Do I Have To Go To Court If I File Bankruptcy?

03 Aug Do I Have To Go To Court If I File Bankruptcy?

Filing bankruptcy usually doesn’t require a court appearance in front of a judge.  It does, however, require the debtor to appear at a meeting in front of a trustee and be questioned about the paperwork filed in her case.  If you file as a married couple, both spouses will have to appear.  Your attorney gets to go too, so you’ll have someone to speak up for you if necessary.

Often, these hearings are held in the court house.  But there is almost never a judge present.  The trustee that is appointed will inquire about the filing, what you have included in your list of assets, and other things in the paperwork.  Creditors can also come to question you about your debts and your intentions regarding any money you owe them.  But it is rare to see many creditors actually attend the meeting, and rarer still to see anyone from a large national company like Capital One or Chase Bank.

Generally, the process, particularly in a chapter 7 case, is fairly quick and painless.  It’s not unusual for the trustee to do as many as 10 of these hearings in less than an hour.   All of your assets and debts were listed in the paperwork so there won’t be any surprises for the trustee.

Your attorney has probably been to hundreds of these hearings and will be able to tell you exactly what’s going to happen.  It’s usually an easy process and nothing to be frightened or nervous about.

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Douglas Jacobs is a California bankruptcy attorney and partner in the Chico law firm of Jacobs, Anderson, Potter & Chaplin. Since 1988, Mr. Jacobs has taught Constitutional law and Debtor-Creditor/Bankruptcy law at the Cal Northern School of Law. He has served as Dean of Students since 1994. He is a frequent lecturer on the subject of consumer bankruptcy law, and has spoken at both state and national levels.
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