If the court dismisses your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, it means that your case is over without you receiving a bankruptcy discharge. You remain responsible for all of your debts, and your creditors may resume efforts to collect money from you. While you can usually file a new Chapter 13 case after a dismissal, you can often simply reopen your dismissed case, depending on the circumstances involved. If your dismissal was for simple procedural reasons, a reopening is likely. However, if you defrauded the court, you may not even be able to file bankruptcy again, let alone reopen your dismissed case.
Determine the reason for your dismissal. The court does not have the power to dismiss your Chapter 13 bankruptcy unless you somehow fail to qualify or execute on your responsibilities. If the court dismisses your case, it will issue you a notice of dismissal with the reason for your dismissal.
Learn how to rectify your deficiencies. Many Chapter 13 dismissals are the result of incomplete paperwork. For example, if you did not complete the required post-filing financial management course, the court will dismiss your case even if you have complete all of your required creditor payments. If you are simply missing some paperwork, you can usually reopen your case by following court instructions and providing the necessary items.
File a petition with the court to reopen your case. Each bankruptcy district has its own local rules for how to reopen a case, and you must comply with all court instructions.
Pay the applicable filing fee. The fee to reopen a dismissed Chapter 13 case is $235 as of 2011.
File the necessary papers with the court. If the court dismissed your case because you could not make your monthly payments, then you cannot reopen your case, as you do not qualify for Chapter 13. For procedural dismissals, simply include the missing paperwork with your petition to reopen your case and your filing fee.
Await your discharge. If you made the necessary creditor payments and satisfied the paperwork deficiencies in your dismissed Chapter 13 case, the court should enter an order of discharge in short order. (see References 1,2)
If your case was dismissed due to nonpayment, you will probably qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy rather than Chapter 13. In Chapter 7, you do not have to pay your creditors a monthly sum, and your entire bankruptcy can end in a few months, instead of up to five years.