Sometimes the Postman Brings Bad News: The Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

If you’re doing your job as a creditor, some of your defendants will file bankruptcy.  More than likely, the way you’ll find out is when the Clerk mails you a “Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines.”

This is the first mailing in a bankruptcy case, and a copy goes to all of the creditors and parties listed in the debtor’s bankruptcy Schedules.

In addition to putting the creditor on notice of the filing (and the imposition of the automatic stay), this Notice contains important information about the case, including:

  • What chapter the debtor filed (i.e. Chapter 7)
  • The name and address of the debtor’s attorney and the Trustee
  • The bankruptcy case number
  • The address of the Bankruptcy Court Clerk (and where/how to file pleadings)
  • The date, time, and location of the Meeting of Creditors
  • Deadlines to file Proofs of Claim (if any)
  • Deadlines to object to discharge or dischargeability of your debt

All of this information is relevant as you decide what your next step is. Over the next few weeks, I’ll revisit the various events and deadlines mentioned in the Notice in more detail.

For now, I’ll point to the bottom of the Notice, where there’s a line that shows how optimistic the bankruptcy system is about the recovery of assets:

“Please Do Not File A Proof of Claim Unless You Receive a Notice To Do So”

You see, you have to file a Claim in order to share in the distribution of the money that the Trustee recovers. So, basically, that’s the Clerk’s way of nicely saying, “Don’t Hold Your Breath.”

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