What is Bankruptcy Court?

Bankruptcy Court: The Basics

In bankruptcy court, you meet with a bankruptcy trustee so he or she can confirm your petition and ask any relevant questions about your assets and debts. This meeting doesn’t take place in an adversarial setting and may not even be in a typical courtroom (hopefully this will ease some of your stress in facing this unfamiliar event). These meetings are commonly referred to as a “meeting of creditors” or a “341 meeting”. Your attendance is mandatory at the meeting of creditors. If you do not attend, your case may be dismissed.

The Hearing

After passing through security, you arrive in the hearing room along with other bankruptcy petitioners who also have bankruptcy court cases. Depending on the number of individuals on the schedule, you may have to wait an hour or two (that doesn’t mean you should risk being late because your case could be called first). When your turn arrives, the hearing may last only a matter of minutes.

How to Prepare for Bankruptcy Court

There are several ways you can prepare for a meeting of creditors:

Helpful Tips about Bankruptcy Court

The title “meeting of creditors” can be slightly misleading when it comes to bankruptcy court, as creditors rarely appear at this hearing (at least for average consumer-bankruptcy cases). However, a creditor may appear at your hearing if it has reason to dispute your right to discharge its debt. If a creditor shows up at your bankruptcy court hearing, the creditor’s representative may sit at the table with you, the bank trustee, and your bankruptcy lawyer.

Like any other court hearing, you will be sworn in and promise to tell the truth throughout your bankruptcy court hearing. Once your identity is confirmed, the bank trustee will ask you relevant questions about your assets and debts. Relax, answer the questions honestly, and follow the instructions from your bankruptcy lawyer. While it may be an unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation, when you have a bankruptcy attorney by your side, the bankruptcy court usually goes smoothly and quickly.