How Many Hearings in a Bankruptcy Must You Attend and Who Does the Talking?

Are you thinking about filing for bankruptcy protection? If you are, two questions you may be asking is, “How many hearings are there in a bankruptcy you must attend and who does the talking?”

The answer to the questions depend on which type of bankruptcy you file, whether or not you have hired a lawyer to represent you, and where you live. Federal laws govern most bankruptcy procedures, but the states supplement the federal laws to match its citizen’s procedural needs.

There are two types of bankruptcies: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, commonly called liquidation of your assets, is normally the simplest and quickest form of bankruptcy for an individual. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, commonly called a wage earner’s plan, is the second bankruptcy available. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts over three or five years.

After filing a bankruptcy petition, all filers are required to attend a hearing between the creditors and the filer, called The First Creditor Meeting or 341 Meeting. If you miss this meeting, the court may decide to reschedule the meeting, to dismiss your bankruptcy case, or to charge you with contempt of court. Bankruptcy law requires you to attend the hearing if you want to have a successful bankruptcy, and you can attend with or without a lawyer. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer might be required to attend the meeting also, depending on where the bankruptcy case was filed.

The bankruptcy trustee will do most of the talking during a 341 meeting, and he or she might ask you direct questions that mostly can be answered with a yes or no response. You will be sworn and it is possible your answers to the questions might be consider perjury if you intentionally lie.

If you file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you might also be required to attend the confirmation hearing which is scheduled for 30 days after the First Creditor Meeting. At the confirmation meeting the Bankruptcy Judge may review and approve your plan of reorganization. As a general rule, you will not have to attend the confirmation hearing unless you have to provide testimony about the value of an asset or the amount owed on a particular claim.

Your bankruptcy lawyer should be able to tell you in advance whether you will have to appear before the Bankruptcy Judge. The Judge will do most of the talking during the hearing, and like the 341 meeting, you will be sworn in if you have to testify. Your lawyer may attend the confirmation hearing with you, and of course he or she will be allowed to participate in any court proceeding, if necessary.

There are various other times you may be required to attend a hearing before the court, depending on the complexity of your bankruptcy. Your creditors can file petitions questioning the proceedings at almost any time. These petitions can force a hearing which you may want or may be required to attend.

Either a creditor or trustee may appeal to the bankruptcy court for a hearing by filing an abuse petition. This type of petition is an accusation there has been some unintentional or intentional abuse of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy law. When these occur, you may be required to attend the hearing. At an abuse hearing, both parties will be required to present their sides before the bankruptcy judge. A lawyer should representing you at these hearings.

In Chapter 13 cases, you may have to appear at a hearing before the judge if you have to modify your plan or if your case comes up for dismissal because you have not made payments.

In any specific case, there could be an indefinite number of hearings you might have to attend in a bankruptcy case, depending on the complexity of your financial situation. Bankruptcy laws can be complicated. Contact a bankruptcy lawyer if you have any questions.

If you need relief from the stress of debt and you live in or around the metropolitan area of Boston, Massachusetts, contact us at .We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area who will answer your bankruptcy questions.

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