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§ Sec. 707. Dismissal of a case or conversion to a case under chapter 11 or 13  

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(a) Dismissal Only for Cause

(b) Abuse Dismissal  +

(1) General rule

(2)(A)(i) Presumption of abuse

(ii)(I) Debtor's monthly expenses

(II) Support of elderly, ill or disabled family members

(III) Chapter 13 administrative expenses

(IV) Education expenses for dependent children

(V) Housing and utilities in excess of IRS allowance

(iii) Secured debt expenses

(I) Amounts contractually due to secured creditors

(II) Payments to secured creditors in ch. 13 cases

(iv) Priority debt expenses

(B)(i) Special circumstances - generally

(ii) Requirements for establishing special circumstances

(iii) Debtor oath re: accuracy of information provided

(iv) Disposable income threshold required to rebut abuse presumption

(C) Statement of debtor's current monthly income

(D) Disabled veteran exception to means testing

(3) Additional factors for determining abuse

(A) Bad faith

(B) Totality of the circumstances

(4) Attorney liability for fees and costs in 707(b) motions

(A) Standard for establishing liability

(B) Penalty if liability established

(C) Signature of attorney as certification of investigation

(D) Signature of attorney as certification re: knowledge of falsity schedules

(5) Creditor liability for fees & costs in denied 707(b) motions

(A) General rule

(B) Small business exception

(C) Definition of small business

(6) Safe harbor from all 707(b) motions for under median income debtors (only judge and U.S. Trustee may file)

(7) Safe harbor from 707(b)(2) presumed abuse motions for under median income debtors (no person may file)

(A) General rule

(B) CMI calculation in non-joint cases filed by married individuals separated from spouse

(c) Dismissal on motion by victim of a crimes involving violence or drug trafficking

(1) Definitions

(A) Crime of violence

(B) Drug trafficking crime

(2) General rule: standards for dismissal

(3) Exception if case is necessary to satisfy domestic support obligation    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


(a) The court may dismiss a case under this chapter only after notice and a hearing and only for cause, including—

(1) unreasonable delay by the debtor that is prejudicial to creditors;

(2) nonpayment of any fees or charges required under chapter 123 of title 28; and

(3) failure of the debtor in a voluntary case to file, within fifteen days or such additional time as the court may allow after the filing of the petition commencing such case, the information required by paragraph (1) of section 521(a), but only on a motion by the United States Trustee.

 


(b)(1) After notice and a hearing, the court, on its own motion or on a motion by the United States Trustee, but not at the request or suggestion of Trustee (or bankruptcy administrator, if any), or any party in interest, may dismiss a case filed by an individual debtor under this chapter whose debts are primarily consumer debts, or, with the debtor's consent, convert such a case to a case under chapter 11 or 13 of this title, if it finds that the granting of relief would be an substantial abuse of the provisions of this chapter. There shall be a presumption in favor of granting the relief requested by the debtor.   In making a determination whether to dismiss a case under this section, the court may not take into consideration whether a debtor has made, or continues to make, charitable contributions (that meet the definition of "charitable contribution" under section 548(d)(3)) to any qualified religious or charitable entity or organization (as that term is defined in section 548(d)(4)).

 


(2)(A)(i) In considering under paragraph (1) whether the granting of relief would be an abuse of the provisions of this chapter, the court shall presume abuse exists if the debtor's current monthly income reduced by the amounts determined under clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv), and multiplied by 60 is not less than the lesser of—

(I) 25 percent of the debtor's nonpriority unsecured claims in the case, or $7,475, whichever is greater; or

(II) $11,725.

