Do I have to go to court if I file for bankruptcy? 26 Answers as of June 22, 2011

I am trying to file for bankruptcy without hiring an attorney. Do I need to go to court or do I only need to file the papers?

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Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
You will need to attend the 341 Meeting personally.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/22/2011
Financial Relief Law Center
Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
You need to appear in court when you file bankruptcy.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
It will depend on your case. You will at a minimum need to appear at the 341 Meeting of the Creditors.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 6/20/2011
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
That depends on which chapter you file and what goes on in your case. In a Chapter 7 case there is one mandatory meeting with the Trustee in your case, but usually no court hearings unless someone files an objection or litigation that you choose to respond to.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/20/2011
Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
If you are asking that question, you should not be proceeding without an attorney. Whatever "do it yourself" guide you are using should have explained the process. You are risking the loss of your property if you make a mistake. There is a benefit to having someone who knows what they are doing guide you through the process.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger
    Law Offices of Michael T. Krueger | Michael Krueger
    There is a bankruptcy court, but you as a debtor will almost never actually appear at a court. You will have to appear at a 341 meeting, but that is not held in a court room and it is not in front of a judge. Your 341 meeting is with the bankruptcy trustee. Bankruptcy is very complex. Filing without an attorney is possible so long as you understand what exemptions your state follows and have access to a computer connected to the internet and a scanner to submit documents. Everything in bankruptcy is done online, which means you will never file actual paper documents with the court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    At a minimum there is one appearance at a hearing entitled "meeting of creditors." You may also have to appear on a "reaffirmation agreement" if you want to keep a vehicle you are making payments on.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    You will have to attend the Meeting of Creditors pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 341. Also, if you are reaffirming a mortgage or vehicle, you may have to appear before a judge in some circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    You must appear in court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams
    Law Office of Asaph Abrams | Asaph Abrams
    In chapter 7, you generally don't appear in front of a judge, but rather you have a chat with a trustee. You do testify under penalty of perjury; a court's clerk cited a figure of 3% of debtors filing sans counsel; you can't argue with numbers (except maybe the inexplicable appeal of The Dark Knight). Even clients with attorneys are seen nervous, biting fingernails, shaking legs. You need an advocate on your side to assuage concerns and avoid pitfalls.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    Yes, there is at least one appearance required known as the 341A Meeting of Creditors. If you're filing a Chapter 13, you'd have to go to a confirmation hearing as well.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson
    Law Office of Lynnmarie A. Johnson | Lynnmarie Johnson
    You have to go to the Meeting or Creditors where you will meet with the US Trustee representative for your area and they will hold a hearing at which both they and any of your creditors that wish to, will question you. It is not a hearing in front of a judge but should be taken very seriously.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/20/2011
    Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy
    Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy | David Leibowitz
    I don't think that filing a bankruptcy by yourself is necessarily a good idea. You will have to go to court if you want to reaffirm a debt and you file a bankruptcy pro se. You will need to attend a meeting of creditors although strictly speaking, this is not a court appearance. There may be other court appearances as well - for example motions for relief from stay. You may or may not choose to appear at such proceedings depending on your case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Rosenberg & Press
    Rosenberg & Press | Max L. Rosenberg
    First, do not try to file bankruptcy without an attorney unless you are fully experienced with your federal and state exemptions, are aware of all the new forms and filing procedures. Second, approximately thirty days after you file, hopefully with the assistance of an attorney who is experienced in bankruptcy, you will be required to attend a hearing with a state trustee. The hearing is an inquiry into your petition, where you will answer questions under oath. Without an attorney to guide you it is like playing a game of Russian Roulette with a revolver with only three chambers. Good luck. Thanks for tuning in!
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC
    Symmes Law Group, PLLC | Richard James Symmes
    You will most likely only have to go to court one time for your meeting of creditors if you are filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will also have to go to court in order to file you petition if you do not have an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    The Law Office of Brian Nomi
    The Law Office of Brian Nomi | Brian H. Nomi
    Your question does not really make sense. I can tell you that if done correctly, a bankruptcy client never has to go to court. If not, well, who knows? For further information, it's best to consult with an experienced attorney. Any good attorney will give you a free initial consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    Yes. You must attend a 341 creditors meeting which is just like court. At the hearing you will be asked questions by a trustee about your paperwork you have filed. Not fun without an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Yes. You go to court one time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Spencer Hale
    Well, first of all, you need to get an attorney. And yes, you will need to go to a hearing. It is called the meeting of creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    All debtors are required to attend a section 341 meeting of creditors. It is a meeting, not a court appearance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Srai Law Office
    Srai Law Office | Gurjit Singh Srai, Esq.
    After filing for bankruptcy a debtor must attend a 341 debtor/creditor meeting. At this meeting the debtor will be examined under oath as to the assets and debts listed in their petition. On rare occasions creditors are present and also ask the debtor questions regarding their finances and property listed in their bankruptcy petition.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Depending on the district where you live, you will have to make at least one appearance, and maybe two.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    You need to attend a meeting of creditors to be questioned under oath by a Trustee. The creditors can attend the meeting and ask you questions for a limited amount of time (although few creditors actually do that). If there are problems with your case then you might have to go to court. You will find it almost impossible to find a lawyer to represent you if you encounter problems with the case since bankruptcy lawyers (at least the ones that are worth hiring) are too busy and don't want to deal with broken cases (which are those cases in which there are problems, particularly the ones filed by people without lawyers). If you get yourself in a mess don't expect to find a lawyer that will bail you out and if you do it will cost you a lot more than having a lawyer handle your case from the beginning and it will probably not be a very good lawyer. It is dangerous to represent yourself in a bankruptcy case, particularly a Chapter 7 case which cannot be dismissed without permission from the court. The success rate of people filing Chapter 13 cases without a lawyer is probably less than 5% because of the complex law and local procedures applicable. In most bankruptcy court websites the judges advice people not to file "pro se" (without a lawyer).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    First of all, do NOT file pro se. Pro se cases almost always fail and can result in you losing assets or not getting requested relief. The fact that you have not even minimally researched the process makes this even more important. Bankruptcies are court cases. You don't just file papers. You have hearings. In some chapter 7's there could be as few as one, but there may be many, if motions, resets and complaints are filed. If you do a Chapter 13, there will be at least two and can be more. Do you know how you will deal with Motions to Avoid Lien, Motions to Lift to Stay, Objections to Confirmation, bad faith challenges, and so on? Are you equipped to deal with a random Trustee audit? Do you know how to draft a proposed order? Do you know how to amend a schedule when problems develop? Get a lawyer. You need one.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Benson Law Firm
    Benson Law Firm | David Benson
    It depends. If you are filing under Chapter 13, you should definitely seek the assistance of a competent attorney. Otherwise, your chances of success are next to nil.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    Easy. Don't file on your own. It's less syrrs, it will be more likely to be approved, and it will actually save you money, especially when you compare legal fees with the debt you're eliminating. You must go to a Meeting of Creditors and confirm your petition with the Trustee.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
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