Filing for consumer bankruptcy under any circumstances is a complicated task. To be sure, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code is extremely complicated, and both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases require significant documentation and specific filing requirements. Accordingly, even in the best circumstances, it is critical to have an experienced Ohio consumer bankruptcy lawyer on your side. Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, bankruptcy cases have involved more complications than usual. Given that so many Americans have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus emergency and have not been able to return to work, increased bankruptcy filings are likely.
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to make sure you understand some of the ways in which public health restrictions could affect your bankruptcy case.
You Can Still Seek Assistance from a Bankruptcy Lawyer
You might be concerned that you will not be able to work with a bankruptcy attorney since many lawyers and law firms are working from home to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is extremely important to know that lawyers are still taking new bankruptcy cases and representing consumers in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. While it may be necessary to meet virtually and to handle the details of a bankruptcy case within a physical in-person meeting, all of the important and necessary aspects of a lawyer-client relationship have remained the same. Our Toledo bankruptcy lawyers remain here to assist debtors with consumer bankruptcy cases.
Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses Will Remain Online
When you file for consumer bankruptcy, you are required to attend pre-bankruptcy credit counseling and a post-bankruptcy debtor education course. Even prior to the pandemic, debtors who were seeking bankruptcy protection could complete these requirements online. Given that the pandemic has resulted in many in-person requirements shifting to a virtual model, you likely will not be surprised to learn that credit counseling and debtor education courses will remain online. To be clear, when it comes to completing these requirements, the COVID-19 pandemic has not changed anything.
341 Meeting of Creditors Will Be Conducted Virtually
In a typical bankruptcy case, the 341 Meeting of Creditors is always conducted in person and is a requirement for the bankruptcy case to move forward and for the debtor to receive a discharge. While the pandemic has indeed resulted in the 341 Meeting of Creditors moving to an online or virtual environment, you should know that this requirement will still be able to take place and your bankruptcy case can continue to move forward.
In short, although the pandemic has shifted some elements of a bankruptcy case, the COVID-19 emergency is not stopping debtors from filing for bankruptcy or receiving discharges.
Contact a Toledo Bankruptcy Attorney
For the most part, bankruptcy filings will not change in form due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you should anticipate that you may need to have your case heard virtually, and you may need to attend required meetings or hearings virtually instead of going into a courtroom and standing before a judge. Yet when it comes to having an experienced Toledo bankruptcy attorney on your side, our firm will be here for you every step of the way—whether we do so virtually or in person. Contact Groth & Associates today for more information about how we can assist you.