U.S. Bankruptcy Court Rules - Chapter 13 Meeting

Attending a U.S. Bankruptcy Court Chapter 13 Meeting of the Creditors Requires Preparation

Within 10 days of filing Chapter 13, U.S. bankruptcy courts mail written notices to all creditors and invite them to attend a meeting of the creditors. These meetings are held between 20 to 50 days after petitions are filed. Be aware, attendance is mandatory for debtors and failure to attend may result in dismissal.

U.S. bankruptcy courts are not allowed to participate

One of the primary purposes of the meeting is to allow the debtor and creditors to work-out differences without involvement of the U.S. bankruptcy courts. Trustees insure all parties comply with rules of conduct. This approach provides economy in the judicial process: U.S. bankruptcy courts avoid presiding over routine matters, allowing judges to focus upon complex or disputed matters.

Under Rule 2004 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, creditors may question debtors under oath. Trustees do not permit creditors to become abusive or threatening, however creditors are allowed to inquire about information appearing in documents filed with U.S. bankruptcy courts. Should a creditor disagree with any information, they are may file motions to object with the U.S. bankruptcy courts and request hearings. For any unlisted unsecured creditor's claim to be considered, a proof of claim must be filed within 90 days after the date of the meeting.

Authority of U.S. bankruptcy courts and U.S. trustees are different:

Meetings are governed by 11 U.S.C. 341. This section provides:

  • within a reasonable time after a petition is filed, trustees shall convene and preside at meetings of creditors;
  • Trustees may convene a meeting of any equity security holders;
  • U.S. bankruptcy courts may not preside or attend; and
  • prior to the conclusion of the meeting, the trustee shall orally examine debtors to verify debtors in Chapter 7 are aware of: (1) the consequences of discharge from U.S. bankruptcy courts, including effects on credit histories, (2) the availability of other chapters, (3) the effect of discharges, and (4) the effect of reaffirmation agreements.

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