It's not always possible to withdraw a bankruptcy petition if you change your mind after filing. While a Chapter 13 repayment plan features voluntary dismissal rights, you have no automatic right to dismiss a Chapter 7 liquidation petition. A judge may grant a request to dismiss a Chapter 7 if you can show just cause and have an alternate solution for paying your creditors.
Withdraw a Chapter 13 Petition
Because a Chapter 13 bankruptcy comes with a guaranteed right to dismiss, filing a Debtor’s Motion for Voluntary Dismissal of Chapter 13 Case is the only requirement. The three-page form is available from the trustee in charge of your case, the bankruptcy court clerk or the court’s website.
In addition to asking for factual information, the form asks why you want to withdraw the petition. However, the explanation you provide has no bearing on the outcome. Once it's complete, you can file the motion in person, by mail or electronically.
The law doesn't specify when a judge must sign the motion, but many will sign it within two to 10 days of receipt. The court clerk will then send a dismissal notice to the affected creditors.
Withdraw a Chapter 7 Petition
You can’t withdraw a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition without court approval once your case receives a case number. In addition, while the motion to dismiss is easy to complete and file, submitting the request is only a starting point.
Chapter 7, Section707, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires that the judge assigned to your case must conduct a fact-finding hearing and only dismiss the case for good cause. The judge will consider not only your reasons but also the wishes of the trustee and all judgment creditors, as all have the option to contest the motion. While simply changing your mind won’t show good cause to withdraw the case, a large debt incurred after you filed that is not dischargeable might show good cause if you intend to refile the bankruptcy petition to include the new debt.
Following the hearing, the judge will issue a final order either granting or denying the motion to dismiss.
If the judge denies your motion to dismiss, it may still be possible to withdraw a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition by converting it to a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
- United States Bankruptcy Court Central District of California: Dismiss or Convert a Bankruptcy Case -- Can the Debtor Voluntarily Do This?
- Bond & Botes P.C.: Can I Dismiss My Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if I Change My Mind After Filing?
- United States Courts. “Chapter 13 - Bankruptcy Basics.” Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.
- United States Courts. “Discharge in Bankruptcy - Bankruptcy Basics.” Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.
- United States Courts. “Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy Basics.” Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.
- United States Courts. “Instructions, Bankruptcy Forms for Individuals,” Pages 33-34. Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.
- United States House of Representatives. “11 USC 1325: Confirmation of Plan.” Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.
- United States House of Representatives. “11 USC 330: Compensation of Officers.” Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.
- American Bankruptcy Institute. "Success Rates in Chapter 13." Page 1. Accessed Aug. 19, 2020.
- United States House of Representatives. “11 USC 1322: Contents of Plan.” Accessed Aug. 18, 2020.
- Nolo.com "Steps in a Typical Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case." Accessed Aug. 19, 2020.
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court Eastern District of Michigan. "How to File a Motion for Relief From the Automatic Stay." Accessed Aug. 19, 2020.
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.