WHAT TO EXPECT IN COURT
 
What Should You Expect In Court.
  • Who Is the Trustee and What is His Job
  • What Happens Next?
  • What Happens at My Hearing?
  • When Do I Get My Discharge Order?
  • What Should I Bring?
  • What If I Miss My Hearing?
  • Who Will Be At My Hearing?
  • Why Is My Discharge Order Important?

Who Is the Trustee and What is Their Job?
In a Chapter 7 case, the Trustee is the court appointed official who has two primary roles. First, he is to verify that you are eligible for Chapter 7 and that the schedules you signed under oath and filed with the court are accurate.

Second, if the trustee locates any assets that are not protected by state or federal exemptions, he is to sell them and distribute the proceeds of that sale to your creditors. In most cases, there are no assets to liquidate, so do not be concerned. If the trustee does identify assets, we probably have already advised you about this possibility.

In a Chapter 13 case, the trustee is the court appointed official who is responsible for reviewing your proposed repayment plan, making recommendations to the court regarding the feasibility of that plan, and distributing the payments to your creditors under the terms of the plan.

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What Happens Next?
In a Chapter 7 case, at the conclusion of your hearing, there is very little else you need to do. Occasionally, the bankruptcy trustee will request additional information from you. You are obligated to comply promptly and furnish any requested materials.

Prior to receiving your discharge order, you may receive correspondence from our office proposing to reaffirm certain secured items, like your house, car or household goods. Not every lender requires a reaffirmation agreement, but it is very important that you review all correspondence immediately, as once your case has been completed, you may forego your rights to reaffirm certain debts.

Approximately 60 - 90 days after your hearing, you will receive a discharge order from the court. The discharge order is the official court order relieving you of your obligation to pay your bills.

In a Chapter 13 case, the discharge order is issued upon your successful completion of the repayment plan. Again, it is very important to save this document, as you will need to it to re-establish credit in the future.

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What Happens at My Hearing?
In a Chapter 7 case, the trustee will ask you questions to verify your eligibility for Chapter 7 relief and to determine that you have fully disclosed all of your assets and liabilities.

Some of the common questions are:

Do you own a home?
Have you transferred any property?
Do you have the right to sue any one for bodily injury?
Have you listed all of your debts and assets?
Are you expecting to inherit money shortly?

The hearing only lasts about five minutes and is relatively informal. Most of our clients are relieved after they see how smoothly the hearing goes.

In a Chapter 13 case, the hearing lasts about 10 minutes. In addition to the questions asked in most Chapter 7 cases, the trustee will also ask questions to verify that you can afford your Chapter 13 payment and that you are making your best efforts to repay your creditors through your Chapter 13 payment plan.

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When Do I Get My Discharge Order?
Approximately 60 - 90 days after your hearing, you will receive a discharge order from the court. The discharge order is the official court order relieving you of your obligation to pay your bills.

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What Should I Bring?
Please show up at least 15 minutes prior to your hearing time to give the attorney time to prepare you and for you to ask any remaining questions. You should bring a state issued photo I.D., your social security card (or some other item verifying your social security number) and the notice sent to you by the court. In some of the districts where we practice, the court requires you to bring additional items.

Please refer to the written materials we provided to you when you hired us to find out what other items you must bring.

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What If I Miss My Hearing?
As our literature indicates, you MUST attend your hearing. Failure to appear at even one hearing, technically, is grounds for dismissal of your case. In most cases, we can attempt to obtain one continuance. We have to attend the hearing regardless of whether or not you appear. As our retainer agreement and literature states, we charge $50.00 to attend any additional hearings. Please mark your calendar to avoid any unnecessary charges.

If you have not received your hearing notice within three weeks after we told you the case would be filed, it is your responsibility to call our office and get your hearing date. If you cannot avoid missing your hearing, please advise us in advance.

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Who Will Be At My Hearing?
The bankruptcy trustee (not a judge) will conduct the hearing, but an attorney from our office will be sitting right beside you at all times. In Chapter 7 cases, your creditors usually do not appear.

In Chapter 13 cases, sometimes creditors do appear, but any questions they ask are for informational purposes and are non-adversarial in nature.

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Why Is My Discharge Order Important?
First, the discharge order is the official document relieving you of your pre-bankruptcy obligations. This is proof of your "fresh start".

After your bankruptcy case is completed, you may want to begin re-establishing your credit. Part of getting back on your feet is taking on new debt and managing your debt responsibly. Any time you apply for credit, the lender is likely to request a copy of the discharge order.

So, keep your discharge order in a safe place where you will always know where to find it. If you do lose your discharge order, you can order another one through our office by submitting a written request plus a $25.00 money order, payable to "Patricia Geringer, Attorney At Law".

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The first consultation is always FREE.

     

 
 
     © Copyright 2003 Patricia Geringer. All Rights Reserved.