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Do I Have to Go To Court If I File for Bankruptcy?

Norma Duenas

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Articles | Learn About Chapter 13

Do I Have to Go To Court If I File for Bankruptcy?When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy you are required to attend a hearing called a 341 meeting of creditors. The hearing does not happen in a courtroom before a judge, but in most cases it is held in a large room before a trustee assigned to your case. A trustee is not a judge, but a court appointed individual that oversees the case and the administration of any assets in your case. If you have hired an attorney, your attorney will generally appear with you at the 341 meeting of creditors.

When Will Your Meeting Be Scheduled For?

Your 341 meeting of creditors will be scheduled 21 to 50 days after your case has been filed. It is important that you attend this hearing or your case may be dismissed or continued. You may be excused from attending the meeting of creditors in limited circumstances.

Where Is the Meeting Held?

The 341 hearing is generally held at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, or a place designated be the U.S. Trustee. Generally approximately 10-15 other people who have filed for bankruptcy are also scheduled at the same time as your hearing. The following are the locations where the 341 hearings are held if you have filed your bankruptcy in Orange County, Los Angeles or Riverside:

  • Riverside Location- 3801 University Ave., Riverside, CA 92501
  • Orange County Location- 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701
  • Los Angeles Location-725 South Figueroa Street., Los Angeles, CA 90017

What Should You Bring to the Hearing?

You need to bring your social security and identification to the hearing. If you fail to bring these items the trustee may need to reschedule your hearing for another date. Depending on the trustee, he may not review your information if you do not have proof of social security and identification.

What Happens At the Hearing?

At the hearing time you will be called by the trustee and your identification will be verified using your social security and identification. The trustee will administer an oath prior to asking your questions about the documents that you have filed in your bankruptcy case. The trustee will ask you questions that relate to your assets and the financial information that was provided in your bankruptcy. Some of the commonly asked questions include:

  1. Did you review the schedules and documents before signing them?
  2. Is everything true and correct in the documents?
  3. Is there any inaccuracies that you want to bring to my attention?
  4. Did you list all of your assets?
  5. Did you list all of your creditors?

At the meeting of creditors the responses to the questions asked by the trustee are recorded. The sound recording of the meeting is kept in case any party would like to review it in the future.

If the trustee does not have any further questions about the information or answers your provided at the hearing, he will conclude the meeting. If the trustee needs further information provided, he/she may continue the hearing to another date in order to receive further information or ask further questions.

If you are planning to file for bankruptcy and are worried about attending the 341 meeting of creditors, talk to a competent bankruptcy attorney about what to expect at the hearing. Having the assistance of an experienced attorney during your court date will help ensure that you feel comfortable and less stressed about your hearing.

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