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In re: Zbigniew Bednarz

21 B 01817
Chapter 13 Trustee moved to dismiss Debtor’s bankruptcy case for failure to make payments.  Debtor responded with a motion to modify his chapter 13 plan, requesting a decrease in plan payments as well as a reduction in the plan term.  Although he was a below-median debtor, he had confirmed a 60-month plan in order to accommodate the claim filed by his mortgage lender, who had subsequently been granted relief from the stay.  The chapter 13 Trustee objected to Debtor’s motion to modify.  The parties did not request an evidentiary hearing.  HELD:  Motion to modify denied and motion to dismiss granted.  It is a plan proponent’s burden to prove that the statutory requirements for modification are satisfied.  When an objection is raised to the requested relief, the proponent must do more than upload bills to the court docket in order to show that the modification is proposed in good faith as required by 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(3) and is feasible as required by 11 U.S.C. § 1325(a)(6).   Debtor submitted utility bills and credit card payment coupons that did not support his amended Schedule J.  In light of the Trustee’s objection, the court could not take Debtor’s schedules at face value, and, without knowing whether Debtor’s expenses were accurate, the court could not determine whether the modification was proposed in good faith or whether it was feasible.  Debtor asserted that his Social Security income could not be counted toward his available income, but without any contribution of Social Security benefits, Debtor’s proposed modification was not feasible.  Debtor included a line item on Schedule J for mortgage/rent that appeared to be a monthly payment due to the lender for which relief from the stay had been granted.  Debtor presented no evidence that he was currently making those payments; in fact, the mortgage statement he submitted appeared to show that no payments had been made for six months.  For all of these reasons, the court found that Debtor had not met his burden of proof and his motion to modify would be denied.  Without modification, it was appropriate to grant the Trustee’s motion to dismiss for nonpayment.

Thursday, May 11, 2023