The Bankruptcy Code states that the first payment under a Chapter 13 plan must be paid to the trustee within thirty days after the date the case is filed. The trustee is responsible for the collection of these payments and in many districts they take this duty very seriously. Chapter 13 plan payments that have not been received by the trustee by the thirtieth day are considered late, which means that the debtor must mail the payment a few days early. Payments to some trustees must be mailed to out of state addresses which should be considered when determining when to mail the plan payment.
Some courts and trustees are very strict about the deadline for receiving the first plan payment. The Northern District of Texas has a local rule which states that if the first payment is late the trustee can file an NOI or Notice of Intent to Dismiss the Case. The NOI provides that the case will be dismissed if the payment is not received within seven days from the date of the NOI. An NOI does not require a hearing. The debtor isn’t given an opportunity to explain why the payment is late. The case is simply dismissed. Bankruptcy debtors who experience unusual circumstances that prevent payment of the first plan payment on time should contact their attorney or the trustee to make them aware of the problem and to ask that the case not be dismissed. A proactive debtor who gives the trustee the impression that they care about their bankruptcy case is less likely to have their case dismissed than a debtor who does not contact the trustee after paying their payment late.