish to accomplish a goal by making monthly payments through the trustee for up to five years. Without the money to accomplish whatever your goal is, it is bound to fail unless you can structure a "Plan B." Hope this perspective helps!
Your case could result in any of the 4 outcomes you have listed. I agree with the other lawyers who advise you to consult with a BK lawyer ASAP. Click on the AVVO tab "Find a Lawyer". Many offer free or low cost consultations. Good luck and remember BK is not a DIY project.
Much of what happens will depend on what you choose to do next, the reason for filing C13 v C7, what alt options you may have for funding your case, any new income and your employment prospects, and more.
If you're not working with a lawyer, and if you plan to try to stay in your Chapter 13, then you need to consult with a lawyer (and possibly finance the legal fees thru your chapter 13 plan).