Bankruptcy is not to be taken lightly; it is a serious undertaking with significant benefits for those who use it wisely. Filing bankruptcy can help you keep your home and relieve yourself of overwhelming debt. However, along with these benefits come some serious responsibilities.
Your bankruptcy petition and financial statements need to be filed accurately, and you may be required to appear at hearings before a judge of the bankruptcy court to answer questions regarding your financial situation and to petition for bankruptcy. Consult a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to assist you with the process of filing for bankruptcy.
You and the Bankruptcy Court
When filing bankruptcy, you must be accurate with the information you provide to the bankruptcy court. All of the information you provide in your statement of financial affairs and your bankruptcy schedules needs to be accurate and thorough.
You will be required to swear under penalty of perjury to the veracity and completeness of the information you submit in the documents to the bankruptcy court and in your testimony at the 341 meeting. Any violation of this duty may be met with severe consequences.
Sometimes people transfer the title to certain assets to friends or family to hold for them while they file bankruptcy. This action is a violation of the duty you have to disclose fully your assets; and it is a bankruptcy fraud, since all transfers of assets which occur in the recent period prior to filing for bankruptcy must be disclosed.
In addition to swearing under oath to the accuracy of your bankruptcy documents, you will be required to sign each document in order to certify the documents are complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge.
The possible consequences for dishonesty and concealment in these documents include denial of financial discharge and criminal prosecution, which can result in stiff fines and even incarceration for a period of up to five years.
If you are dishonest with the bankruptcy court, there is a high probability you will caught. The trustees who review bankruptcy petitions have reviewed thousands of cases, so they have a keen eye for things that don’t add up and they know what questions to ask to verify the information you have provided. It is not in your best interest to attempt to conceal or withhold information from the court.
Your Bankruptcy Court Hearings
Depending on the complexity of your bankruptcy case and the chapter of bankruptcy under which you are filing , you may be required to appear before a judge of the bankruptcy court to answer questions regarding your bankruptcy petition. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may only need to appear at a hearing for the judge to approve your bankruptcy plan.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, you will not typically need to appear in court unless an objection to your bankruptcy has been raised by a creditor, or unless you wish to reaffirm a debt in order to keep the property by which the debt is secured.
For example, if you want to keep your car, you may need to attend a reaffirmation hearing where a judge will decide if your reaffirmation agreement with the creditor should be approved. The judge will first inform you of the consequences of reaffirming the debt and the alternatives to doing so. He will then make sure you can handle the debt payments before finally making a judgment in your best interest that will not impose undue hardship upon you.
Filing bankruptcy is a serious undertaking that comes with significant benefits and responsibilities. You must provide accurate and honest information to the bankruptcy court, and you may be required to attend hearings before a judge of the court to respond to questions regarding your ability to repay your debt.
The consequences of being dishonest in your bankruptcy petition are simply too severe to risk. You risk being denied a discharge, as well as possible criminal prosecution. Sloppiness and negligence in your documents may lead to the conclusion that there may be some problems with the information you provide. So, it is important that you 1) take your time, 2) be accurate, and 3) be honest when providing information to the bankruptcy court. Additionally, it is wise to consult a skilled bankruptcy attorney to assist you through the bankruptcy process.
Free Bankruptcy Consultation
Call (405) 563-7888 for a free consultation with a Oklahoma City bankruptcy lawyer, or (888) Debt-Line for an Oklahoma bankruptcy attorney handling bankruptcies statewide. With a ten (10) minute, free phone consultation with one of Debt Line’s Oklahoma City bankruptcy lawyers, you can know what you qualify for and the costs and procedures involved.