Will You Have to Go to Court if You File for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that is overseen by the court. If you’re wondering whether you’ll have to show up in court. What you see in the movies or on TV is often very different from what happens in real life. Let’s go through the process that you can expect during your bankruptcy.

Filing For Bankruptcy

The first time you may have to go to the courthouse is to file the bankruptcy papers. At this point, you will simply walk in and hand your forms to the court clerk. Your lawyer can likely file the forms electronically, which means you never have to set foot in the courthouse. The court processes your paperwork and appoints a trustee to your case. You will be notified about your next meeting.

The next time you come to the courthouse is for the Meeting of the Creditors or 341 Meeting. This is a short meeting with the trustee and any creditors who want to show up. Dress respectfully for the appearance. Don’t wear casual clothes, t-shirts, jeans, baseball caps or shorts. However, you also don’t need to dress up too much. Business casual is usually appropriate.

This meeting is when the trustee asks questions to make sure that you are telling the truth. You’ll want to address the trustee with respect. Don’t volunteer information. Answer truthfully, because you will be under oath. Don’t explain your answers unless asked. Most 341 meetings last about 10 minutes or less. The trustee wants to make sure that you aren’t committing fraud.

Will the creditors show up? It’s always possible that your creditors will send a lawyer to the 341 meeting. For one thing, it’s expensive to send lawyers to court. If you are filing bankruptcy, it’s likely that the creditor won’t collect anything against you. It’s just throwing good money and time away.

Generally, that’s the only time you need to show up in court. Sometimes, the trustee may request another court appearance, but most Chapter 7 bankruptcies are pretty simple. The more property you own and more money you make, the more complications you may have.

Don’t Be Intimidated By The Legal Process

The movies make the courtroom a scary place, but most bankruptcy courts are more administrative in nature than criminal courts. The legal process might sound daunting, but it’s usually a boring procedure that goes quick. You’ll probably spend more time waiting for your case to be called than you will before the trustee. Your your bankruptcy lawyer in Melbourne, FL can help you understand the bankruptcy process and make sure that you’re prepared.

Thanks to The Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood for their insight into bankruptcy and going to court if you file.