When someone is in the process of filing for bankruptcy, he or she may wonder if court is going to be a part of that process. Do you have to go before a judge? Does a jury decide your fate? The following are some answers to those and other similar questions.
Do I Have to Go to Court?
In most bankruptcy cases, you will end up going to court at least once. If you’re physically filing the bankruptcy papers yourself, you’ll have to go into the court building to file them with the clerk. This isn’t going before a judge, just walking into and out of the court building. It’s also possible your lawyer will take on this task instead of you.
The next time you’ll go to the courthouse is for a 341-meeting, or “Meeting of the Creditors.” You’ll meet with a trustee who will ask you questions about your filing. If he or she feels you are being honest about your financial situation, you’ll be approved for discharge.
Who Attends the Meeting?
When you go to a 341-meeting, it will be you, the trustee and possibly your lawyer. In very rare cases, a lawyer representing one of your creditors will show up to testify against you, but these situations are typically not worth the time, money or effort of the creditor. There won’t be a judge presiding over the meeting, and you won’t have a jury there to listen to your story.
What Happens If Something Goes Wrong?
Most Chapter 7 filings are pretty simple and won’t have anything go wrong. If something does go wrong, it’s possible you’ll have to attend another meeting at the courthouse to work through those issues. If the trustee feels you are being dishonest or fraudulent, it’s possible criminal charges could be brought against you. This is why it’s so important to go over everything with your attorney before your meeting. If you do end up with charges brought against you, then you’d more than likely end up going before a judge for that.
Beginning the Bankruptcy Process
As you can see, filing for bankruptcy can be a simple process if you are straightforward about your situation and get everything filed on time. Whether you’re dealing with personal issues, self-employment issues or other problems, there is a way out. Contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Melbourne, FL today to learn more about your options and to find out what the bankruptcy process will look like for you.
Thanks to the Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie & Wood for their insight into bankruptcy and going to court when filing.