What happen if you omit to file Official Form 23?

There is a significant change in bankruptcy cases filed after October 2005 which states that individuals must, after filing their case, take a Financial Management Course and file Official Form 23 along with the certificate of completion to receive a discharge in any bankruptcy case. The financial management (sometimes also referred to as the debt management) course is different from the pre-filing credit counseling course which must be filed along with the initial bankruptcy petition. These courses must be taken from an institution approved by the Office of the United States Trustee. Most of the debtors and that includes some of the top most production law mills in Las Vegas forgets to file, and resulting in the case being dismissed.

Also, many debtors who file bankruptcy cases without the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney eventually receive a shocking notice in the mail which states: “Case closed without discharge. Debtor has not filed a Financial Management Course Certificate proving compliance with the required instructional course requirement for discharge.” The debtors had done everything else required of them except for taking the required financial management course and filing the required Form 23. All that time and work, and no discharge? However, no need to become despondent. If you had filed chapter 7 by yourself, probably you did not realize how important is this. Most of the petition preparer does not even know the existence of such form. That is the sole reason, I always caution the “do it yourself” people to hire an attorney. It is money well spent.

YOU CAN FIX THIS: IT’S NOT TOO LATE and you can file Petition to Reopen the case and request for discharge.

Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. 350, and Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure 5010 you can file a motion to reopen your case and, if granted, take and file the required financial management course certificate. The best way to accomplish this is to hire a bankruptcy attorney for this purpose to make sure the facts of your case are presented properly and maximize your chances to have the Motion granted and to get your discharge entered. All you need is to repay the filing fee one more time. Judge do not waive this refiling fee.

There is a court mandated filing fee for the Motion to Reopen for the purpose of filing official form 23 (presently $260) and attorney’s fees vary, but this is not the time for penny saving. You already had hurt yourself and possibly more to come in this filing. Also, you need to get a court hearing. Just filing itself would not be enough. You need to present the case, and of course finish the debt counseling class and fill out form 23. It is important and there cannot be any discharge without this filing.


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