Changes in Bankruptcy Court Procedures Due to the Spread of Coronavirus

by Alison C Briggs on Apr. 20, 2020

Bankruptcy & Debt Bankruptcy & Debt  Bankruptcy Health Care  Health Care Other 

Summary: Since early March 2020 there have been many changes regarding the bankruptcy courts. You are still able to file for bankruptcy, however, most court proceedings and bankruptcy filings are happening over the phone or through ZOOM calls.

COVID-19 has Created a lot of Changes in the Bankruptcy Process.

As a result of the spread of COVID-19 and the quarantine measures put in place to slow it, gatherings of all kinds have been discouraged or banned entirely across the country.  These quarantine measures are too include most court hearings.  All 341 hearings in the Arizona District have been changed to either postponed or telephonic.  There is no one particular change to the hearings as it varies by trustee.

Other courts, such as the Family Court are still hearing emergency cases.  However, that is the family law courts.  Consult an experienced family law attorney if your trouble persists and you are needing assistance.  The COVID-19 pandemic is new territory for the Arizona courts and a problem our country has never faced before, the courts have had to come up with creative ways to address it.

Filing Your Bankruptcy Petition During COVID-19

Filing your bankruptcy petition can happen in a number of different ways.  If you have an attorney, they likely file all of their cases electronically, and not just in times of pandemic.  This is helpful as with an attorney's guidance, you can still easily file your bankruptcy on-line.

But....If you are representing yourself, or you are filing pro se, you typically would be able to go down to the courthouse and file your bankruptcy petition in person. Currently, this is not an option.  The current procedure is to attach a cover sheet to an envelope containing all of your documents and payment for filing.  ($310 for a chapter 13 and $335 for a chapter 7).  That envelope and filing fee is placed in a drop box that will be collected by a clerk and processed the next day.  This keeps the social distancing in place and is a safer method of getting your bankruptcy documents to the clerk.  Additionally, the bankruptcy court clerk is available to answer your questions by phone, however, in person won't happen until this pandemic is over.

341 Meeting of Creditors During Coronavirus

Starting in April, all of the current 341 hearings had been pushed back 4-6 weeks.  A 341 hearing, also know as a meeting ofcreditors is usually the only hearing that a person filing bankruptcy should have to attend.  These postponed 341's will all be held telephonically, please contact your bankruptcy attorney for additional information.

If you have already filed your case, you should be receiving information on how to call in for your hearing.  If not, contact your attorney.  Once you receive the information, make sure you are able to fulfill the trustees requests for holding the hearing.  Your Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help you with these accomodations. 

Our office offers free phone consultations and a secure online portal to upload your documents so your bankruptcy can be conducted entirely remote.  We have curtailed our filing process for COVID-19 to where you can either file bankruptcy by phone or file bankruptcy from home.  Other things that our office offers is Zero Down Bankruptcy Filing, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and medical and emergency bankruptcy filings.  Therefore, if you are struggling financially or with your health, you don’t have to risk you and your family’s health to file bankruptcy. Call to schedule your free debt evaluation and bankruptcy consultation.  Over the phone of course, we are a Coronavirus safe bankruptcy law office.

Additionally, when considering filing for bankruptcy, it is good to check out various bankruptcy blogs for additional information about filing for bankruptcy.  Plus, it is also a good idea to seek out an experienced bankruptcy attorney offering a variety of debt relief options like:  Filing bankruptcy with $0 down, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, No Money Down Bankruptcy, as well as file bankruptcy by phone, emergency bankruptcy filings, medical debt bankruptcy, and same day bankruptcy filings.

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