 

(ii)(I) The debtor's monthly expenses shall be the debtor's applicable monthly expense amounts specified under the National Standards and Local Standards, and the debtor's actual monthly expenses for the categories specified as Other Necessary Expenses issued by the Internal Revenue Service for the area in which the debtor resides, as in effect on the date of the entry of the order for relief, for the debtor, the dependents of the debtor, and the spouse of the debtor in a joint case, if the spouse is not otherwise a dependent. Such expenses shall include reasonably necessary health insurance, disability insurance, and health savings account expenses for the debtor, the spouse of the debtor, or the dependents of the debtor. Notwithstanding any other provision of this clause, the monthly expenses of the debtor shall not include any payments for debts. In addition, the debtor's monthly expenses shall include the debtor's reasonably necessary expenses incurred to maintain the safety of the debtor and the family of the debtor from family violence as identified under section 3092 of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, or other applicable Federal law. The expenses included in the debtor's monthly expenses described in the preceding sentence shall be kept confidential by the court. In addition, if it is demonstrated that it is reasonable and necessary, the debtor's monthly expenses may also include an additional allowance for food and clothing of up to 5 percent of the food and clothing categories as specified by the National Standards issued by the Internal Revenue Service.

 

(II) In addition, the debtor's monthly expenses may include, if applicable, the continuation of actual expenses paid by the debtor's that are reasonable and necessary for care and support of an elderly, chronically ill, or disabled household member or member of the debtor's immediate family (including parents, grandparents, siblings, children and grandchildren of the debtor, the dependent of the debtor, and the spouse of the debtor in a joint case who is not a dependent) and who is unable to pay for such reasonable and necessary expenses.

 

(III) In addition, for a debtor eligible for chapter 13, the debtor's monthly expenses may include the actual administrative expenses of administering a chapter 13 plan for the district in which the debtor resides, up to an amount of 10 percent of the projected plan payments, as determined under schedules issued by the Executive Office for United States Trustees.

 

(IV) In addition, the debtor's monthly expenses may include the actual expenses for each dependent child under the age of 18 years up to $1,875 per year per child to attend a private or public elementary or secondary school, if the debtor provides documentation of such expenses and a detailed explanation of why such expenses are reasonable and necessary, and why such expenses are not already accounted for in the National Standards, Local Standards, or Other Necessary Expenses referred to in subclause (I).

 

(V) In addition, the debtor's monthly expenses may include an allowance for housing and utilities, in excess of the allowance specified by the Local Standards for housing and utilities issued by the Internal Revenue Service, based on the actual expenses for home energy costs if the debtor provides documentation of such actual expenses and demonstrates that such actual expenses are reasonable and necessary.

 

(iii) The debtor's average monthly payments on account of secured debts shall be calculated as the sum of—

 

(I) the total of all amounts scheduled as contractually due to secured creditors in each month of the 60 months following the date of the filing of the petition; and

 

(II) any additional payments to secured creditors necessary for the debtor, in filing a plan under chapter 13 of this title, to maintain possession of the debtor's primary residence, motor vehicle, or other property necessary for the support of the debtor and the debtor's dependents, that serves as collateral for secured debts;

divided by 60.

 

(iv) The debtor's expenses for payment of all priority claims (including priority child support and alimony claims) shall be calculated as the total amount of debts entitled to priority; divided by 60.

 

(B)(i) In any proceeding brought under this subsection, the presumption of abuse may only be rebutted by demonstrating special circumstances that justify additional expenses or adjustments of current monthly income for which there is no reasonable alternative.

 

(ii) In order to establish special circumstances, the debtor shall be required to itemize each additional expense or adjustment of income and provide—

(I) documentation for such expense or adjustment to income; and

(II) a detailed explanation of the special circumstances that make such expenses or adjustment to income necessary and reasonable.

 

(iii) The debtor shall attest under oath to the accuracy of any information provided to demonstrate that additional expenses or adjustments to income are required.

 

(iv) The presumption of abuse may only be rebutted if the additional expenses or adjustments to income referred to in clause (i) cause the product of the debtor's current monthly income reduced by the amounts determined under clauses (ii), (iii), and (iv) of subparagraph (A) when multiplied by 60 to be less than the lesser of—

(I) 25 percent of the debtor's nonpriority unsecured claims, or $7,475, whichever is greater; or

(II) $11,725.

 

(C) As part of the schedule of current income and expenditures required under section 521, the debtor shall include a statement of the debtor's current monthly income, and the calculations that determine whether a presumption arises under subparagraph (A)(i), that shows how each such amount is calculated.

