Changes in Bankruptcy Procedures Due to Coronavirus
We are currently in unprecedented times for most of us, and while there may be others amongst us those that have experienced unique challenges in their lives I must say that the current measures taken for the pandemic of the Corona virus are unique in my life. As such I would hazard a guess that that none of us would have seen where our world has arrived in the Spring of 2020. These events have caused many changes is our everyday interactions and for your Montgomery bankruptcy lawyers at The Sellers Law Firm, we and the US Bankruptcy Courts servicing the central Alabama areas have accepted the challenges of what we face. In order to continue to service our clients we want to let you know about certain changes in bankruptcy procedures and process that should not impact your legal protections while contemplating or working through the bankruptcy process.
First and foremost, The Sellers Law Firm is dedicated to maintaining their excellent level of services while trying to maintain you and your family's health as well as the health of the staff and their families. To that end we are limiting office visits to those that are entirely necessary. Even with that precaution we realize that there are still necessary visits to one of our four offices. When those required visits do occur, we do our upmost to disinfect the spaces that are used and follow social distancing guidelines to ensure no casual transfer of potentially harmful viruses. We are also using telephonic and virtual appointments whenever possible. Additionally, to our changes, the US Bankruptcy Court has also mandated additional changes.
As of now all in person court proceedings are being held telephonically. This means the required section 341 meetings of creditors conducted by the trustee's office will be done on a telephone conference. All petitioners for bankruptcy protections must participate in these hearings after filing their Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions. Our clients will be notified of the date, time, and contact number to dial into the hearing. These hearings are set at on the hour between 9:00 am and 11:00 am, as well as 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm. Your time will include 10 to 12 other petitioners at the same time. Please plan for an hour of your time for these hearings. You will be asked to keep your phone muted until your case is called. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOUR PHONE IS MUTED UNTIL YOUR CASE IS CALLED. Once your case is called then make sure you are in a quiet area with no background noises and of course no distractions. The trustee will put you under oath and ask many of the same questions that we have discussed during your interview and bankruptcy petition signing. Additional hearings such as confirmation of Chapter 13, which are not usually attended by petitioners, will also be held by telephone conference and any of the clients of The Sellers Law Firm will be notified if their attendance is required.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act") also impacts some individuals contemplating or currently under bankruptcy protections. For petitioners that are currently in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and with confirmed plans who have a "material financial hardship" due to coronavirus may seek plan modifications even to the point of extending their payments for up to seven years after their first plan payment was due. This could lower currently monthly bankruptcy payments. The second aid provided by the CARES Act is that receipt of stimulus payments will not be included as income for bankruptcy protection eligibility purposes. Also, these payments will not be added as monthly income to be included in the disposable income that is required for confirmation purposes.
While these changes in procedure may slow down some of the usual bankruptcy court process your Montgomery bankruptcy lawyers at The Sellers Law Firm want to assure you that the automatic stay, and discharge procedure which protects petitioners from debt collectors will continue be in place. We are here to help you during these uncertain times, and a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a great tool to use to help keep your property and your money.
The Sellers Law Firm has locations in Montgomery, Selma, Grenville, and Troy. All consultations are always free! You may contact us at 334-LAWYERS (529-9377) or you may use the "contact us" form or "text us" feature on our website. You may email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember that doing nothing changes nothing so call us today!
The Sellers Law Firm is designated a debt relief agency by an Act of Congress and the President of the United States. We have proudly assisted people seeking relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for four decades.