To say the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic has changed everything is an understatement. It is estimated that 1/3 of businesses and rental unit tenants did not pay their rent on time in March or April. That number is expected to climb as the lockdown of our businesses and people continues amid the COVID-19 risks of infection and serious illness, in some cases death. Luckily, in Ventura County, we’ve not had the level of infections that Americans in New York City are having. Still, our county next door, Los Angeles County is not exactly having the same stellar results that we are enjoying in Ventura County.
With financial worries mounting, and everything changing week by week, you may be wondering how all this will affect you if you file for bankruptcy or are already in the process of your bankruptcy. Well, we here at Brent George Law are here to help. We are carefully following all the changes as they appear, and we are here to help you through the bankruptcy process during these incredibly challenging times. Let’s discuss some of the changes you’ll be dealing with and answer some of your most important questions.
Are the Bankruptcy Courts Still Open?
Yes, However, most court hearings will be done over the phone, not in person. Everything you say will be recorded and entered into the official record as if you were in person. If you fail to make yourself available at the prescribed time, it can and most likely will be entered into the record as a ‘no show’ and that’s a big no-no with the court.
Can I Still File for Bankruptcy During the Corona Virus Shutdown?
Yes, the courts are still allowing bankruptcy cases and motions to be filed during the Coronavirus crisis. The only real difference is bankruptcy and court appearances will be observing the new Coronavirus pandemic protocols.
Will My 341 Bankruptcy Meeting be Postponed
All pending 341(a) meetings of creditors (initially scheduled for March 25, 2020, through April 10, 2020) have been continued to a later date, most to be determined. This order will probably be extended. Everything remains fluid right now.
In a Chapter 13 case, the continuance of the creditor meetings does not relieve debtors of their obligation to commence making plan payments to the Trustee not later than 30 days after the date the petition was filed. Debtors may make these payments electronically on tfs.com
Can I Keep the Economic Relief Payments I Receive During the COVID-19 Economic Crisis?
The bankruptcy trustee will not be seeking the turnover of any economic relief payments related to the coronavirus economic crisis. That money you may use for your most immediate financial needs.
Do I Still Need to Make My Mortgage Payments During the Corona Virus Shutdown?
Yes. You will still need to continue to make payments as promised. Under certain circumstances we may be able to get some relief from the court.
If you haven’t filed yet, we may be about to get some relief from your creditor as per the new laws passed by Congress. Of course, your bank holding your mortgage must be notified of your financial challenges or job loss prior to you missing payments.
Will My Bankruptcy Discharge Be Delayed Due to the Corona Virus Crisis?
Your final bankruptcy discharge may be put off if your 341 meeting is rescheduled or continued until further notice. Stay informed with updates from your court or trustee. Updated information may also be sent to you by mail, even after your meeting has taken place. It’s important that you follow all the requirements communicated to you, there are no excuses for missing hearings, or court dates.
Will My Bankruptcy Automatic Stay Be Affected by These Changes Due to COVID-19?
Not unless your bankruptcy case has been dismissed. Otherwise, the automatic stay will remain in effect unless certain exceptions are met, such as your creditor requests relief from stay. Debtors who file multiple bankruptcy cases in a short amount of time may be denied an automatic stay as well and you won’t be allowed to use the Coronavirus as an excuse.
Should I Contact My Creditors During this Corona Virus Crisis?
The court will provide notice to creditors in accordance with the law, so you don’t need to contact your creditors.
Need Help with Your Bankruptcy During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
At Brent George Law we are here to help you during this challenging crisis. A bankruptcy filing may seem overwhelming and complicated especially with all the changes afoot and the uncertainty, but we can assist you in navigating your way to help you complete your bankruptcy. Let us know how we can help you.