What Is Bankruptcy Court

The bankruptcy court is a part of the federal district court in each judicial district. If you’re filing a bankruptcy in Charlotte, North Carolina, you file in the Western District of North Carolina.

The bankruptcy court examines (in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy) the bankruptcy estate of the petitioner. The bankruptcy estate is created when you file your bankruptcy petition and consists of all property and property rights the debtor has at the time of filing. The bankruptcy estate can also include amounts recovered by the bankruptcy trustee who oversees the case. For instance, property which recently left the estate in violation of the rules of bankruptcy. For this reason, the timing of your filing is something your bankruptcy attorney will discuss with you.

Generally, property acquired by the debtor/petitioner after commencement of the case does not enter the bankruptcy estate. There are exceptions, and most of them relate to property acquired within 180 days of the commencement of the case. Inheritance, life insurance, tax returns, or property you had a reasonable expectation of acquiring at the time you commenced the case, are among these.

After filing your bankruptcy petition, you and your attorney attend a 341 meeting of the creditors, overseen by the bankruptcy trustee. At this time, the trustee has had about 30 days to review your petition and you answer a few questions about your bankruptcy estate. Sometimes you are asked to clarify something disclosed on the petition; other times the trustee is asking about items you may not have disclosed, but which he or she has an obligation to discover—recent payments on a loan to a family member, for instance.

While creditors have the right to object to your petition and attend the 341 meeting, it is a rare occurrence in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcies are “no assets” cases with no nonexempt property, which means there is no money available to creditors to dispute over, or to claim.

After your brief 341 meeting, the trustee continues to review your file and once the time for objections has run, the trustee will typically enter a report of no distribution and recommend a discharge. There is nothing more for you to do, except begin rebuilding your credit.

Not sure if bankruptcy is the right decision for you, or if you qualify? It’s my job to help. Call 704.749.7747 today for a brief, free phone consultation. Get your questions answered today.