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What happens at the Chapter 13 meeting of creditors?

There are many different parts of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing that Texans need to be aware of prior to moving on with the process. One that might give many people a significant amount of consternation is the meeting of creditors. This might be viewed as a confrontational situation, and those filing for Chapter 13 might think of it as a stress-filled struggle like a courtroom drama. The reality is that it is not like that.

From the time the debtor files for Chapter 13, between 21 and 50 days later there will be a meeting of the creditors convened by the Chapter 13 trustee. In the event that the trustee or the administrator of the bankruptcy schedules it at a location at which there is no regular trustee or administrator staffing, it will be held within 60 days from the time it is filed. The debtor will be sworn in and will then testify under oath. The trustee and the creditors have the right to ask questions of the debtor. These have to do with the financial circumstances the debtor is facing and what the plan entails.

When there is a husband and wife who are filing jointly, both are required to attend this meeting and reply to questions. Because they are required to reserve judgment on the case, the bankruptcy judge is not allowed to attend this meeting. Any issues with the plan will generally be settled prior to the meeting. It is possible to consult with the trustee to iron out any issues prior to the meeting. It is required that the unsecured creditors file claims with the court within 90 days after the first date of the meeting. If it is a unit of government, they will have 180 days. After the meeting, all parties will go to court for the hearing on the Chapter 13 plan.

When there are financial challenges that spark a person to consider filing for Chapter 13, having a grasp on the entire process can alleviate various concerns. Because the decision to file for bankruptcy is such a life-altering event, having legal advice from step one all the way through the process is one of the wisest choices a person can make.

Source: uscourts.gov, "Chapter 13 -- Bankruptcy Basics -- How Chapter 13 Works," accessed on Oct. 11, 2016

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