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Will I Have To Go To Court?

A court setting is formal and intimidating to people who do not regularly go to court or appear before a Judge. Bankruptcy Court is a federal court, making it all the scarier to people. This is especially true when you are already dealing with the overwhelming instance of financial uncertainty. When you file for bankruptcy, you will be required to go to Bankruptcy Court and have your case presented to the bankruptcy trustee. This is true no matter which chapter of relief you seek. That said, the Court appearance is typically completed quickly and you go back to your normal routine before you know it.  

The appearance you make in Bankruptcy Court is called the 341 meeting. This meeting is pretty casual and the Judge assigned to your case does not even appear. The meeting is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee and is intended to give you general information regarding bankruptcy filing. Typical topics covered at a 341 meeting are:             

  • The ability to refile bankruptcy in the future
  • The consequence filing for bankruptcy has on your credit score
  • The purpose of the bankruptcy discharge
  • The effect of entering into a reaffirmation agreement           

Your attorney will prepare you for the hearing by advising you of what goes on and what to expect. The date you show up at the hearing, you will be required to bring proof of identification with you and any other documents requested by the Bankruptcy Trustee. These documents include proof of income and employment. You will then be asked a short series of questions to establish the specifics of your case. You will be questioned on:  

  • Residential requirements: To file for bankruptcy, you must reside in the district in which you file for at least the six months prior to the case being filed.
  • How debt was incurred: You will be asked to state whether any of the debt you incurred was undertaken with the intent to file bankruptcy rather than to repay the debt.
  • Accuracy: You will be asked if the information contained in your filing is true, accurate and complete. You will also be asked if you have reviewed the documents prior to the attorney filing the case and if you provided all the information to your attorney that was needed to prepare your filing. 

Also present at the 341 hearing are your creditors. While not all creditors will appear, the ones who choose to do so are allowed to ask you questions. Normally, the questions asked involve your intent regarding that specific creditor’s debt, and the creditor will want to know if you are going to reaffirm the debt in question. In the case of a vehicle, the creditor may also request information about insurance coverage for the car. Depending on your intentions, it is appropriate to answer the creditor regarding the debt you owe them. Your attorney will give you guidance on this issue and practice with you, so you are at ease.  

Because most people don’t go to court every day, the 341 meeting can be worrisome. With a skilled attorney at your side, you increase the change of your meeting occuring without incident. The Law Office of David A. Fernandez, PC is experienced in debt relief and is ready to handle your bankruptcy matter with confidence.

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