The easy part of this question is the answer: your first Chapter 13 payment is due within 30 days of filing your Chapter 13 plan. This is a rule embedded into Federal Bankruptcy law and it’s pretty clear. Your attorney will tell you this numerous times before your case is filed. Additionally, the Trustee’s office will send you a letter within 2 or 3 days of your case being filed that tells you where to mail the first payment and when it’s due. So, it’s pretty hard to say that you didn’t know this rule. And it’s probably the easiest way to make your attorney and the Trustee mad at you.
The harder part of the question is realizing just how important your payments are. If you have a mortgage or car loan and you file your case in Western Pennsylvania (Western District of Pennsylvania), then your Chapter 13 payments include your mortgage and car loans. Which means that if you fail to make your Chapter 13 payments, then you are falling behind on your mortgage and car loans!
The bottom line is that I’ve been a Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorney for nearly 20 years and the Pittsburgh Chapter 13 Trustee’s office has always focused on Chapter 13 payments at the Meetings of Creditors that it conducts. Essentially, if you haven’t yet made a payment by the time you have your hearing (Meeting of Creditors), then you have some explaining to do. Moreover, the Trustee’s Office will refuse to confirm your case if you haven’t made your first payment by the date of the Meeting of Creditors.
So, if you’re a wage-earner for a company, then the local rule is that you must submit to a wage attachment for your Chapter 13 payment. Thus, if you get paid every two weeks, and your payroll department will deduct $461.53 every two weeks, which amounts to $12,000 over a 12-month period.
Let me know if this information is helpful. Send in your comments.