Will I have to go to court for my Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must appear in person for a “meeting of the creditors” or “341 meeting”. This meeting is essentially an information gathering hearing where you will appear with your lawyer in front of a Bankruptcy Trustee that may ask brief, general questions regarding the information that is listed, or is not listed, in your bankruptcy petition that was filed with the Court.
Your creditors are not required to show up at the hearing, but the debtor must appear. Generally, most creditors will not show up for the hearing, and if they do it will likely be an appearance by their attorney. Most creditor’s attorneys that appear at the hearing are for creditors that you have financed secured property with, such as a car or house.
Creditor’s attorneys that appear usually just want to verify whether you intend on reaffirming/keeping the property or if you plan on surrendering (giving back) the property to the creditor. Each debtor’s hearing usually only take between 5 to 10 minutes, so depending where your case is on the docket, you may only be in court for a total of 30 minutes to an hour.
Also, in some cases where a creditor has grounds to file an objection, there may be an adversarial proceeding set to argue the objection before the Bankruptcy Judge. However, in many cases these objections may be able to be resolved before a hearing on the objection.