Bankr. E.D.N.C.: In re Meek- Hardship Discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 1328


The Male Debtor, who was the sole provider for the family, secured new employment in Colorado, and soon thereafter, the debtors and their children relocated accordingly. Subsequently, the Debtors sought a hardship discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 1328(b).

The Bankruptcy Court held that § 1328(b)(1) requires that the debtors’ inability to continue making plan payments must due to circumstances “beyond the debtors’ control.” The Debtor’s decision to relocate, particularly with increased income and job security, were not circumstances that justified a hardship discharge.


While there are some reasons for seeking a hardship discharge, such as where a junior mortgage was stripped off, it would usually seem that conversion to Chapter 7 seems a far better option, as the “bad faith” or “abuse” standards of U.S.C. §§ 707(a) or (b)(3) are more favorable for a Debtor that the “circumstances beyond the debtors’ control” requirement of § 1328(b).

For a copy of the opinion, please see:

Meek- Hardship Discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 1328.pdf


1. Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Washington University, 1993. 2. Juris Doctor degree from George Washington University, 1996. Admissions to Practice of Law: North Carolina Bar, 1996. Federal District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of North Carolina. Specialty Certification: North Carolina State Bar: Certified as a Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy. Areas of Practice: Practice limited to consumer and business debtor bankruptcy law, 1998 to present. Memberships: National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers (NCATL). North Carolina Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section. Lectures prepared and presented: North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers seminar on bankruptcy; Topic: Counseling the Consumer Debtor Prior to Court - C.Y.A. Forms to Help 'Gird They Loins'; 2001. Middle District Bankruptcy Seminar; Topic: Preparing Chapter 13 Plans; 2002. NACBA National Convention; Topic: Efficient Office Practices; 2003. NACBA National Convention; Topic: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Debates; 2004. Middle District Bankruptcy Seminar; Topic: Chapter 7 & 13 Hot Issues; 2004. Positions held: NACBA National Convention; Convention Chair; 2008. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator: Topic: Basic Bankruptcy Issues; 2008. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator; Topic: Chapter 13-Disposable Income and Other Issues; 2007. NACBA National Convention; Panel Moderator; Topic: Representing Members of the Military and Their Families; 2007. NACBA, Member of National Board of Directors, 2006 to present. NCATL, Chair of the Bankruptcy Section, 2003 to 2007. NACBA, Chair of the North Carolina Section, 2003 to 2007. NC Bar Association, Bankruptcy Section, Bankruptcy Council Member, 2004 to present.

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