In a Chap. 7 Bankruptcy when you finally have to go to the courthouse and tell the judge why one couldn't pay one's debts.....

Asked about 1 year ago - Burbank, CA

In a Chap. 7 Bankruptcy when one finally has to go to the courthouse and tell the judge why one couldn't pay one's debts, is there a report that is made of this confession that is made public? Is there a way to access this report summary with the Chap 7 BK Case# like you can with a civil case number?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Stuart Gregory Steingraber

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Rarely does a debtor appear before a bankruptcy judge. Instead, the debtor will be required to appear before a Trustee at a meeting of creditors or Section 341a meeting. There, the trustee will ask a series of questions common to all debtors, then any specific questions pertaining to your case. After 37 years practicing bankruptcy law, I cannot recall a single instance where the trustee asked a debtor the reasons for filing. Usually, it is apparent from the paperwork you or your attorney filed which paperwork the Trustee has reviewed prior to your meeting. The proceedings are tape recorded in the Central District of CA. You are under oath when you are examined by the Trustee. Anyone interested in your case can obtain a transcript of your interview with the trustee, and your creditors have the right to attend and ask you questions too. Good luck and God bless.

  2. Andrew A Moher

    Contributor Level 9

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    Answered . A bankruptcy filer rarely has to go to court for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, usually the filer just goes to a "meeting of creditors," which is a very short meeting with the bankruptcy trustee where you verify that the information on your filing is correct. Creditors are allowed to show up to this meeting but that is extremely unusual. There is no "confession" about why you fell behind or filed bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy is a federal right and is treated as such. Furthermore, the person filing does not have to explain to a judge why they had to file, or why they couldn't pay their debts. There is not this kind of "judgment" in bankruptcy.

    There is a way to access a report summary, like in a civil case. The database is called PACER ("Public Access to Court Electronic Records), and can be accessed for a fee.

  3. Jonathan David Leventhal

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . That does not occur. In most chapter seven cases you never see a Judge and you do not enter a courtroom. You are asked a series of questions by the chapter seven Trustee. He or she is normally an Attorney serving on the Trustee panel. Although the question asked to you under oath the questions go something like the following:

    1. Did you read the petition before you signed it?

    2. Did you list of of your debts?

    3. Did you transfer anything of value within X number of years.

    Questions such as that.

    You will get specific questions about your debt if the amount exceeds $100,000. This amount can be higher or lower depending on several factors.

    Remember Congress passed the bankruptcy laws in order to give people an opportunity to make a fresh start in his or her financial life.

    If you still have questions consult an Attorney (Myself or another Attorneys who's answer you like.)

    Good luck!



    Jonathan Leventhal, Esq..
    Leventhal Law Group, P.C.
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  4. Brian Crozier Whitaker

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . In 98+% of Chapter 7 bankruptcies, the debtor never has to go to court or tell the judge anything.
    The Meeting of Creditors (a misnomer, since creditors rarely show up) is recorded but the transcript is not made public and the Trustee rarely asks "why couldn't you pay your debts?"

  5. Ivan Trahan

    Contributor Level 4

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    Answered . In the ordinary course of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are not required to appear before a judge and make a confession as to why you incurred a debt. All debtors, however, are required to attend a meeting of creditors where you answer questions the Trustee asks you under oath. There is a transcript of this meeting and it can be obtained from the Trustee for a fee. It is not likely you will be asked why you incurred the debt.

  6. Dorothy G Bunce

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Let me guess..you are not the debtor but you want to find a way to embarrass the debtor to publicly punish him/her for listing you as a creditor. You could wind up paying some big penalties for trying a stunt like this so let go of this. Most likely, the debtor is already beating him/herself up for being in this position. Hope this perspective helps!

  7. Brad Francis Weil

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . You do not go in front of a Judge and explain why you could not pay your debts. Bankruptcy is voluntary the fact that you file it says you cannot pay your debts. The why is irrelevant. The only question is are you eligible for the relief you are seeking (in other words do you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy). There is a 341 meeting of creditors where you will be questioned under oath by your trustee, however the purpose of that meeting is to determine if you have any assets that can be sold to pay your creditors. They do not care why you could not pay your debts. Bankruptcy is a matter of public record and you can have access to the docket through PACER.

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