People, who need to file for bankruptcy, may be able to get a better settlement if they have more time to sell an asset or negotiate with lenders. It is common to ask for an extension to get some more time before the bankruptcy is final.
When writing an extension letter, the consumer should be very clear about what he or she wants. The letter should be brief and factual, and sent along with the required forms or other documentation.
Motions to extend are commonly used in a bankruptcy action after a consumer has filed for bankruptcy.
In most cases, the consumer gets an automatic stay that is designed to protect him or her from further garnishments of wages, collection attempts by creditors and foreclosure actions while the case is being processed.
If a creditor harasses a consumer to collect payment on debt after the automatic stay has been granted, the creditor is in violation of the court, and the consumer may have grounds to seek damages.
show good cause
An extension letter for bankruptcy must show good cause to extend an automatic stay or to be granted another stay.
For example, good reasons may include wage garnishment that will help pay down debt, the sale of personal property that will help satisfy some of the debt or, if the consumer can prove that he or she has a higher paying job.
The automatic stay is usually in effect until the case is closed, but it can be lifted by the court in some cases.
It may also automatically terminate before the case is closed. If this happens, it is wise to request an extension because, without it, creditors will be free to try to collect on debt during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Creditors May Get The Automatic Stay Lifted
Creditors may get the automatic stay lifted if the consumer is behind on his or her mortgage payment or car loan payments or has not maintained insurance on a house or car.
A property owner can get the stay lifted if he or she wants to evict the consumer for non-payment of rent.
To extend the automatic stay, the consumer needs to file a motion with the court. A letter may explain the reason the consumer’s previous bankruptcy was dismissed and why he or she is requesting an extension in their current case.
The consumer must show that he or she filed the subsequent bankruptcy in good faith and not simply to get an extension or to create a delay in order to defraud creditors.
Each state will have its own rules for procedures for filing an extension motion for the automatic stay, but there are some common things for most states.
The letter should accompany the appropriate forms. Each district has its own forms. The consumer can ask his or her local bankruptcy court to find all of the required forms for a motion to extend the automatic stay.
If there is no standard form, the consumer may need to create his or her own motion and declarations. To navigate bankruptcy law, it may be wise to consult a lawyer who specializes in bankruptcy.
The consumer will then need to get a hearing date to file the motion. This must be done before the automatic stay expires. It is best to file for an extension immediately after filing for bankruptcy.
Most courts have a standard form for motions to extend the automatic stay. It must be served to the creditors and the bankruptcy trustee.
It may be necessary for the consumer to attend the hearing. If there are several creditors, and even one want to oppose the motion, the consumer must be ready to argue his or her case in court.
This may include giving reasons with details about why the consumer needs an extension.
Reasons Should Be Compelling
The reasons should be compelling if the consumer is to win over the creditors. If there is no opposition to the extension, the court may grant the motion and remove the hearing from the court calendar.
The consumer should carefully review all of the documents given by the court and attend the hearing unless he or she is specifically excused.
Before starting the extension letter, the consumer should gather some documents.
He or she may need the original bankruptcy filing documents, any court contact information, documents that support the request for an extension and attorney contact information, if applicable.
Below is a sample extension letter for bankruptcy. It is a formal business letter and should be sent by certified mail with a receipt requested. The consumer should keep a copy of the letter.
Any documents that are included should be copies and not original documents. The letter should be addressed to the court and the date and case number need to be easy to see at the beginning of the letter.
Sample Extension Letter For Bankruptcy
Name of Consumer
Address of Consumer
City, State, Zip Code
Name of Court
City, State, Zip Code
RE: Request for extension of bankruptcy case number NUMBER
Name of Court:
I have filed for bankruptcy on DATE and the case number is NUMBER. I am having difficulty meeting the terms of the original bankruptcy agreement and am requesting an extension.
I lost my job as a manager in Name of Grocery Store, and will not be able to make the payments that I agreed to make in my Chapter 13 bankruptcy agreement. I have enclosed my dismissal letter.
I am requesting an extension of 30 days in order to find another job. I have made application to three stores and have interviews for two.
Thank you for considering my request. I can be reached at Phone Number or Email Address if you need any more information.
Signature of Consumer
Printed Name of Consumer
List of Enclosures: Dismissal letter and required forms