Meeting of Creditors Hearing Notice
Shortly after your bankruptcy is filed, you will receive in the mail a notice from the Court scheduling a hearing called a Meeting of Creditors. This notice will give you the date, time, and place of your hearing. You are required to attend this hearing. If your bankruptcy is a joint filing, both you and your spouse will need to attend. The hearing itself is usually set between four to six weeks after your case is filed. If you cannot attend the hearing for any reason, the court will automatically reschedule it one time. You should make every reasonable effort to attend the first setting because if you are unable to attend the second setting, the Court will move to dismiss your case. Attending the first setting helps keep your case on track.
This hearing is an administrative hearing as opposed to a courtroom type proceeding. It is conducted by a trustee in a conference room. Once your case is called up, this hearing usually only takes a few minutes. The trustee asks general questions like whether or not you listed all of your creditors and if your listed all the property you own.
Any of your creditors are allowed to show up to this hearing. However, creditors are not required to show up and usually they do not. In a typical case, no creditors show up and the parties involved are you, your attorney, and the trustee. Even if a creditor does show up, they cannot use this hearing as a forum to harass you. They can only ask questions reasonably related to their interest. For example, a financier of a car might attend and ask whether the car is insured or how many miles it current has.
The day you file your bankruptcy, a court order goes into effect called an automatic stay. This order directs your creditors to stop all collection efforts against you. They cannot call you, write you, sue you, garnish your paycheck, or have any contact with you at all. This order stays with you the entire time you are in bankruptcy. Once the bankruptcy is complete, you receive a discharge of your liability on the debts.
Financial Responsibility Class
Also, after you file, the court requires that you complete a class in financial responsibility. This can be done either by telephone or internet for a small fee. If you file Chapter 13, the trustees offer this class for free.
If you file Chapter 7, attending this one hearing and completing the class on financial responsibility is all you will have to do. In about four months after filing, you will receive in the mail what is called a Discharge of Debtor. This means your case has been completed and your debts have been permanently discharged. If you file a Chapter 13, you also have to attend this one hearing and complete the class on financial responsibility. In addition, you are required to make your plan payments for the length of the plan. Once the plan is complete, you will receive a Discharge of Debtor.
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