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.
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.
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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The Harris Law Firm has over 30 years experience in helping Arkansans file both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Give yourself a fresh new start — call us at 501-372-6985 or set an appointment online. We offer free consultations. There is never a fee unless you decide to file.
We represent clients in most of Arkansas including Pulaski County, Jefferson County, Faulkner County, Garland County, Lonoke County, Hot Springs County, Saline County, Little Rock, North Little Rock, Hot Springs, Malvern, Benton, Bryant, Cabot, Conway, Pine Bluff, Searcy, Sherwood, Jacksonville, Russellville and Lonoke. See Arkansas Counties We Practice In for a full list. We are a debt relief agency. We help Arkansans file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. No information on this website or contact through this website should be interpreted as giving legal advise or creating an attorney-client relationship. Please read our Terms and Conditions page.