Failing to show up at a scheduled motion hearing in bankruptcy court when you are required to do so could lead the judge to issue a default judgment against you on the motion under review. Also, there is a significant risk that your petition for bankruptcy relief could be dismissed altogether.
Motion Hearing Requirements
As the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts explains, a motion is a request for the judge to grant some form of relief or issue an order in the case. A debtor represented by an attorney will typically have to attend a hearing on the motion only when specifically required by the judge. However, debtors representing themselves in bankruptcy court are required to personally attend all motion hearings.
Consequences for Failing to Attend
Potential consequences for failing to appear at a bankruptcy motion hearing when required include contempt-of-court penalties and a default judgment on the motion under review. Moreover, a judge has the discretion to dismiss the bankruptcy petition if the debtor is unduly delaying the case.
Effects on Debt Relief
Failing to show up at a hearing when required can cause serious problems for the debtor in his attempt to obtain debt relief. For example, all debtors are required to attend the meeting with creditors mandated under Section 341 of the federal bankruptcy law, even when represented by an attorney, so failing to appear poses a significant risk that the judge will dismiss the case.
References & Resources
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts: A Guide for the Self-Represented Debtor in a Bankruptcy Case
- Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute: Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Rule 9020, Contempt Proceedings
- Leagle: In re Ryan
- Law Offices of Betty Nguyen Davis, Atlanta Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog: Do I Have to Go to Court if I File Bankruptcy in Atlanta, Georgia?
- Leagle: In re Doremus
- Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute: 11 USC § 707
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia: Debtor Frequently Asked Questions
- U.S. Courts: Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney
- Thomson Reuters: Bankruptcy Procedure Manual
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