Going to Court in Bankruptcy

Every debtor that files a bankruptcy must make one court appearance where they attend their meeting of creditors, also called a 341 meeting. However, in most cases a debtor will never step foot in a formal court room or appear before the bankruptcy judge.

During the 341 hearing the judge is not present and the hearing is held in a meeting room rather than in a courtroom. You will be sworn in to testify under oath, but the rules of evidence are not enforced as they would be if a judge were present. The trustee assigned to the case is present and will ask the debtor questions about their bankruptcy paperwork. Creditors are allowed to show up at the meeting and ask the debtor questions, but in most cases, no creditors show up at all.

What Happens at the Meeting?

Your attorney or another attorney from their office will attend the 341 hearing with you. Other debtors and their attorneys will be in the same meeting room, so it is important to be quiet while waiting for your case to be called. The trustee will call cases individually, usually reading both the case number and the name of the debtor and put the debtor under oath to answer questions after examining your ID and your proof of social security number. If you do not have these IDs, your meeting will likely be rescheduled so you can gather these items. In some cases, if a meeting is held within a federal courthouse, you may not even be able to enter the building without your photo ID.

Once the trustee verifies your identity and swears you in, they will begin to ask you questions. There are some standard questions that everyone must be asked. Standard questions asked by the trustee include:

  • Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents?
  • Did you list all of you assets?
  • Did you list all of your creditors?
  • Do you owe anybody support outside your home such as child support?
  • Are there any errors or omissions I should know about?
  • Have you filed all required tax returns for the last 4 years?

The trustee may ask additional questions to understand the big picture of your financial situation, such as what kinds of vehicles you have, how they are running, or about possible lawsuits you may have or higher areas of expense in your budget. If a lawsuit or budget area deals with a sensitive personal topic, such as medical conditions or loss of a loved one, let your attorney know before the hearing that you do not feel comfortable going into detail on the record. Your attorney can interrupt the meeting and request that the information be sent to the trustee via email to preserve privacy.

Sometimes the trustee needs more information after the hearing and will typically request additional information or documents at the meeting. However, most 341 hearings are concluded after the debtors first appearance. Below is location information for the bankruptcy courtroom and 341 meeting of creditors and the process for appearing by phone during the pandemic.

TOPEKA

Court hearings are held in the Federal Courthouse and 341 meeting are held at the downtown US post office.

Frank Carlson Federal Building
444 SE Quincy St,
Topeka, KS 66683

  • The bankruptcy Clerk’s office is in Room 240.
  • The courtrooms are located in Rooms 210 and 220
  • There is no parking at the federal building. You can park in the Townsite Parking garage located on 5th street between Kansas Ave and Quincy St. Fees are $1/hour. At times the garage can fill quickly so please allow enough time to locate a parking space and for the short walk to the building.

KANSAS CITY

Both 341 meetings and court hearing are held in the Federal Courthouse

Robert J. Dole U.S. Courthouse
500 State Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66101

  • The Clerks office is in Room 161
  • 341 hearings are held in Room 173
  • The courtrooms are Room 151 and 144.
  • Accessible parking is available in the gated lot on the southwest corner of the building. Public parking is available on the southeast corner of 5th and Washington, in a large unused parking lot.

WICHITA

Both 341 meetings and court hearing are held in the Federal Courthouse

U.S. Courthouse
401 N. Market
Wichita, KS. 67202

  • The Clerk’s office is in room 167
  • Several pay lots are available near the courthouse including a Public Parking Lot at the southwest corner of 3rd and Main Street. Parking fees vary but on average cost $5.00 per day. There is also 2 hour metered parking available within walking distance to the courthouse.

APPEARING BY PHONE

During Covid most hearings are being held by phone on a conference call system. These remote hearings are temporary and we expect that the courts will open back up for in person hearings in the next year. You will be given a phone number to call and a code to enter the conference call. You are often on the phone with as many as 20 other people waiting for their hearing and the trustee asks you to mute your phone until it is your turn. The process for conducting the hearing and the questions asked are the same as in person.

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