 

(D) Subparagraphs (A) through (C) shall not apply, and the court may not dismiss or convert a case based on any form of means testing, if the debtor is a disabled veteran (as defined in section 3741(1) of title 38), and the indebtedness occurred primarily during a period during which he or she was—

(i) on active duty (as defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10); or

(ii) performing a homeland defense activity (as defined in section 901(1) of title 32).

 

(D) Subparagraphs (A) through (C) shall not apply, and the court may not dismiss or convert a case based on any form of means testing,

(i) if the debtor is a disabled veteran (as defined in section 3741(1) of title 38), and the indebtedness occurred primarily during a period during which he or she was—

(i)(I) on active duty (as defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10); or

(ii)(II) performing a homeland defense activity (as defined in section 901(1) of title 32); or

(ii) with respect to the debtor, while the debtor is—

(I) on, and during the 540-day period beginning immediately after the debtor is released from, a period of active duty (as defined in section 101(d)(1) of title 10) of not less than 90 days; or

(II) performing, and during the 540-day period beginning immediately after the debtor is no longer performing, a homeland defense activity (as defined in section 901(1) of title 32) performed for a period of not less than 90 days;

if after September 11, 2001, the debtor while a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces or a member of the National Guard, was called to such active duty or performed such homeland defense activity.

 


(3) In considering under paragraph (1) whether the granting of relief would be an abuse of the provisions of this chapter in a case in which the presumption in subparagraph (2)(A)(i) of such paragraph does not apply or has been rebutted, the court shall consider—

 

(A) whether the debtor filed the petition in bad faith; or

 

(B) the totality of the circumstances (including whether the debtor seeks to reject a personal services contract and the financial need for such rejection as sought by the debtor) of the debtor's financial situation demonstrates abuse.

 


(4)(A) The court, on its own initiative or on the motion of a party in interest, in accordance with the procedures described in rule 9011 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, may order the attorney for the debtor to reimburse the Trustee for all reasonable costs in prosecuting a motion filed under section 707(b), including reasonable attorneys’ fees, if—

(i) a Trustee files a motion for dismissal or conversion under this subsection; and

(ii) the court—

(I) grants that motion; and

(II) finds that the action of the counsel for the debtor in filing under this chapter violated rule 9011 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

 

(B) If the court finds that the attorney for the debtor violated rule 9011 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the court, on its own initiative or on the motion of a party in interest, in accordance with such procedures, may order—

(i) the assessment of an appropriate civil penalty against the attorney for the debtor; and

(ii) the payment of such civil penalty to the Trustee, the United States Trustee (or the bankruptcy administrator, if any).

 

(C) The signature of an attorney on a petition, pleading, or written motion shall constitute a certification that the attorney has—

(i) performed a reasonable investigation into the circumstances that gave rise to the petition, pleading or written motion; and

(ii) determined that the petition, pleading, or written motion—

(I) is well grounded in fact; and

(II) is warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law and does not constitute an abuse under paragraph (1).

 

(D) The signature of an attorney on the petition shall constitute a certification that the attorney has no knowledge after an inquiry that the information in the schedules filed with such petition is incorrect.

 


(5)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) and subject to paragraph (6), the court, on its own initiative or on the motion of a party in interest, in accordance with the procedures described in rule 9011 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, may award a debtor all reasonable costs (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) in contesting a motion filed by a party in interest (other than a Trustee or United States Trustee (or bankruptcy administrator, if any)) under this subsection if—

(i) the court does not grant the motion; and

(ii) the court finds that—

(I) the position of the party that brought the motion violated rule 9011 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure; or

(II) the attorney (if any) who filed the motion did not comply with the requirements of clauses (i) and (ii) of paragraph (4)(C), and the motion was made solely for the purpose of coercing a debtor into waiving a right guaranteed to the debtor under this title.

 

(B) A small business that has a claim of an aggregate amount less than $1,175 shall not be subject to subparagraph (A)(ii)(I).

