What to Expect in Bankruptcy Court

Preparing for Bankruptcy Court

Most of our bankruptcy clients have heard horror stories about what to expect once they have filed for bankruptcy. Most of these stories are untrue. While the technical and legal end of bankruptcy law is complicated, the process for the debtor is relatively straightforward. At Ammerman & Goldberg "Bankruptcy" Law Office, we represent clients in Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland. With our support, the majority of our clients feel relief once the stress of their financial problems is relieved.

What to Expect in Bankruptcy Court

The following is a brief explanation of what our clients can expect during and after the bankruptcy hearing:

What Is the Role of the Bankruptcy Trustee?

The role of the bankruptcy trustee is different in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings. In general, the bankruptcy trustee is the court-appointed official who oversees the bankruptcy process.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings, the trustee determines eligibility and verifies the accuracy of all documents filed with the court. Then if there are any nonexempt assets, the bankruptcy trustee locates those assets and sells them to pay off creditors. In significant number of cases there are no nonexempt assets.

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, the trustee reviews the repayment plan submitted to the court, assures that the payment plan is reasonable and distributes payments to creditors.

What Happens After the Bankruptcy Hearing?

In Chapter 7 bankruptcies there is little to do after the hearing, unless further information is requested by the bankruptcy trustee. The court will send you an official discharge order in 60 to 90 days after the hearing. For Chapter 13 bankruptcies the discharge order is not issued until after the repayment plan is completed.

What Happens at My Bankruptcy Hearing?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy hearing typically takes only a few minutes. The bankruptcy trustee asks a few questions to verify that you are eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy hearings are essentially the same as Chapter 7 hearing, except they take a little longer and the trustee asks additional questions to determine whether the repayment plan submitted is feasible.

Our bankruptcy lawyers are with our clients throughout the hearing and most are surprised at the speed and ease of the hearing. Once the hearing is complete a great weight is lifted off the shoulders of our bankruptcy clients.

How Long Does It Take to Receive a Bankruptcy Discharge Order?

Your official discharge order will arrive from the court approximately 60 to 90 days after the hearing. This discharge will officially relieve you from your debts.

What Should I Have at My Bankruptcy Hearing?

The documents needed at the hearing include:

  • A state-issued photo I.D.
  • Your Social Security card
  • The notice sent to you by the court

  • A list of creditors and the amount and nature of their claim
  • The source, amount and frequency of the debtor's income
  • A list of all of the debtor's property
  • A detailed list of the debtor's monthly living expenses, including food, clothing, shelter, utilities, taxes, transportation and medicine

Many of these items will already be in the possession of our bankruptcy attorney. Please arrive at the hearing at least 15 minutes early to review your case and expectations with your bankruptcy attorney.

Who Will Be at My Bankruptcy Hearing?

Bankruptcy hearings are conducted by bankruptcy trustees. In addition to the bankruptcy trustee a lawyer from our office will attend the hearing with you. Creditors have a right to be at bankruptcy hearings but rarely attend Chapter 7 hearings. Sometimes they attend Chapter 13 hearings to answer informational, non-adversarial questions.

Why Is the Bankruptcy Discharge Order Important?

The bankruptcy discharge is the official document issued by the court absolving you of responsibility for your pre-bankruptcy debt. In addition, as you work to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy, new creditors will likely request a copy of your official discharge order.

To learn more about your debt relief options, please call 202-559-1428 for a free telephone consultation or contact our lawyers by filling out our online form.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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