Many debtors will complete their bankruptcy and receive a discharge without ever stepping foot in a courtroom. By preparing all of your documents carefully and truthfully, you can avoid many problems that could require you to go to court.
Steps in a Bankruptcy Case
After you have determined that bankruptcy is the right choice for you and have spoken with a bankruptcy attorney, you will have to file your bankruptcy petition along with many other documents. Some of these filings include:
- A schedule of your assets and liabilities
- A schedule of your current income and expenses
- Statement of financial affairs
- List of creditors and the amount and nature of their claims
- A schedule of exempt property that cannot be liquidated by the trustee
By completing all of this paperwork correctly, you will reduce the chance that you will have to appear in court. If you submit inaccurate information or omit necessary information, there may be objections from either the trustee of the creditors that could require you to appear in bankruptcy court.
The Meeting of the Creditors
You will have to appear at the meeting of the creditors, but this meeting is done with the trustee, not a judge, and it is not done in a courtroom. It is common for none of your creditors to show up, although they can appear if they wish. You, your bankruptcy attorney, and the trustee may only end up meeting for a few minutes.
Most of the time, the trustee will just ask you a few questions about your filings to make sure that all the information is correct. The trustee is responsible for protecting your creditors and liquidating your property, but many Chapter 7 cases are no-asset cases, where all of the debtor’s property is safeguarded from liquidation by their bankruptcy exemptions.
Even when there is an objection from the creditor or a trustee, you may not have to appear in court. Your bankruptcy lawyer may be able to negotiate and resolve your issues informally.
Most debtors will not need to appear at any other hearings after the meeting of the creditors. You may receive your bankruptcy discharge within 90 days after the meeting of the creditors, and you can use the fresh start to take control of your financial situation again.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.