What To Expect In A Bankruptcy Hearing
When you petition for bankruptcy you must attend a bankruptcy hearing, the purpose of which is to render a decision on your petition, a decision which will dictate whether your petition will be approved or not. There is in fact usually more than one bankruptcy hearing that will require attendance. There are normally two and sometimes three hearings that will be held during the process.
First Bankruptcy Hearing – Be There - The initial bankruptcy hearing usually isn't a terribly complicated affair, but is held for the purpose of determining whether or not your petition has merit. The most important thing of all, for the person petitioning for bankruptcy, is to attend the first bankruptcy hearing. Sometimes people make the mistake of sending an attorney to represent them. Most attorneys know this will not be acceptable. The person who intends to file for bankruptcy must attend this initial bankruptcy hearing for the request to file for bankruptcy will be dismissed out of hand.
As far as a second or third bankruptcy meeting is concerned, in some cases the person filing has to attend and in other cases an attorney may attend in his or her stead. The rules here depend somewhat on the type of bankruptcy being petitioned for.
Types Of Bankruptcy - There are basically two types of bankruptcy one may choose to file for. The first, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, is the route taken by anyone wishing to have all debts permanently forgiven. Under the second type, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the person filing for bankruptcy agrees to make payments to creditors over a period of time, typically 5 years. The bankruptcy court works with the petitioner to determine the amount these payments are to be. The payments are normally not intended to fully pay off a person's debt, but to pay off a portion of it, that portion being an amount the petitioner is deemed able to pay. Since payments are made over a period of time, an additional bankruptcy hearing is usually rescheduled midway through the repayment period and also at the end of the repayment period.
In some instances, especially for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, only one bankruptcy hearing may be needed. If the presiding officer or judge determines your petition to be valid, and the request to declare bankruptcy is in line with applicable laws, the petition may be granted and no further hearings may be required.
What You'll Need To Bring - If you are petitioning for bankruptcy, it's usually in your best interest to seek the advice of, and possibly be accompanied to the hearing by, an attorney. In any event you should be prepared to bring any paperwork those conducting the bankruptcy hearing may request. As mentioned previously, the initial hearing is usually not complicated, or at all lengthy. You have to be there, and you'll need positive identification, like a driver’s license. You should remember your social security number as you'll probably be expected to provide that, and some additional information may be requested. Obviously, you'll be expected to make a statement on why you have found it necessary to petition for bankruptcy.
Do Your Homework - The most important thing of all, besides attending the hearings, is to check first with the bankruptcy court in the jurisdiction you live in, usually the county you live in, and get the information you will need, usually provided in handout form, as to what the rules and regulations for the process are. The rules may vary somewhat form jurisdiction to justification, and if you slip up on one, even unintentionally, you could delay the process or simply have your petition denied. It's best to do a little homework. For that matter, it's best to do some homework on the pros and cons of seeking bankruptcy, and recognize that while having your debt forgiven, there is a price to be paid.