THE DEBTOR MUST PROVE FEASIBILITY AND GOOD FAITH
A debtor must establish at least two important things to have a Plan confirmed by the Court. The debtor must provide the court some convincing evidence or proof that the plan is “feasible” and that the plan is proposed in “good faith.”
Feasibility and good faith are extremely important components of the confirmation (adjudication) of a Chapter 13 plan. For example: if the debtor does not have sufficient regular income in order to meet his or her own regular ordinary living expenses and to make the payments that are called for under the plan, there is a serious problem; that plan is not feasible unless it is to be funded from the sale of certain property in a reasonable way.
EVIDENCE OF REGULAR INCOME
There is no reason why the court should delay the creditors any longer from taking possession of collateral when the debtor has no ability to fund the plan that is being proposed. So courts will require solid evidence of the sources of income relied on in the plan.
The debtor is required to present the court with copies of pay stubs and other documents to establish current regular income for the 60 day period prior to the bankruptcy filing, along with copies of tax returns for the past 4 years. This is to prove that the debtor has regular income.
OTHER FUNDING SOURCES
Sometimes a debtor will propose funding the plan with sources of income that come from third parties–for example, the income of roommates, domestic life partners, other individuals or family members who perhaps live with the debtor and contribute to the expenses of the common household.
In these situations the court will usually require that the debtor present some sort of evidence, usually in the form of a declaration signed by the third party. This declaration must attest to the fact that the third party does intend to make the financial contributions that are called for in the plan and also that they have the ability to do so. To prove their ability to contribute, the third party will typically be required to present some evidence of current regular income so that the court will be certain that there is every reasonable prospect that the Plan payments being proposed are actually going to be paid by the debtor.
Another key requirement of every Chapter 13 plan is that the debtor is eligible for the relief available under Chapter 13. Section 109(e) of the Bankruptcy Code establishes the criteria for debtor eligibility.
Debtor eligibility under Chapter 13 is limited to individuals with regular income who have non contingent, liquidated, unsecured debts which total less than $360,475, and non contingent, liquidated, secured debt not exceeding $1,081,400. These dollar limits are those in effect on April 1, 2011 and are adjusted periodically to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index.
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