Appearing in Court for a Bankruptcy 341 Meeting

Appearing in Court for a Bankruptcy 341 Meeting

Some people are apprehensive about having to appear at the bankruptcy court. But it is important to note that the bankruptcy court is not necessary for every bankruptcy proceeding. If you follow the process and fulfill your obligations, your debts will be discharged.

The meeting of creditors is known as the 341 meeting since it is in Section 341 of the bankruptcy code. Creditors rarely show up to this meeting. It is just you, your attorney, and the trustee. You will answer questions under oath to ensure you listed all of your debts, income, assets, and to make sure you answered all of questions in the schedules accurately. The session is usually short and typically lasts between 10 and 15 minutes.

When is a Bankruptcy Court Hearing Required?

Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies often proceed without a hitch. But chapter 11 cases usually require the restructuring of payments and other significant changes in the process. These are disputes that need to be reviewed by a bankruptcy judge.

Bankruptcy Court hearings are required in the following circumstances:

  • Adversary Proceedings: Adversary Proceedings are more complex than contested matters and the process is more clearly defined. Each case has a specific number, and the sessions are like most civil proceedings. It is initiated when a plaintiff files a document referred to as a complaint. Both the plaintiff and the defendant will gather evidence using discovery tools. Both will be encouraged to pursue alternative means of conflict resolution such as mediation.
  • Contested Matters: Contested matters usually involve actual disputes, other than those in adversary proceedings. These are cases that are straightforward and need to be resolved before the case can move forward. For example, when one of the parties contests compensation, or when there are questions about a creditor’s proof of claim. The litigation process does not require evidence gathering using discovery tools. That is unless the court gives its permission. These cases take less time than adversary proceedings which can take months or years. Contested matters usually take weeks to complete.
  • Order to Show Cause: Order to Show Cause is used when a party violates a Court Order such as violating the automatic stay or not filing the proper schedules.

Using a Bankruptcy Attorney

Making use of the services of an attorney during these proceedings can prevent loss of time and resources. An experienced lawyer will help you prepare evidence and documents before the 341 meeting. You need someone knowledgeable in bankruptcy codes and proceedings. It should be a professional who can assist you in preparing the best argument against relief for automatic stay and other disputes.

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