While a typical hearing involves a witness (or witnesses), a jury, and a defendant explaining himself, this is not the same for bankruptcy. There may be a bankruptcy hearing, with the court overseeing the process, but debtors are not essentially on trial. This is mainly because having or being in debt is not a criminal offense.
The court’s role is to evaluate the facts of your financial standing and ensure that creditors will get fair compensation. You may need to attend a few hearings before the settlement, but this will depend on the bankruptcy chapter you file. Here’s what you can expect in a hearing:
Meeting of Creditors
For the most bankruptcy cases, judges are out of the picture. The court will have a trustee to manage and administer the case, with tasks involving evaluation of your financial statements and holding a meeting of creditors. The goal is to allow the creditors and trustee to know more about your financial situation. Most of the questions are about debt, assets, income, expenses, and others.
Bankruptcy Chapter Matters
With a Chapter 7 case, the trustee will name your nonexempt assets, with the goal of selling them to pay your creditors back. For Chapter 13, the trustee will gather all your financial records and ensure that your repayment strategy is fair to all of those you owe money. Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers in Sandy note that this involves living in a strict budget to complete the repayment.
The Role of Lawyers
While you can file bankruptcy on your own, it is advisable to consult an attorney. In fact, USCourts.gov strongly recommends seeking a lawyer, as the case has long-term legal and financial outcomes. There is also the risk of misunderstanding the law and making errors in the process. The right lawyer will explain the law to you, advise which chapter to file, and assist you in the case.
You don’t have to fear the bankruptcy hearing or meeting of creditors. It best to do some preparation before or get guidance from a qualified bankruptcy attorney.