Will I have to appear in Court if I File for Bankruptcy?

26 Sep Will I have to appear in Court if I File for Bankruptcy?

A potential client recently approached me with a concern that his bankruptcy filing would obligate him to appear in Court; it made him feel as though he would be subject to some form of public scrutiny;  that he would have to answer directly to a Judge as well as a cautary of “opposing” lawyers.  His worst fear was that it would be just like the criminal justice system and that he would be made to “feel like a criminal”. 

Provided that you are honest and candid with your lawyer, and have fully disclosed, with your lawyer’s guidance, all of your assets, claims, transfers and other property on your Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs, the bankruptcy process is nothing like what I have described above.  In most cases, you are only required to make one appearance.  This appearance is at a 341(a) Meeting of Creditors.  Appearing at the Meeting of Creditors is not the same as appearing in a formal Court proceeding.  It is less formal, although you obviously still need to answer all questions with honesty and candor since you are under oath.  A great description of what occurs at a 341(a) Meeting of Creditors appears here.

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