When you file for protection under the Bankruptcy Code you must attend at least one hearing, perhaps more, depending on various factors specific to your case. Certainly you are entitled to attend any and all hearings that are called for your case, although not all motions or hearings require the attendance of the debtor. Depending on the exact nature of your case, your attorney may be required to file a motion to extend the automatic stay in your case or perhaps a motion to void a lien as it interferes with a debtor’s right to an exemption. If a motion or other matter is contested, and requires findings of fact, you will most likely need to attend the hearing.
Approximately 30 days after your attorney files your bankruptcy petition and all its supporting documentation, you and your spouse, if you filed with your spouse, must appear before the trustee in your case for a creditor’s hearing, also known as a 341(a) hearing, named after the section of the law that requires such hearing.
CREDITOR’S HEARING OR 341(a) HEARING
If you filed for relief under chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code, the trustee is generally the standing chapter 13 trustee or a staff attorney for the standing chapter 13 trustee. If you filed for protection under chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code, you must appear before the chapter 7 trustee, who are private attorneys. In asset cases, the chapter seven trustee gets paid a certain percentage of the funds that they recover with most of the remainder going to the creditors. Chapter seven trustees generally know an asset case when they see it and, as such, it is in their interest to insure first that your bankruptcy petition and supporting documents all meet the proper legal requirements, that they are truthful and accurate, and there are not any mistakenly missed assets. While bankruptcy fraud is an extremely serious crime, it is also a rare crime. Just remember that honesty is the best policy and you must be completely honest with your attorney and the trustee. At the Chapter 13 hearing, the trustee gets paid a percentage of monies that they distribute to creditors. The 341(a) hearing with a chapter 13 trustee is only different insofar as they spend more time inquiring about your debt and income structure and what led you to file for bankruptcy.
If you filed for Chapter 13 protection there will be a second hearing, called the confirmation hearing. Debtors can appear at this, but generally an attorney’s appearance is all that is necessary. The main issue that is discussed at the confirmation hearing is the terms of the Chapter 13 plan. How much will the debtor be required to pay and for how long under the Court Order.
The attorneys of Long & Long, P.C. have extensive experience in representing debtors in bankruptcy and will always guide you throughout your case. You can rest assured that you will always receive the best representation and will properly prepare you for all hearings throughout the life of your case. Long & Long, P.C. can be reached at (303) 832-2655.