Can I Take a Trip During Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

by Keith Evans ; Updated July 27, 2017
Debtors can take a trip or even move while under bankruptcy protection.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases place a number of restrictions on debtors, and restrictions often range from mandatory periodic payments to appearances in court and even financial management courses. Despite these requirements, though, bankruptcy attorneys note that Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers may travel and even move while still under bankruptcy protection.

Restrictions

During a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the debtor must typically meet several requirements. According to the official website for the U.S. Courts, debtors going through a Chapter 13 case must make periodic payments into the bankruptcy plan. Debtors cannot take on any new debt without the court’s approval, though, and debtors must also obtain the court’s approval before buying, refinancing or selling real estate. In addition, debtors who own businesses may not incorporate that business if the court considers it an asset of the estate, as incorporation makes the business a separate legal entity that no longer belongs to the debtor. Bankruptcy experts at Moran Law note that debtors may freely travel and even move during a Chapter 13 case.

Court Appearances

Though debtors may travel or move during a Chapter 13 case, some debtors must appear in bankruptcy court as the case progresses. In the early stages of the bankruptcy case, the debtor must file certain paperwork with the court or with an attorney, and the debtor must typically remain available to discuss these papers, according to the U.S. Courts. The court may also require the debtor to appear at a meeting of creditors; during this meeting, creditors may dispute the debtor’s filing, request more money or require the debtor to answer questions related to financial issues. The U.S. Courts notes that the meeting of creditors must take place within 60 days of the debtor’s bankruptcy filing, though the meeting typically takes place 20 to 50 days after filing. The court trustee also holds a confirmation hearing 45 days after filing, and the trustee may require the debtor to attend this meeting.

Discharge

As the debtor progresses through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the court usually requires completion of a personal financial management course. The financial website Smart Money notes that debtors usually complete this course in person, but traveling debtors may complete the course online or even over the telephone. The court requires that the debtor complete this course before reaching the end of the repayment plan, though, and the debtor must file a certificate of completion with the court.

After Bankruptcy

Travel can help Chapter 13 bankruptcy filers rebuild credit after the court discharges the case. Debtors exiting a Chapter 13 case may receive numerous credit card offers, according to a 2010 article on MSN Money Central, and debtors can take advantage of these offers to obtain credit cards for use in booking tickets online, reserving hotel rooms or securing rental cars. As long as the debtor makes timely payments on the credit card accounts and the issuer reports payments to major credit bureaus, according to MSN, the debtor can quickly improve his credit score after completing bankruptcy.

About the Author

Keith Evans has been writing professionally since 1994 and now works from his office outside of Orlando. He has written for various print and online publications and wrote the book, "Appearances: The Art of Class." Evans holds a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication from Rollins College and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration in strategic leadership from Andrew Jackson University.

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