Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone answers the question: “What is a bankruptcy discharge?”
During these unprecedented times, we decided to address some of our clients’ most frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on bankruptcy cases.
At the time of publication, it is still possible to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy despite court closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. However, with things changing almost daily, you should keep an eye out for updates on your court’s website.
Most courts continue accepting bankruptcy filings even while being closed to the public. Many courts have urged debtors to place their filled-out forms in a drop-box at the court or email them instead of visiting the court in person.
Note: You are still required to pay your bankruptcy filing fee during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Do I Need to Go to Court to File Bankruptcy?
Until further notice, debtors should not visit their court for bankruptcy-related matters unless absolutely necessary. If your court is open to the public, it may screen visitors before allowing them to enter. The screening process may include checking for fever and questions about recent international and interstate travel.
Q: How Can the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact My Bankruptcy Case?
Courts continue handling bankruptcy filings, though most of them are operating with limited staff. In light of this, many filers may expect delays when it comes to their bankruptcy case.
In particular, expect delays in the processing of your documents. Also, bankruptcy hearings and 341 meetings are likely to be rescheduled or conducted telephonically. Read about the typical timeline of the bankruptcy process.
Q: When Will I Receive My Form 309A?
Generally, you can expect to receive your Form 309A, which shows the date, time, and location of your 341 meeting, in the mail within several days after filing for bankruptcy. However, there may be delays due to slower mailing times. Despite these delays, 341 meetings are still being scheduled between 20 and 40 days from the date you filed your bankruptcy case.
Q: Do I Still Have to Abide by the Deadlines?
Absolutely, yes. You must do your best to meet all deadlines in your bankruptcy case, including payment due dates, deadlines to submit documents and forms, and others. Your case can still be dismissed for missing a deadline despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: Will There be a Hearing Scheduled in My Bankruptcy Case?
Most bankruptcy-related hearings are being conducted telephonically and do not require in-person presence. If you have a hearing scheduled in your case, check for notices from the court about potential reschedules.
Q: Will I Have to Attend My 341 Meeting of Creditors?
As of the time of publication, all in-person 341 meetings scheduled through May 10, 2020, have been changed to be conducted “only through telephonic or other alternative means not requiring in-person appearance,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Also, expect your bankruptcy case trustee to provide specific instructions prior to the 341 meeting. If you have not heard from the trustee and the meeting date is coming up, contact them directly.
Talk to our Charlotte bankruptcy attorneys to assist you in handling your bankruptcy case during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to receive a case review. Call our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.
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