Do I Have To Go To Court?
The answer to this basic of questions is: It depends–on which type of bankruptcy case you choose to file.
If You File Chapter 7
If you file chapter 7, you are unlikely to have to appear in court unless a creditor files an adversary proceeding (complaint) against you for, among other things: Nondischargeability of debt under 11 U.S.C. §523(a) alleging that you committed fraud as most commonly described in §§523(a)(2), (a)(4) and (a)(6); or denial of discharge under 11 U.S.C. §727(a) alleging that you transferred, destroyed or concealed property before or after filing your case, refused during the case to obey a court order or committed other specified illegal acts identified in the statute.
In chapter 7, the normal procedure for most debtors is to attend a Meeting of Creditors scheduled, not in a court room but in a meeting room of some kind often near the Office of the United States Trustee (the federal bureaucracy that administers bankruptcy matters). This “Meeting” will introduce you to the chapter 7 trustee assigned to administer your case and give him an opportunity to ask you relevant questions about your filing documents. There will seldom be any creditors in attendance although all your creditors will receive notice of the Meeting and may attend if they choose to do so.
If You File Chapter 13
In chapter 13, you will be required to attend a Meeting of Creditors with a chapter 13 trustee and, generally, one court appearance is required during the hearing on confirmation of your plan of reorganization. However, if you are represented by an attorney, he or she may attend the confirmation hearing in your place. In chapter 11, you may be required to frequently attend court hearings depending upon the nature of your reorganization efforts and the issues that arise in your case.
In all cases in which a court appearance is required, generally in chapter 11, your attorney, if you are represented by one, will be expected to appear with you although at times, a judge may question you directly. Questioning, whether by a judge or a trustee, is seldom intended to embarrass or otherwise make you uncomfortable unless, of course, you are suspected of wrong doing.
About Hurlbett & Olmstead
Since 1994, we’ve helped thousands of people in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Paso Robles, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo regain financial peace in their lives. These people now experience a life free from the stress and worry that comes from watching unpaid bills mount, answering calls from arrogant debt collectors, receiving a lawsuit from a process server, finding an empty spot where a car has been repossessed, missing money from a garnished paycheck, or knowing that their house will soon be sold at foreclosure.
DISCLAIMER: The materials on this Website were prepared for informational purposes, only, and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship. Internet users and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send confidential information to us until you speak with one of our attorneys and obtain express authorization to do so.