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New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyer Explains What Happens At A Chapter 7 Hearing

A New Jersey chapter 7 bankruptcy case requires only one hearing, which is called the Meeting of Creditors (MOC) or the 341(a) hearing.

The MOC is never held in a courtroom and the judge is never present. If your case is filed In Trenton, your MOC hearing is held in the courthouse, but not in a courtroom. If your case is filed in Newark, the MOC hearing is typically held in an office building in Newark. If your case is filed in Camden, your hearing is either held in an office building in Camden or Northfield.

The hearing is conducted by the trustee that is assigned to oversee your bankruptcy case. Typically, the trustee sits at a desk facing all of the debtors. When the trustee calls the debtors’ name, the debtor must approach the desk and sit down facing the trustee. There is a recording device on the table that records all testimony. The debtors must show the trustee a photo driver’s license and a social security card to provide proof of identity. There are alternative forms of identification that are acceptable. The debtor’s attorney should put the original signed bankruptcy petition on the table.

The hearing lasts about five to ten minutes depending on the complexity. Although the hearing is called a Meeting of Creditors, it is unusual for a creditor to appear and ask questions. The trustee is mainly interested in eliciting testimony regarding the debtor’s assets, income, expenses, and reason for the bankruptcy filing. The trustee must determine if the debtor has assets with a substantial value that he may sell. Also, the trustee must ensure that the debtor’s household income is less than their monthly expenses. Furthermore, the trustee must ensure that the debtor’s financial hardship is legitimate.

Some of the questions that are asked at the Meeting of Creditors are as follows: Did you review your petition for accuracy prior to signing? Is the information in your petition correct? Do you need to change any information in your petition? Does your petition include all of your assets? When did you buy your house? How much did you pay for your house? How much is your house worth now, if you were to sell your house? Do you own stocks or bonds? Do you have a savings account? Can you sue someone for money, for any reason? What is the reason for filing bankruptcy? Are you working? Has your income changed from the time of the bankruptcy filing?

Please contact NJ Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Robert Manchel at 1 (866) 503-5655 to discuss the process for chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

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