Do I Have To Appear In Bankruptcy Court If I File For Bankruptcy In Baltimore?
For many people who face a personal economic crisis, bankruptcy can be a way to reestablish financial health. One of the most common questions people ask is if they will have to appear in court. Let’s see what role the bankruptcy court plays when you file for bankruptcy in Baltimore.
Bankruptcy Court Function
Bankruptcy court can be thought of in many aspects like an office. It is a place where you can get the forms needed to file for bankruptcy. Once the forms are completed they should be submitted back to the bankruptcy court. However, none of this means that you must appear in court. The initial filing process only requires the submission of documents and forms. Bankruptcy court also serves as a place where bankruptcy hearings take place, but few cases require an actual hearing. An experienced attorney can make filing for bankruptcy much easier. Contact Sirody & Associates and get a free consultation.
Bankruptcy Creditors Meeting
After you file all the required forms and documents, the court appoints a trustee to oversee your case. At some point, typically a month or two after filing, the trustee will call a creditors meeting. This is sometimes called the 341 meeting. At this meeting, you will be questioned under oath. This is not an official court appearance, that is, there is no judge present. However, the meeting does take place in the courthouse in Baltimore.
This 341 meeting is a chance for creditors to appear and ask questions or make objections. If all the forms have been filed properly and there is no suspicion of fraud, the meeting is usually very brief. In many instances, the creditors do not even show up. For example, credit card company representatives rarely appear at the 341 meeting. In any case, being accompanied by a trusted lawyer helps make sure you are represented at the meeting under the full protection of the law.
In some cases your attorney might have to appear in court to address any motions or objections associated with your case – for example, objections raised in the creditors meeting. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debt payment plan is set up for you which can last 3-5 years. During this time, issues with creditors might arise that require a court appearance. You may or may not be required to appear in court in these circumstances.
In very rare situations, a creditor can make a challenge in the form of a lawsuit. Even in this situation, most cases are settled out of court. Only in very few instances does the case actually go to a bankruptcy court trial.
The bankruptcy process includes at least one meeting that you must attend. In most cases, this meeting is very brief. Having to appear in court for bankruptcy proceedings is uncommon, and bankruptcy court trials are very rare. Good legal counsel helps make sure the process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Contact Sirody & Associates for a FREE Consultation and advice from lawyers that have practiced bankruptcy law for over 20 years. Let our attorneys work to get you back on your feet.