I’m nervous about going to court for my bankruptcy hearing. What are questions that the bankruptcy judge will ask me when I go to bankruptcy court?
I asked a bankruptcy lawyer friend your question and here is what she said.
It usually surprizes people to find out that they may go through an entire bankruptcy case without ever seeing the Judge.
Although practice differs between districts, in a typical chapter 7, most folks never see the Judge. In chapter 7, the one court appearance is your “341 Meeting of Creditors,” named for the Bankruptcy Code section that proscribes the meeting. In most cases, no creditors appear. Instead, you are questioned under oath by a Bankruptcy Trustee, who is a lawyer appointed to that position. The purpose of the Trustee’s questions are to be certain that you have properly disclosed all items you are required to disclose and that you have been honest in answering all of the questions in your bankruptcy petition. If anything was omitted from your petition or stated incorrectly, this is the time to be sure that you let the trustee know! Your lawyer’s job is to be sure you have properly disclosed and to be with you to assist at the 341 meeting. If any creditors do appear, the Trustee will let them ask you questions about the truthfulness of the information you have given in your filing, or about your intent to repay when you took a loan.
In a chapter 13, the 341 meeting process is similar but your case will last for several years. During that time, you may run into trouble and have to appear in court with your attorney for a motion filed by a creditor, your trustee, or even on your own behalf.
In any case, your attorney will prepare you for the court appearance with your Trustee and will not allow any objectionable questions to be asked of you. As long as you have honestly answered all the information asked of you, not held anything back, and checked your bankruptcy papers to insure that everything was included, you have nothing to worry about. Most of my clients who were nervous about their court appearance looked at me afterward and said “is that it?” Everyone is a lttle nervous, but there’s really no need to be.