 

(C) For purposes of this paragraph—

(i) the term “small business” means an unincorporated business, partnership, corporation, association or organization that—

(I) has fewer than 25 full-time employees as determined on the date on which the motion is filed; and

(II) is engaged in commercial or business activity; and

(ii) the number of employees of a wholly owned subsidiary of a corporation includes the employees of—

(I) a parent corporation; and

(II) any other subsidiary corporation of the parent corporation.

 


(6) Only the judge or United States Trustee (or bankruptcy administrator, if any) may file a motion under section 707(b), if the current monthly income of the debtor, or in a joint case, the debtor and the debtor's spouse, as of the date of the order for relief, when multiplied by 12, is equal to or less than—

(A) in the case of a debtor in a household of 1 person, the median family income of the applicable State for 1 earner;

(B) in the case of a debtor in a household of 2, 3, or 4 individuals, the highest median family income of the applicable State for a family of the same number or fewer individuals; or

(C) in the case of a debtor in a household exceeding 4 individuals, the highest median family income of the applicable State for a family of 4 or fewer individuals, plus $675 per month for each individual in excess of 4.

 


(7)(A) No judge, United States Trustee (or bankruptcy administrator, if any), Trustee, or other party in interest may file a motion under paragraph (2) if the current monthly income of the debtor and the debtor's spouse combined, as of the date of the order for relief when multiplied by 12, is equal to or less than—

(i) in the case of a debtor in a household of 1 person, the median family income of the applicable State for 1 earner;

(ii) in the case of a debtor in a household of 2, 3 or 4 individuals, the highest median family income of the applicable State for a family of the same number or fewer individuals; or

(iii) in the case of a debtor in a household exceeding 4 individuals, the highest median family income of the applicable State for a family of 4 or fewer individuals, plus $675 per month for each individual in excess of 4.

 

(B) In a case that is not a joint case, current monthly income of the debtor's spouse shall not be considered for purposes of subparagraph (A) if—

(i)(I) the debtor and the debtor's spouse are separated under applicable nonbankruptcy law; or

(II) the debtor and the debtor's spouse are living separate and apart, other than for the purpose of evading subparagraph (A); and

(ii) the debtor files a statement under penalty of perjury—

(I) specifying that the debtor meets the requirement of subclause (I) or (II) of clause (i); and

(II) disclosing the aggregate, or best estimate of the aggregate, amount of any cash or money payments received from the debtor's spouse attributed to the debtor's current monthly income.

 


(c)(1) In this subsection—

(A) the term “crime of violence” has the meaning given that term in section 16 of title 18; and

(B) the term “drug trafficking crime” has the meaning given that term in section 924(c)(2) of title 18.

 

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), after notice and a hearing, the court, on a motion by the victim of a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime, may when it is in the best interest of the victims dismiss a voluntary case filed by an individual debtor under this chapter if that individual was convicted of that crime.

 

(3) The court may not dismiss a case under paragraph (2) if the debtor establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the filing of a case under this chapter is necessary to satisfy a claim for a domestic support obligation.

 


(Pub. L. 95-598, Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2606; Pub. L. 98-353, title III, § 312, 475, July 10, 1984, 98 Stat. 355, 381; Pub. L. 99-554, title II, § 219, Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3100; Pub. L. 105-183, § 4(b), June 19, 1998, 112 Stat. 518; Pub. L. 109-8, Title I, § 102(a), (f), April 20, 2005, 119 Stat. 27, 33; Feb. 14, 2007, 72 Fed. Reg. 7082; Pub. L. 110-438, § 2, Oct. 20, 2008, 122 Stat. 5000; Feb. 25, 2010, 75 Fed. Reg. 8747; Pub. L. 111–320, title II, § 202(a), Dec. 20, 2010, 124 Stat. 3509; Pub. L. 111-327, § 2(a)(25), Dec. 22, 2010, 124 Stat. 3560; Feb. 21, 2013, 78 Fed. Reg. 12089.)

 

 

 

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Page Last Updated:  January 31, 2014