Yes. If you are filing bankruptcy for yourself personally, a court appearance known as the “341 Creditor Hearing” is calendared and your appearance is required. Of course, exceptions do apply (below).
The Bankruptcy Court in which your bankruptcy petition is filed selects the scheduling automatically and randomly. In the Central District of California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County), the hearings are scheduled about 30-45 after the date bankruptcy petition was filed. Depending on the county where the petition was filed, there hearing will take place in one of three pre-designated locations (one for each county, with Riverside and San Bernardino Counties being consolidated into one location).
The 341 Creditor Hearings rarely ever are rescheduled or changes per a debtor’s request. It is the debtor’s responsibility to appear on time at the assigned hearing date. Some trustees will dismiss a debtor’s case if the debtor’s misses the first creditor hearing (vary rarely rescheduling), and will almost certainty dismiss the debtor’s case for missing any continued hearings. A dismissal of a debtor’s case may cause serious legal implications for the debtor.
One common exception is if your spouse has filed for bankruptcy, but not you. If that is the situation, then your spouse will only have to appear at the hearing.
Another common exception is the debtor is has been rendered to be medically unable to attend the 341 Creditor Hearing. This exception is rarely invoked but has occurred. Usually, the hearing can be performed by an appointed Power of Attorney or via written interrogatories.
The 341 Creditor Hearings are conducted in a large room full of other debtors, creditors’ agents, lawyers, law enforcement officers, the assigned Bankruptcy Court trustee assigned to the debtor’s case, and the trustee’s legal assistants(s). Debtors and their attorneys are called up one at a time and interviewed by the assigned Trustee. The interview is recorded and made under penalty of perjury.
At Nassar Law, I ensure every Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy client does not attend the 341 Creditor Hearing without legal representation. I personally ensure the debtor’s bankruptcy case as the primary attorney until discharge is granted.
Having legal representation at the hearing is not only psychologically beneficial and comforting, but necessary to avoid any legal pitfalls. More importantly, a properly completed and filed bankruptcy petition often leaves very few issues that need to be delved into by the assigned trustee at the 341 Creditor Hearing. Therefore, I take great pride in ensuring each client receives the utmost attention to their cases and filing of the legal documents to follow.
Filing for bankruptcy is a complex process and requires proper planning to determine whether it is best for you. The process entails adherence to strict deadlines to avoid dismissal (not discharge) of your case and filing precise, accurate, and appropriate legal pleadings/documents. Thus, it is crucial that you select a highly skilled bankruptcy attorney. I make it my goal to provide each client the dedicated time and experience to assist the client with his/her bankruptcy and proudly serve the following cities/counties: Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County; City of: Fullerton, Brea, Placentia, Whittier, La Palma, La Habra, La Mirada, Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Rowland Heights, Diamond Bar, Montebello, Buena Park, Orange, Santa Ana, Pomona, Chino, Chino Hills, Riverside, Diamond Bar, Norwalk, Covina, West Covina, and many other surrounding cities within the vicinity.
Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Brea, Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Buena Park, Cerritos, Norwalk, Diamond Bar, West Covina, Covina, Pomona, Orange, Santa Ana, Whittier, Placentia, La Palma, La Habra, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Los Angeles, Inglewood, La Mirada, Lakewood, Long Beach, Chino Hills, Chino, Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County.