The only time most people who file bankruptcy will have to be in court is for the meeting of creditors. This meeting, also known as the 341 meeting, often will not even take place in a courtroom, and it does not involve a judge.

According to the U.S. Courts, the meeting of creditors is a required appearance that you must make as part of the process. If you file jointly, you and your spouse must both show up to the meeting.

The participants

Besides you and your spouse, if filing jointly, your attorney will be present at the meeting. The trustee in your case will run the meeting. There will usually be a clerk present as well who will assist the trustee.

Other bankruptcy filers in your area will also likely be there. You each will have your own turn speaking with the trustee but they can sit in the room the whole time.

You may also have creditors present.

The purpose

Chapter 341 of the bankruptcy code requires this meeting to allow your creditors the chance to ask questions about your debts and assets to ensure you really cannot pay your debt.

The 341 meeting allows creditors to object to your bankruptcy. They may object on the basis of fraud or for another reason and ask the trustee to order you to pay the debt you owe them.

It is also the time when the trustee will ask you for your sworn statement and gather any additional information he or she needs. You must answer all questions the trustee asks of you.