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Do you have to go in front of a judge for bankruptcy?

Despite the fact that thousands of people file for bankruptcy every year in the United States, there are still a lot of misconceptions about the practice. For example, a lot of people assume anyone who has to file for bankruptcy is irresponsible with money. The reality is that many people simply need help restructuring their debts after falling on hard times. 

Although you will require legal help to get you through the bankruptcy, many people find they never have to speak to a judge during the entire process. You will likely have to go to court at least once, but this is far easier than most people imagine. Everyone's case is different, but chances are good you will find that filing for bankruptcy is simpler than you first thought. 

You will receive a notification of your court date

After you file your case, you will receive a notification of when your court date takes place. For most people, this will be within 30 days of initial filing. You should receive the notice in about seven to 10 business days from when you first sent in the paperwork. This should be plenty of advanced notice for you to get time off work to attend. 

This hearing in court is your Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. It is the designated date you are to meet with your bankruptcy trustee as well as any representatives of the creditors you owe a debt to. For this meeting, a judge is not present. Instead, you will speak to the trustee, who will ask you several questions about your debt. You still need to answer all these questions under oath. These questions are fairly straightforward, so you should not worry about this meeting. You can expect questions such as, "Do you presently have insurance on your car?" and "Have you filed your last four tax returns?" This meeting only lasts for about 10 minutes, and as long as things go smoothly, your debt will receive a discharge.

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