Being On Time And Bringing The Right Documents To Your Bankruptcy Hearings
How Long Does A Bankruptcy Take?
A chapter 7 bankruptcy takes 90 days, plus 10 days for the appeals period, to receive a discharge. A chapter 13 takes three to 5 years to complete your reorganization plan and after you complete the reorganization plan you are then granted a discharge.
If you don't complete the chapter 13 plan, you do not receive a discharge of your debts.
How long do I wait to go to court
Within 30 days of filing, you'll go to court for your 341 meeting of creditors. The 341 meeting is where you'll be questioned by your creditors about your bankruptcy petition. You usually have about 2 weeks written notice before the hearing date so you can adequately prepare for it.
Prompt attendance to the hearings
If your 341 meeting hearing is scheduled for 10:00am that means your meeting will take place between 10:00am and 10:30am. All 341 meetings go in half hour sessions.
You must ensure to be on time for this meeting because if you're late your case can be pushed to the end of the list and instead of being heard at the specified time, your meeting with be pushed and heard at 4:00pm.
I tell my clients that like the military, you have to be on time but they don't have to be on time. If your hearing is at 10:00am, you should be on the road to Hartford no later than 8:00am - why?
Even though most attorneys will give you a map with detailed driving directions you can still easily get lost. I can't urge people enough to arrive early to the hearing. Doing so can save yourself four hours of waiting around the bankruptcy court as a consequence of being late. I urge clients regularly that the bankruptcy court is not like State Court where you may have experienced infinite delays; so don't risk it.
The 341 hearings tend to run on time but of course there can be delays but note that the Trustees generally work towards having each case heard on time. If you're not there when they call you, you could end up wasting the whole day.
Bring these documents with you to the hearing
There are two documents you need to bring with you to the hearing otherwise the whole trip is wasted because without them they won't hear your case. You must remember bring your drivers license and your social security card - this is a simple responsibility yet such an important one.
The Trustee will ask to see these cards prior to the hearing and if you don't have them, you have to go home and come back another day while incurring additional legal fees.
If you don't have a social security card don't despair because you can obtain one from the Social Security office. You can also obtain a certified letter regarding your social security account will suffice as a substitute for your actual card.
You can also use a W2 form, or a military ID because both these documents have your social security number on them. A document like your passport or any document without your social security number cannot be used.
Where is the bankruptcy court?
For New London County residents, the bankruptcy court is in Hartford. There is one bankruptcy court in New Haven, one in Bridgeport and one in Hartford which makes a total of 3 bankruptcy courts.
When I first started my practice, there were only two bankruptcy courts in Connecticut, but now there are 3 full time bankruptcy courts.