While some people may think of bankruptcy as a four-letter word, the fact of the matter is that it can offer those drowning in debt a financial lifeline. Indeed, this was a fundamental goal of Congress when they passed the federal bankruptcy laws. The Supreme Court clarified that these laws give debtors a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort. And, demystifying the bankruptcy process can go a long way in helping those in Frankfort, Illinois, who need that fresh financial start to take that first step.
United States Bankruptcy Code
The United States Bankruptcy Code is in Title 11 of the United States Code, and bankruptcy proceedings are governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure also contain all of the bankruptcy forms.
There are 90 bankruptcy districts and each bankruptcy court has their own local rules of practice and procedure rules as well. These are published on each court’s website and are available at the clerk’s office.
The person who presides over the Will County, Illinois, bankruptcy case is the bankruptcy judge, who is the ultimate decision maker in every bankruptcy case. This includes whether you qualify to file for a particular chapter, the debts that qualify for discharge, etc. However, most of the cases are administrative, and the person who performs these administrative functions is the bankruptcy trustee for Chapters 7, 12, 13 and sometimes, 11.
What is your involvement?
Once you fill out the paperwork, your involvement is limited. Even a Chapter 7 filer does not appear in court or see the judge unless some objection is raised. Chapter 13 filers appear for their debt repayment plan confirmation hearing.
In fact, the only formal hearings that filers attend are the ones where they meet with the creditors and the bankruptcy trustee, called the 341 meetings. These are called 341 meetings based on Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code that requires filers to attend creditor meetings so that they can ask debtors about their property and debts. In future Will County legal blog posts, we will go into more detail on the bankruptcy chapters.