Will I Have to Go to Court When I File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

While most consumers are used to carrying debt of some kind (usually a mortgage and at least one car payment, to start), the US has continued to record historical highs for consumer and household debt; in fact, before the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic were felt (and rapidly so) recent financial news noted ‘eleven consecutive years’ of expansion. Accompanying this, however, was $14 trillion in debt and growing numbers of delinquencies—especially for millennials and younger generations.

If your debt load had already increased to the tipping point, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may have already been on your mind before the emergence of Coronavirus stay-at-home orders and lockdowns. As millions of individuals have lost their jobs or had hours cut significantly, finances have become dire for many. You may now be extremely worried, with no choice but to file for Chapter 7, assuming you are eligible.

In speaking with your bankruptcy attorney from the offices of H. Lehman Franklin, P.C., most likely you will have many questions about the bankruptcy process. While most inquiries begin with wondering how much property or assets you may have to give up (none, in many cases), along with how long the process will take, other anxieties may loom too—like wondering how much documentation you will have to produce, and what type of court appearance you will have to make.

You will be required to attend the 341 meeting of creditors (this may be held telephonically due to the coronavirus pandemic) but this most likely will be much less stressful than what you are imagining. Usually lasting no more than 10 minutes, the 341 meeting is led by the bankruptcy trustee in charge of your case who will verify your information after placing you under oath. Most likely, numerous other filers will be waiting also to go through this process, which includes allotting time to any of your creditors for showing up and asking questions regarding the debt you owe them. In many cases, creditors do not make an appearance, but they are given the opportunity to do so.

This is not a meeting you want to be late for or to miss without an extremely good excuse. If you are not familiar with the courthouse and parking, your attorney’s office should have detailed information to direct you. It is usually suggested that you dress nicely and be well-prepared—perhaps even driving by the area before your court date to make sure you know exactly where to go.  If the meeting is to be held telephonically, make sure you are aware of all the call-in details prior to your scheduled meeting time.

There could be minor delays beyond the 341 meeting if more documentation is required from the trustee, but after that, you should see your discharge received within around six months at the latest in most cases.

for, You probably have many questions about bankruptcy, from wondering how much you will have to sacrifice (very little in most cases), to whether you will have to go to court. Speak with a skilled bankruptcy attorney from the offices of H. Lehman Franklin, P.C. Call now to learn more at 912-764-9616, or contact us online.