In a recent case, the Trustee opposed the dismissal motion filed by the Debtor, noting that there appeared to be substantial undisclosed, non-exempt assets in his estate. The Debtor asserted that 1307(b) provided him an absolute right to dismiss prior to adjudication of the conversion motion. The Trustee argued that 1307(c) limited the Debtor’s right to dismiss. In re Jacobsen, 378 B.R. 805 (Bkrtcy. E.D. Tex. 2007).
Judge Rhoades noted a split of authority on this issue, with some courts holding that 1307(b) trumps subsection (c) “even where cause exits to convert the case under subsection (c).”
However, the Court found that both the language and policy of the Code require a different finding. If Congress had intended subsection (b) to prevail over subsection (c) it could have included language that the court could convert or dismiss a case “except” as provided in subsections (b) and (e).” Further, the Court found that its 105(a) powers support this reading of 1307. Mandating conversion, rather than dismissal, was in the best interest of the bankruptcy estate. Therefore, a conversion order was necessary to further the purpose of this substantive provision of the Bankruptcy Code.
Does a Motion To Dismiss trump a Motion to Convert – for more information about Bankruptcy and whether you have an option to dismiss your chapter 13 case when the trustee files a motion to convert the case to chapter 7 – contact Cynthia Remboldt, at the Remboldt Law Firm at 404-348-4081. FREE consultations can be scheduled by calling 404-348-4081. Evening and Weekend hours are available to meet with an attorney. If bankruptcy turns out to be the best way to move forward considering your alternatives, goals and financial challenges, payment plans are available if you need them.