CanI re-open a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that was dischared 4 months ago?

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CanI re-open a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that was dischared 4 months ago?

I recently filed a Chapter 7 that was discharged on 12/31/10. At that time we chose to keep the house rather then surrender it, but now my girlfriend and I split up and we cannot afford to pay it. I wanted to know if it was possible to re-open and amend the bankruptcy so that we can surrender the house to the mortgage company? Also, we owe more than the house is worth and we would not be able to sell it in this market.

Asked on March 22, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can re-open a discharged Chapter 7. What you will need to do here is to re-open your bankruptcy case and amend your list of creditors to include the mortgagee.  You can go on-line and download any forms that you need.  Most bankruptcy courts have them available (just make sure you file in the court in which the discharge was granted). The court charges an amendment fee of $26 to add on debt to a case.  There is also a $260 re-open fee to re-open a case once it is closed.  

However, re-opening a case is not automatic.  This must all be done by motion to the court; the judge will rule on letting the case re-open.   Generally, such motions are liberally granted.  The courts have held that there will be no prejudice or harm to the omitted creditor in a no asset case because the creditor would not have received a distribution in any event.


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