Will I be required to attend a court hearing?

Question

Will I be required to attend a court hearing?

Answer

Anyone filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 will have to attend a Section 341 hearing (also called "the meeting of creditors"). This hearing isn't in front of a judge and depending on the county in which you file your case, the hearing may not even be in a court room. At the hearing, you and your attorney appear in front of the trustee. The trustee is the attorney hired by the court to review your petition. The hearing typically lasts less than 5 mintues, which is enough time for the trustee to swear the filer under oath and ask them questions about his/ her petition. The petition is the document filed with the court to begin the bankruptcy case.The meeting is often called the meeting of creditors because each of the creditors can attend and ask questions of the filer - this is rare.

There are 4 things you must bring to the meeting of creditors:

1) Your drivers license or state ID;

2) Your Social Security Card (if you do not have your SS card, acceptable alternatives include: your original W2 from the proceeding tax year or a signed verification of SSN from the SS Administration office)

3) Your most recent paystub from each employer; and

4) A bank statement from each bank account that has your name on it (including custodial savings accounts for kids) that shows what your balance was on the date of filing your case. (Note: the trustee will not accept the bank statement if it shows the balance as of the date of the meeting).

There is a possibility for other court hearings should your bankruptcy involve litigation or objections. However, the majority of cases require the attendance of only the 341 hearing.