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What is the "meeting of creditors" in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings are all about absolving you of as many of your existing debt obligations as possible. This means that -- after selling off your unexempt assets -- the creditors to whom you owe money will not receive anything else, and your remaining debts covered by the bankruptcy will be dissolved.

Because this process will have a financial impact on your creditors, they will have the opportunity to ask questions about the process in a "meeting of creditors."

More about the meeting of creditors in Chapter 7 bankruptcy

The meeting of creditors happens approximately 20 to 40 days after the debtor files the bankruptcy petition. The bankruptcy trustee will manage this meeting, in which the debtor must answer various questions under oath.

During the questioning phase, the bankruptcy trustee and any creditors affected by the bankruptcy can request answers from you. If you filed bankruptcy as a married couple, both you and your spouse must attend this meeting.

It is vital that all filers in the bankruptcy answer questions during the meeting of creditors honestly and openly. They should also provide any additional documentation requested during these proceedings.

If the U.S. bankruptcy trustee believes -- after the meeting of creditors -- that the bankruptcy case is not eligible for Chapter 7, they must report this to the court within 10 days of the meeting.

Aside from evaluating the bankruptcy case, another reason for the meeting of creditors is to ask questions that confirm the debtor understands the negative consequences of bankruptcy for their credit history, their ability to file future bankruptcy petitions and other issues.

The bankruptcy judge will not be present at the meeting of creditors. This is to preserve the judge's ability to make an independent and unbiased decision on the matter.

Do you want to evaluate your eligibility to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you'd like to evaluate your eligibility to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it's important to fully understand your debt and income situation -- as well as the qualification requirements Chapter 7 bankruptcy -- under federal law.

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