2020 Best Invention

Telephonic Hearings in Bankruptcy Court

2 minute read Upsolve is a nonprofit tool that helps you file bankruptcy for free. Think TurboTax for bankruptcy. Get free education, customer support, and community. Featured in Forbes 4x and funded by institutions like Harvard University so we'll never ask you for a credit card. Explore our free tool

In a Nutshell

A hearing is an appearance in court where one or more parties to the case show up in the courtroom to present something to the judge. A telephonic hearing is exactly what the name suggests: a court hearing that takes place over the telephone.

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer
Updated August 9, 2020

A hearing is an appearance in court where one or more parties to the case show up in the courtroom to present something to the judge. A telephonic hearing is exactly what the name suggests: a court hearing that takes place over the telephone. While the judge usually prefers to have all parties appear in the courtroom in person, there are times when telephonic hearings are scheduled instead. 

Will there be any hearings in my Chapter 7 case?

Typical no-asset Chapter 7 cases generally do not require hearings. If you’ve applied for a fee waiver, the court may require a hearing for it. If you’re reaffirming a car loan, the court may schedule a hearing about your reaffirmation agreement. 

How do telephonic hearings work? 

They work just like regular hearings. When the case is called, anyone who is in the courtroom for the hearing will walk up to the podium to announce themselves. Those who are participating telephonically will then announce themselves. The judge is on the bench and everyone in the courtroom can hear what is being said by the person calling in. 

Upsolve User Experiences

730+ Members Online
Anita Thompson
Anita Thompson
★★★★★ 9 days ago
Upsolve was my answer to filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. I couldn't afford an attorney and I was able to fill out the forms on my smartphone. It was explained in an easy-to-use format for the everyday lay person. This software is free to use and has YouTube videos as well. I highly recommend using Upsolve if you cannot afford an attorney.
Read more Google reviews ⇾
★★★★★ 10 days ago
I just had my 341 Meeting on May 5th at 10:30 am. The trustee first asked me to be sworn in by standing and raising my right hand. It was a little weird getting out my car, standing and raising my hand because I had to work that day, but I did so. I had to confirm my name for the record and have I read the bankruptcy information sheet; did I my petitions, and am I the one that signed then. Then the yes or no questions started exactly like the Upsolve 341 Meeting video. Have I filed bankruptcy before; my marital status; length of time since my divorce; do I owe alimony or child support; am I renting; place of employment; do I own a car; how much did I pay for it; have I ever owned real estate; view and verify the information on my tax form; have I listed all creditors. The trustee then said that he needed no further information, and there is nothing more I need to do and this concludes the meeting and I can hang up and finally breathed. The meeting lasted about 15 to 20 minutes! Now I’m waiting for the 60 days to be over, and pray that there truly is nothing more for me to do. Thank you so much Upsolve for being there for me, and for the chest compressions when the stress seemed a little too much at times. Your platform has truly been a blessing. I couldn’t have done this on my own. My prayers to everyone! Remember to breathe. One final thing. The questions that are asked by the trustee are not verbatim. They are similar. Just listen carefully and answer.
Read more Google reviews ⇾
Franky Gonzalez
Franky Gonzalez
★★★★★ 11 days ago
I was kinda scared at first to use with recommendation from local pro bono legal service told me use this service to file. I took me a few months to finally file. finally did it and what a huge relief. the community in general is very helpful.
Read more Google reviews ⇾

How do I know whether my hearing is telephonic?

When you receive the notice about the hearing from the court it will tell you when and where to appear. If attending the hearing telephonically is an option by default, the notice will tell you. If there is nothing about appearing telephonically on the court notice, you’re not able to appear telephonically without first clearing it with the court. 

Can I ask to appear telephonically even if the hearing is scheduled as an in person hearing? 

Yes. Each court and often times each judge has a different policy when it comes to telephonic hearings. If personally attending a court hearing scheduled in your case presents a hardship for you, contact the clerk’s office at the court where you filed your case to find out whether and how you can participate in the hearing by calling in, rather than showing up in person. Keep in mind, though, that just because you’ve asked about appearing for the hearing by telephone does not mean it’s automatically allowed. If you’re not sure whether you’re allowed to participate in the hearing telephonically, it’s best to show up in person, just in case. 

Is there anything else I should know about telephonic hearings? 

Call at the appointed time. It’s important to be on time for all court hearings. This includes hearings that you’re attending telephonically. Unless specifically instructed otherwise (by court staff) when you make the arrangements to appear telephonically, call in a few minutes before the time set for the hearing. 

Mute your phone until it’s your turn to talk. As mentioned above, everyone in the courtroom can hear what the person who is appearing by telephone is saying. This includes any noise that may be going on in the background. If multiple hearings are scheduled for the same time, you may be on the phone for a while until your case is called. Make sure you have your phone on MUTE during this time. Otherwise, anything you do can be heard - loud and clear - in the courtroom. 

Make sure you have a good phone connection. If possible, plan to call in from a landline. If you don’t have access to a landline, call from a spot where you know you have good reception. If your call is interrupted due to a bad connection, you may miss the hearing, which can have negative consequences. 

Remember, it’s still a court hearing. Even though you’re calling in, remember that this is still a hearing before a federal bankruptcy judge. Make sure you’re prepared and have any documents that you may need in front of you when you make the call. 

Can my 341 meeting be a telephonic hearing?

Generally, no. When we speak of telephonic hearings, or hearings in general, it typically means an appearance before the judge, in the courtroom. While the 341 meeting is sometimes referred to as a hearing, it really isn’t one. It’s a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee and generally requires the filer to appear in person so their identity can be verified. If you have a disability or health issue that makes it hard for you to travel to court for this meeting, contact your trustee directly to see what kind of accommodations are available, if any.

Written By:

Attorney Andrea Wimmer


Andrea practiced exclusively as a bankruptcy attorney in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team as Managing Editor. While in private practice, Andrea handled... read more about Attorney Andrea Wimmer

It's easy to get help

Choose one of the options below to get assistance with your bankruptcy:

Free Web App

Take our screener to see if Upsolve is right for you.

Take Screener
9,329 families have filed with Upsolve! ☆

Private Attorney

Get a free bankruptcy evaluation from an independent law firm.

Find Attorney

Learning Center

Research and understand your options with our articles and guides.

Go to Learning Center →

Already an Upsolve user?

Read Support Articles →


    + Show Articles

    Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

    To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.