Can I go to court if I file for bankruptcy? 14 Answers as of April 21, 2015

I've read about the first creditors meeting. Are there any other times when someone filing for bankruptcy must go to court? Will an attorney go to these court dates if hired?

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Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
You're required to go to and testify at the creditors meeting. Unless you have some unusual complication that should be the only time you'll go to court. The creditors meeting is not a formal hearing. It's an informal meeting that usually takes about 5 minutes. The attorney will represent you at the hearing.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/21/2015
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C.
GARCIA & GONZALES, P.C. | Richard N. Gonzales
Normally you only go for the creditors' meeting (i.e., that is the only time you have to appear for a hearing). That is in about 99% of all Chapter 7 filings. And yes, if you hire a lawyer, they will go with you to the Creditors' Meeting. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 4/20/2015
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
An attorney will go with you but you have to be present and you have to answer the trustee questions. For a basic chapter 7 this is normally the only time you need to appear in court.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 4/20/2015
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
In a typical bankruptcy the only appearance required is at the 341 creditors' meeting. If you retain an attorney the attorney should attend with you.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/17/2015
A Fresh Start
A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
Most bankruptcy clients only go to court once, and it technically isn't even court because the judge won't be there. It will be you, your attorney and the bankruptcy trustee. In some instances, you could have a court hearing that you would need to attend, such as if you want to reaffirm on your car note, or if a creditor wants a lift stay to repo something you haven't paid for. In rare situations, an adversary proceeding could be filed against you for misbehaving in regard to bankruptcy laws. Any additional court appears will cost you additional legal fees and won't be covered by the flat fee you paid for bankruptcy services.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 4/17/2015
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    If you hire an attorney they will go with you. It depends on your district on how many times you may need to go to court.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Tokarska Law Center
    Tokarska Law Center | Kathryn U. Tokarska
    Yes there are times when a court hearing is necessary, depending on what type of bankruptcy you file and also what needs to happen or simply happens because another party (creditor or trustee) filed some request with the court. In Southern District of CA (warning: every district has their own local rules) vast majority of chapter 7s never have a court hearing except for maybe a reaffirmation hearing at which the debtor also must be present, but that is only necessary if undue hardship is present in the case. If you take a look at the Rights and Responsibilities for Chapter 7 - available online at http://www.casb.uscourts.gov/html/csdforms/Ch7Rights_Responsibilities.pdf (keep in mind that this is a Southern District form - if you are in a different district your local rules may differ and also the forms) many items in the second and third category can require a hearing, although in some cases it depends if there is an opposition requiring a response. Except for reaffirmation agreements or trials, debtor is excused from attendance as long as they are represented by counsel, who goes instead. I don't know where you are from but in Southern California, the court provides that as part of the legal fees the attorney MUST attend the initial Creditors hearing and any continued hearing (which can happen where there is some issue in the case) although the attorney can charge extra for continued hearings. In my practice I only charge extra for a continued hearing if it was caused by something the debtor did or did not do. My goal is always to avoid having a second hearing and happy to report that is the case 99.99% of the time. The key to having that kind of result is knowing what is needed and doing it in a timely fashion. The Southern California court made this change in response to some local and out of the area attorneys signing contracts with their clients where they opted out of attending the creditor's hearings. In my humble opinion, such practice is risky and so is hiring a special appearance attorney to attend on the attorney's behalf. So I for one am glad that our district chose to make attendance mandatory and make it my practice to attend all hearings personally. After all, I know my client, I know the case, and am in the best position to represent them. Occasionally, I'll get a call from an out of the area attorney asking if I'll do a special appearance for their case and I typically refuse. I figure if someone hires YOU to do a job YOU do it. If you are going to hire someone, hire someone who is experienced and local because they will know what needs to be done, when, and how.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    If you hire an attorney, the attorney must appear at the creditor's meeting with you. Depending on very large number of factors, most debtors only have to attend the creditors meeting, which is not actually a court appearance before a judge.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    Every one has to go to the meeting of creditors. This not awful. No one will ask how you got into debt, no one will ask you to explain your circumstances. Creditors will not show up, (unless you have an angry individual who lent you money). Basically the trustee will want to make sure you read your papers and that you signed them (under penalty of perjury). If you have assets the trustee might want they will ask you about that. If you hire a lawyer, a lawyer better be there.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    The attorney always goes to court. Normally one or two hearings.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
    The 341 Hearing is a breeze if your attorney did his job correctly. It will take less than 5 minutes. That should be your only court appearance and your attorney should be there to represent you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Discuss this with your attorney, and if you do not have one then hire one. Yes you will have to go to at least the creditor's meeting and provide information and testimony.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Highpoint Law Group PLLC
    Highpoint Law Group PLLC | Jeffrey L. Smoot
    For most debtors, the meeting of creditors is the only time they will need to appear. However, other court appearances could be required if, for example, the debtor seeks to reaffirm a debt, or if a creditor or the trustee files a motion such as for relief from stay or for court permission to sell an asset or approve a settlement that the debtor objects to, or a creditor challenges the debtor's right to discharge. If an attorney is hired, the attorney will normally appear on behalf of the debtor.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 4/17/2015
    Bensamochan & Poghosyan LLP | Eric Bensamochan
    Usually the initial meeting of creditors (341(a)) is the only appearance the debtor is required to make. The initial meeting of creditors is not held in a courtroom, and the examination is conducted by the Trustee.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/17/2015
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