If you live in Florida and are filing for bankruptcy, your case will be in either one of the following districts: Southern, Middle, or Northern. After your bankruptcy case is filed, approximately 30 to 40 days later you will attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors. At the Meeting of Creditors, the bankruptcy trustee will ask you questions about your bankruptcy petition. While every bankruptcy trustee and district is different, for the most part it’s the same procedure. However, the Middle District's Jacksonville division (covering these counties) is different because there is a telephone conference before your 341 Meeting of Creditors. But don’t worry, at Upsolve, we are here to help you free of charge and guide you through the process.
Continue reading to learn about the steps involved with your bankruptcy case including the Middle District of Florida Jacksonville division.
Florida 341 Meeting of Creditors
At the 341 Meeting of Creditors, usually held at one of the federal courthouses, the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case will conduct your hearing, not a bankruptcy judge. The trustee’s job is to handle your case which includes reviewing your petition, the documents you’re required to provide and confirm the valuation of your property called assets. The 341 Meeting takes approximately 5 minutes and creditors rarely appear. You must present your original Social Security card and driver’s license to the trustee.
Standard questions at the 341 Meeting are:
- Did you review your bankruptcy petition before you filed it?
- Is the bankruptcy petition true and correct?
- Do you need to add anything to your petition?
- If you own a car or home, you will be asked if you are keeping your property and if you’re current on your payments?
- Are you involved in any lawsuits that you expect to receive money from?
- Did you provide a true and correct copy of your tax returns and other requested documents?
Since 341 Meetings only last a few minutes, a bankruptcy trustee is not likely to go into details about your case. If they have additional questions or need additional documents to be submitted, they will ask you to provide the documents and may continue your hearing for another day. Therefore, it's important to comply with requests before the hearing to avoid having to return.
Middle District of Florida
The Middle District of Florida is divided into the following divisions: Fort Myers, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa. Continue reading about the Middle District of Florida Jacksonville division if you live in one of the following counties: Baker, Bradford, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Marion, Nassau, Putnam, St. John’s, Sumter, Suwannee, and Union. If you're filing in the Middle District, make sure to review our guidance regarding the specific requirements for providing the court with your creditors' addresses.
Besides the standard questions asked at a 341 Meeting, if you live in the Middle District Jacksonville Division you will also have a telephone conference with the bankruptcy trustee before your hearing. This extra step is not typical in Chapter 7 bankruptcies. Just like the bankruptcy hearing, the telephone conference is also brief, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Whether you filed your bankruptcy case in the Jacksonville division with or without a bankruptcy lawyer, the telephone conference is between you and the bankruptcy trustee. Your lawyer can participate and, at a minimum, should prepare you for the call. The trustee will notify you of the phone conference via mail. The letter will be sent to the address listed on the bankruptcy petition. Therefore, make sure to keep your address current. The letter will also state the date and time your phone conference will take place. You will call the trustee's office at that time, they won't call you. You also don't have to confirm your appointment.
If you miss your telephone conference or aren’t available on the scheduled date and time, another date is listed for an “open call.” However, it’s better to call on the scheduled date and time to avoid lengthy hold times on open call days. If you and your spouse filed for bankruptcy together, only one of you is required to speak with the trustee, but both of you can still call together at the scheduled date and time.
The trustee must receive the required documents before the telephone conference. If not, the phone conference won’t be held. The list of required documents will be in the trustee's letter. Make sure to provide the trustee with copies, not originals. The required documents include:
- Bank statements (last 6 to 12 months);
- Last 6 months of paystubs;
- Retirement accounts;
- Car title, registration, and proof of insurance;
- Last 3 years of tax returns;
- Copies to the deed of your house;
- Copy of Social Security card and driver’s license;
- Documents of a divorce case within the last 4 years.
Each trustee has different ways in which they prefer to receive the documents. The letter will explain the preferred method which includes copies by regular mail or uploaded via a secured link. Unlike the Southern District of Florida, where an attorney submits documents on behalf of clients, in the Middle District Jacksonville division, the bankruptcy filer should make sure the documents are received timely by the trustee, even if they have an attorney. If you hire a bankruptcy attorney, confirm who sends the documents to the trustee.
At the phone conference, you will be asked the same questions as listed above. However, note that at the 341 Meeting, if you need a translator, one is provided for you free of charge through the Bankruptcy Court’s translator service. However, a translator won’t be provided for the phone conference. In that case, the trustee will likely cancel the phone conference and speak to you for the first time at the 341 meeting.
At Upsolve, we are here to help with your Florida bankruptcy. Our website offers hundreds of free articles on bankruptcy and related subjects for every state. As an online nonprofit organization, we’ve helped thousands of families file for bankruptcy. Even if you don’t qualify for our free bankruptcy service, we can still help you by referring you to a local bankruptcy attorney.