After your bankruptcy case is filed, if everything has been done right, the rest of your chapter 7 bankruptcy should be smooth sailing. You must remember – millions have gone through this process before you. The bankruptcy court has developed a streamlined process that can handled tens of thousands of cases per month in each state!
My approach to a bankruptcy case is to be as thorough as possible prior to filing. If we file detailed information with the bankruptcy court then the process will likely be more smooth because there won’t be any surprises (hopefully:).
The main event after your bankruptcy is filed is your Meeting of Creditors. As grand as this meeting sounds, it is usually just a meeting in a conference room with me, you, and your bankruptcy trustee. Here in Arizona where I practice this meeting usually lasts less than 5 minutes.
The purpose of the Meeting of Creditors is two-fold: first, it gives your creditors an opportunity to come in and ask you questions. In most cases there won’t be any creditors.
Creditors that do show up usually fall into two camps: angry ex-spouses and customers of the self-employed bankruptcy debtor.
The angry ex-spouse one is pretty self-explanatory. Your ex-spouse isn’t your biggest fan right now and appearing at your bankruptcy Meeting of Creditors falls into the category of doing what they can to make your life difficult.
The second one happens when a person who is self-employed files for bankruptcy. If you are self-employed and owe customers money there is a good chance that they will show up at your Meeting of Creditors. Why? Heck, they don’t even know. But they may show up.
If a creditor does show up the bankruptcy trustee will give them a chance to ask you questions. Most creditors that show up don’t know why they are there let alone have any type of prepared questions. Regardless, I as your attorney will be sitting right there next to you, so if anything weird comes up I will be there to guide you through the process.
After the Meeting of Creditors is over the response I get most often from clients is “man, that wasn’t near as bad as I thought it would be”.
In most cases the conclusion of the Meeting of Creditors means you are on the home stretch! A couple more months to go and you will be nearing the finish line.
In our next and final installment I will discuss what happens from the Meeting of Creditors to the entry of the Discharge Order and beyond…