The Bankruptcy Court has been closely monitoring and following recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health officials and preparedness guidelines from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) regarding COVID-19 and is releasing updates almost daily. This article provides some guidance for frequently asked questions.
Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated April 21, 2022
The Bankruptcy Court has been closely monitoring and following recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health officials and preparedness guidelines from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AO) regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and is releasing updates almost daily.
Upsolve is still operating as normal, allowing users to complete the questionnaire, answering questions and releasing forms for filing to our users. This article will provide some answers to questions you may have about your bankruptcy case.
Quick access links for related content
We’re producing a number of articles in addition to updating this page. You will find a list with links to related content at the bottom of this article. Alternatively, you can visit our Learn Center Section on COVID-19 to find our newest articles.
For the latest news about YOUR court, visit your court’s website. Updates can most likely be found on the homepage in the “News” section of their website. Keep in mind, the clerk’s office is likely understaffed and overwhelmed with calls at this time, so be sure to see if the information on the court’s website answers your question before calling, unless the question is specific to an upcoming deadline or hearing in your case.
Can I Still File? What if My Court Is Closed?
Yes, you can still file your case. The first thing you should do is check your court’s website to see if they’ve published any specific guidance for your district. Even if your courthouse is closed to the public, the courts are still operating. Because of the pandemic, many courts expanded the filing options for pro se filers. You may be able to file by placing your forms in a dropbox at the court or by emailing or faxing in your forms.
Check out this article for more information on how to submit your forms to the court.
I Filed by Dropbox, Mail, Email, or Fax, How Will I Know My Forms Are Filed?
Your bankruptcy forms include your contact information. The clerk’s office will contact you by email or phone once your forms are filed. If you filed by mail, you should expect to receive confirmation via mail within 1-2 weeks.
Do I Still Have To Pay My Filing Fee?
Yes. For more information on how to pay your filing fee, click here.
What Can I Expect if I Need To Go to Court?
Check with the court’s website to see whether the court is open to the public and allowing visitors. Know that some courts are screening visitors before they enter the court. They may also ask if you're experiencing some symptoms of illness. In most cases, if you answer “yes,” you'll be denied entrance to the building or courthouse. Mask mandates are often set locally and may or may not be in place at your local courthouse.
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What Can I Expect Overall When It Comes to My Bankruptcy Case?
Expect delays! The courts are open but many courts are operating with limited staff or staff working remotely. There will be delays in the processing of documents and both hearings and 341 meetings are being rescheduled or conducted telephonically in most districts.
I Just Filed. When Will My 341 Meeting Be Scheduled? When Will I Get My Form 309A?
You can expect to receive your Form 309A in the mail a few days after filing your case. This is the form that shows the date of your 341 meeting. We haven't seen any delays in the notice being mailed out, though there may be some delays due to slower mailing times. 341 meetings continue to be scheduled between 20–40 days from the date the case was filed with the court. Upsolve users can check their court notices in their my.upsolve accounts.
Do I Still Have To Meet the Deadlines in My Case?
Yes! You should plan to meet all deadlines set in your case. This includes payment due dates, deadlines to cure deficiencies, the deadline to submit the financial management course certificate, and any deadlines to provide your trustee requested documents. You don't want to have your case dismissed for missing a deadline.
What if I Have a Hearing Scheduled in My Case?
Most hearings are being changed to telephonic hearings. If you have a hearing coming up in your case, keep an eye out for notices from the court about whether it’s going to be rescheduled or how to call in for the hearing.
What About My 341 Meeting of Creditors?
The Office of the United States Trustee handles everything related to the 341 meetings. At the moment, all 341 meetings are happening telephonically or virtually. Because of this your trustee or the U.S. Trustee may send you a form to complete and sign in front of a notary public. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact your trustee directly.
My Trustee Sent Me an Affidavit of Debtor Regarding a Telephonic Hearing. Do I Need To Sign It?
Yes. The trustee has a duty to check your identity, and that’s hard to do when the 341 meeting is taking place via telephone or videoconference. That's why your trustee or the court may send you an “Affidavit of Debtor” or similar form to verify your identity. These affidavits have to be notarized. You'll need to bring your ID and proof of Social Security number with you to the notary. If you have any trouble finding a notary public, contact your trustee as soon as possible.
Will This Delay My Discharge?
It can. A filer cannot receive a discharge until after a 341 meeting has been conducted. Some courts are rescheduling 341 meetings and extending related case deadlines by 60 days, which also delays the earliest date for your discharge to be entered. The court and the trustee will keep you updated about rescheduled or continued 341 meetings. Along with staying in contact with your trustee, routinely check your mail and court notices for updates regarding your case. If your 341 meeting has already taken place, check your court notices for updates or check in with your trustee.
Will This Affect My Automatic Stay?
No. Other than the exceptions to the automatic stay, the automatic stay remains in place as long the case has not been dismissed.
Do I Need To Contact My Creditors?
No. Courts are confirming that “appropriate notice will be provided to parties in accordance with bankruptcy law and rules.”
We will continue to monitor updates from the courts and post answers to questions we receive. The court is asking all parties to be patient as they work through their new procedures. Upsolve will remain open and our employees are continuing to work remotely until further notice. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at help.upsolve.org!