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New task force to reform bankruptcy procedures

Along with people from all over the country, Memphis residents continue to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, the procedure for filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be quite complicated, but both the federal courts (that administer the country's bankruptcy system) and Congress frequently attempt to work on streamlining the system to make it more uniform across the nation.

The United States Supreme Court has created a task force to, among other things, reform Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing procedures. This task force is made up of lawyers, judges and law professors. The task force is also taking suggestions from outside parties. The committee will make suggestions to the United States Supreme Court as to how to improve the filing system, but the Court is not bound to implement the suggestions. The Court can also write its own rules without the input of the task force.

The Supreme Court is concerned that Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing procedures are not uniform from state to state. A lawyer on the task force has proposed implementing a form similar to that used in some bankruptcy courts. With respect to courts that use this form, the Chapter 13 debtor must list all creditors, and the trustee determines the order in which the creditors should be paid.

While the changes suggested by this task force could streamline the bankruptcy procedures across the nation, it will also result in many federal courts on the local level having to re-work their implementation of bankruptcy procedure.

While filing for bankruptcy can be a much needed way out of financial distress for some people, it can also be a very confusing process with many different forms. Even with a streamlines process, the forms must fill out in bankruptcy proceedings can be confusing; however, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help guide the debtor through this process.

Source: The Topeka Capital-Journal, "Topeka lawyer on bankruptcy reform panel," Megan Hart, Dec. 18, 2012

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