The Coronavirus crisis has made many things difficult if not downright impossible. But fortunately — at least for now through early October 2020 — it’s still possible to file bankruptcy in Rhode Island. Here’s a quick list of some of the “essential” details:
court hearings are being conducted by telephone or video (using Zoom.gov) and can even be viewed via YouTube
What hasn’t changed is that there are still Rhode Island attorneys experienced with personal bankruptcy (e.g., Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) who can help guide you through the details of filing bankruptcy. Feel free to give us a call 401-738-3030 or email to set up a free RI bankruptcy consultation.
The Rhode Island Bankruptcy Court allows cases to be filed very quickly. If you submit the necessary papers and filing fees, an experienced attorney may be able file your case in less than 24 hours. You may be able to use this “fast track” filing option to immediately stop creditors from harassing you, prevent your electric or other utilities from being shut off, keep your wages from being attached, or stop your home from being lost to foreclosure if you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments.
Of course, filing is only the first step to completing a bankruptcy. And you want to do it right because your bankruptcy filing will be reviewed for errors which could cause your case to be dismissed. So it’s important to find an attorney experienced with bankruptcy when you’re doing a rush filing to avoid costly mistakes. If all goes well, you may have your case successfully processed by the court and closed within 90 days after filing.
About a month after you file a petition for personal bankruptcy in Rhode Island, you must go to the Federal Center in downtown Providence and meet with a bankruptcy trustee. The bankruptcy trustee is not a judge; rather, she or he is appointed by the court to try to get back money from you for banks, credit card companies, and others you owe money to.
At this meeting (called a 341 meeting of creditors), the trustee may ask you questions, trying to see if you lied, left out important information, or otherwise incorrectly filled out your bankruptcy petition and could really pay back more money. Sometimes, banks and other creditors will also come to this meeting and ask their own questions. It is important that you answer each question carefully and honestly to avoid being charged with perjury, which is a federal crime.
Fortunately, the trustees tend to ask similar questions each time. So it’s possible to prepare for this meeting with help from an experienced bankruptcy attorney. And even if the trustee asks you a “curve ball” question, you’ll then have an experienced attorney sitting by your side to coach you through without any problems, as is usually the case.