During Bankruptcy – Bankruptcy Law in the State of New York
Once the bankruptcy petition is filed with the court, the automatic stay will begin. Almost all your creditors should stop all collection activities immediately. They cannot sue you. They cannot keep calling. Once they call you and you inform them that you filed for bankruptcy, they should stop their calls altogether. Of course, nothing can prevent them from trying to go to court and have the automatic stay lifted.
Approximately 30 days after you file your bankruptcy petition, you will have to attend a creditors’ meeting. In this meeting you will be interviewed by a bankruptcy trustee. Shortly before the date of your meeting, you will meet with your attorney to go over the questions trustees usually ask.
On the day of your creditors’ meeting, you should bring a photo ID and your Social Security card. Please arrive at least 20 minutes before your appointment. Get into the room, observe the trustee and other people. Listen to the questions the trustee asks and, most importantly, relax. In Chapter 7 cases, creditors rarely show up at these creditors’ meetings. Most likely, the trustee will be the only one asking you questions.
When the trustee calls your name, your attorney and you will go to the front of the room. The trustee will swear you in. You will promise to tell the truth. Then your 5-minute meeting with the trustee will begin. At this point the trustee’s questions should not come as a surprise. Simply answer these questions truthfully and remember that you are under oath and all your answers are being recorded.
Once your meeting with a trustee is over, you will go home and wait. There is one last step you need to take at this time. You need to complete a budget counseling course required by law. Once you get a certificate that you have completed this second course, it should be filed with the bankruptcy court.
In a typical Chapter 7 case, unless you seek approval of a reaffirmation agreement, you probably won’t have to make an appearance before a bankruptcy judge.
If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then within the next two or three months after your creditors’ meeting the bankruptcy court will usually get your debts discharged. (If you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and your repayment plan was approved, for the next three or five years you will have to make regular monthly payments to the trustee to repay at least some portion of your debts. When you complete your repayment plan, the remaining unpaid balance of your debts will be wiped off).
Once you receive a discharge order from the court, your new financial life officially begins. All your debts that you are entitled to discharge have been discharged and you are no longer liable to pay them.