In an average Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the person filing the case typically will only need to appear in court one time. That hearing is called a Meeting of Creditors. On that day, you and your attorney will meet with the bankruptcy Trustee, and he or she will have questions for you about your home finances and about your bankruptcy case. The meeting gets its name from the fact that your creditors can also attend the meeting to listen to the answers you give to the Trustee’s questions. When the Trustee is finished, your creditors also have an opportunity to ask you questions while you are still under oath. However, the Meeting of Creditors is not intended to be a long or drawn out hearing. Most Meetings take only five to ten minutes. If your case is more complicated, or a particular creditor has more questions than can be answered in just the short amount of time provided at the Meeting of Creditors, that creditor may file for a Rule 2004 Exam.
Rule 2004 Exam
The exam gets its name from Rule 2004 of the Bankruptcy Rules of Procedure. This Rule states after the filing of a motion, the bankruptcy court can order any entity to answer the questions of the moving party. The entity being questioned can also be ordered to provide documents or other things to be examined or inspected. A Rule 2004 Exam is basically the same as a deposition that might occur in a state court case. You and your attorney will meet with the creditor’s attorney and a court reporter. The creditor’s attorney then has the right to ask you questions under oath about your finances as they relate to the bankruptcy, but the creditor cannot use a 2004 Exam to question you about other aspects of your life. Generally these kinds of exams only happen when your past business with a creditor has been especially complicated and the creditor is trying to determine exactly how they will be affected by the filing of your bankruptcy case.
While it is certainly possible to file a bankruptcy case yourself, you’re most likely going to want an experienced bankruptcy attorney on your side. If you’re thinking of filing bankruptcy and you aren’t sure how some of your creditors might react, please call one of our Bond & Botes affiliated offices. We offer free initial consultations and all of our attorneys have experience dealing with creditors on behalf of our clients. Don’t let uncertainty about the bankruptcy process prevent you from getting the help you need.
Nick Gajewski is an Associate Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law. Nick joined the team of Bond & Botes bankruptcy lawyers back in 2014 and has been helping clients navigate financial issues since. Read his full bio here.