The bankruptcy case of Chambers, Adelaide C. is another sad example of how the bankruptcy system can trip up debtors who try to navigate the system alone. In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case a debtor wanted to extend her “automatic stay” (the legal device that stops creditors from seizing assets); but was denied the extension by the bankruptcy court.
Why? She waited to the last minute to request an extension of the automatic stay. In order for an automatic stay to be extended, the debtor must make a request within a reasonable amount of time so that a notice and hearing can be completed before the automatic stay expires. This debtor waited until the day before her Chapter 13 bankruptcy automatic stay expired which did not leave enough time for the extension process to take place.
The court said:
“Had the debtor filed the petition earlier, a hearing on the debtor’s application could have been held and the application determined prior to the expiration of the 30 day period. The debtor’s delay in seeking this relief in effect could result in an extension of the auto¬matic stay not based on the merits but solely because of the debtor’s calculated timing. Moreover, hearing and deciding the application in this 24-hour period would have denied due process to all parties that would have been affected by the granting of the relief sought,”
If this debtor had worked with a professional bankruptcy attorney she would not have suffered this type of penalty. The bankruptcy attorney would have known the requirements of receiving an automatic stay extension and he/she would have acted accordingly and in a timely fashion. It is completely understandable that this would happen to a debtor filing on his/her own.
Filing for bankruptcy is an extremely stressful situation. Just going through the bankruptcy process can be exhausting but actually filing your own bankruptcy case and doing it successfully is rarely ever done.