Do You Have to Go to Court When You File for Bankruptcy?

Appearing in front of a judge for a legal proceeding can be daunting and overwhelming. What you see in the movies is usually a dramatized portrayal of the legal system. When you file for bankruptcy, you will probably have to appear in court at a Meeting of Creditors, but this appearance is usually in front of the Trustee or court-appointed CPA who is over your case, not a judge. Your creditors may or may not be in attendance. It may take place in a meeting or conference room instead of the courtroom.

How to Prepare for the Meeting of Creditors

Although this meeting isn’t in a courtroom, you should take it seriously. You’ll want to dress conservatively, such as what you might wear to a funeral or an interview. You don’t need to wear a suit, but you shouldn’t dress in jeans or shorts. Wear a nice blouse or shirt, no t-shirts. Bring your photo ID, social security card, and any other documents your lawyer recommends.

What Happens at the Meeting of Creditors? 

You will likely wait for your case to be called. Many courts will give you a short information handout about bankruptcy. Read this form, because the Trustee may ask you if you understand the information. When your case is called, you will go to the front of the room to talk to the Trustee. You will be sworn in to tell the truth. You must tell the trustee the truth, or you could be penalized for lying. The Trustee may ask some questions about your bankruptcy to make sure that you’ve listed all your debts and assets and that you understand some key points.

This hearing probably won’t last more than 5 to 10 minutes, but it can depend on the complexity of your situation. Most Trustees have already gone through your paperwork before they meet with you. This is just an opportunity for the Trustee to verify your information and ask any follow-up questions. Your creditors may be given the opportunity to challenge the information, but many won’t even attend. If there are no issues that you need to resolve, you’ll be able to move forward with the bankruptcy.

Your bankruptcy lawyer in Manchester, CT, like from Chorches Bankruptcy Law, can go through the exact process of the bankruptcy court in your community. Your lawyer should attend the meeting with you to make sure things go smoothly. If you have other questions about bankruptcy, make an appointment to discuss your situation.