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Jeff Mathias, Iowa Bankruptcy Attorney 4800 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 218
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Tel. 515-261-7526
Toll Free 1-800-997-1395 jeff.mathias@gmail.com

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Iowa Bankruptcy Guide:
Chapter V - The Iowa Bankruptcy Hearing and Discharge

The Bankruptcy Code requires a Meeting of Creditors, commonly referred to as "the hearing" or "the 341 examination" since it appears in Chapter 341 of the Bankruptcy code. Des Moines hearings are held at 210 Walnut Street, Suite 783, the Federal Building, not the Federal Courthouse. If your hearing is in another area in Iowa you will need to check with your attorney to see where your hearing will be held. It will also appear on the Notice you receive from the bankruptcy clerk shortly after filing your case.

At your hearing there is no Judge or courtroom, just a panel trustee. The panel trustee who handles your case works for the United States Bankruptcy Trustee.

Hearings are scheduled Monday through Friday starting at each hour. Your hearing will be called sometime during your hour, usually alphabetically by attorney name, see the schedule posted on the bulletin board in the waiting room.

The trustee is an attorney appointed by the Judge and at the hearing will verify the contents of your petition by asking you such questions as:

federal building entranceCommon Hearing Questions you may be asked:

  • Did you review the petition before you signed it?
  • Is the petition accurate?
  • Did you list all your assets?
  • Did you list all your debt?
  • Did you list all your bank accounts?
  • Did you have more than $1,000 on hand in bank accounts and cash when you filed your bankruptcy?
  • How long have you lived in Iowa?
  • Have you filed bankruptcy before? When?
  • Have you paid one unsecured creditor more than $600 in the past 90 days? (They don't care about house/car payments)
  • Have you repaid money to family in the past year? (If so, they can take this money back)
  • Have you transferred property away?
  • Do you have a claim or lawsuit against anyone?
  • Does anyone owe you money?
  • Do you pay child support? If yes, they will want you to provide (again), the name and address of the person who receives the support.
  • Are you still with the same employer?
  • Have you had your own business within the last 6 years?
  • Do you have whole life insurance with cash value? (This is fine as long as the beneficiary is your spouse or child)
  • Did Jeff discuss with you the option to file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?
  • They may mention that an inheritance or life insurance proceeds within 6 months of your bankruptcy must be reported.
  • Do you have a written contract with Jeff? (Yes, it is in the blue packet Jeff gives you in the office).

The United States Bankruptcy Trustee Handbook provides more information on how hearings are administered.

Chances are you will have heard all the questions from your attorney before, plus you can listen to some hearings before yours is called. If so, you will have resolved potential problems with your case early, so it will be a fairly quick hearing. Des Moines Bankruptcy Hearing Videos.

You will want to arrive early and allow time for parking in a nearby garage or on a meter. It will also take some time to go through security and you may be sent back to your car if you have a pocket knife or something, so extra time can be very helpful. Be sure to bring your photo ID, they may ask to see it as you enter the building. Des Moines Bankruptcy Court link.

federal buildingThere may be a legal assistant and several other debtors there as well. The trustee will call out the hearings by your name when ready for you. Your attorney will be present and sit next to you during the hearing. You can confer with your attorney during the hearing. Your attorney will know if he/she should speak up if an improper question is asked of you by the trustee or creditors. Normally, no creditors show up.

Under the bankruptcy law which started in 2005 there are more document requirements at the hearing, but you can provide bank and wage statements to your attorney by email before the hearing.

Google Map - Federal Building - 210 Walnut in Des Moines. Hearing Information.

Discharge occurs about 9 weeks after your hearing. For most people, this is the last meaningful event. You will get a copy of your discharge in the mail.

To get him out from under foot, in 1690 King Charles II granted William Penn an estate in the American colonies. Penn created a Quaker refuge and his manager borrowed to the hilt on the estate and fled with the money. Penn was left holding the bag and ended up in a British debtors prison. His former estate became the State of Pennsylvania.

Des Moines, Iowa bankruptcy attorney Jeff Mathias handles Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, All Iowa Counties. Jeff's Facebook page.

Jeff Mathias
Iowa Bankruptcy Attorney
Statewide Practice, All 99 Iowa Counties

4800 Mills Civic Parkway, Suite 218
West Des Moines, Iowa 50265
Tel. 515-261-7526
Toll Free 1-800-997-1395