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In some cases, a debtor may be required to appear at hearings before a bankruptcy judge. SOURCE: Federal Judiciary Channel (YouTube)

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The following program was produced by the United States Courts.
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Depending on the chapter of your bankruptcy case and it’s complexity, you may also
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be required to appear at hearings before the bankruptcy judge.
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In a Chapter 13 case, you may only have to appear at a hearing for the court to confirm,
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meaning approve, the Chapter 13 plan. In a Chapter 7 case, you typicall or texty
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will not appear in court and will not
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see the judge unless an objection is raised or a reaffirmation hearing must be held. A reaffirmation
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hearing
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is held when a debtor wants to continue to pay a debt, secured by, say, a car,
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or home furnishings,
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in order to keep the property.
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Let’s watch what goes on in a typical hearing
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where a judge considers whether a debtor’s reaffirmation agreement should be approved.
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First, the judge will tell you about the consequences
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of reaffirming a debt, as well as your alternatives.
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“Miss Lopez, the Bankruptcy Code requires that whenever someone wishes to reaffirm a debt
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that I must hold a hearing at which I discuss with you the alternatives to entering into the
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reaffirmation agreement, and the consequences of doing so.
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I also must make a finding that it’s in your best interest and doesn’t impose an undue hardship
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on you.
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First of all, with respect to the alternates,
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one alternate, of course, is reaffirming the debt and that’s why you’re here.
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Another is that I could approve
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an arrangement where you buy back the car, call or texted a redemption,
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based on the value of the car as determined by me.
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Sometimes, that’s less than the amount of the debt. The only problem with that is that you
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have to come up with cash to do that.
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The third alternative is call or texted a surrender.
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This gives you the opportunity to give the car back and be free of any further liability.
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That’s something that’s
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worth considering if the car payments were beyond what you could reasonably afford.
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If you do reaffirm the debt, the consequences are that you’ll be liable on the full amount of the
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debt,
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and if later on you have financial problems, they can not only repossess the car,
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they can put it through the auction and
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come back against you for anything that’s left over after applying the auction proceeds
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against the debt.
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Finally, I must find that the
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agreement’s in your best interest and doesn’t impose an undue hardship on you.
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Let me ask you,
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now that we’ve discussed those alternatives, do you have any questions?” “No, Your Honor.”
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“Do you still want to proceed?”
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“Yes.”
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Before approving the agreement, the judge must first make sure The debtor can handle the payments.
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“Now this automobile, as I understand it, is a 2002 Honda Civic?”
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“Yes, Your Honor.”
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“Are you currently behind on your payments?”
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“I am two months behind on my car payments.”
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“Do you have any arrangement where you can catch that up with the lender?”
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“Yes, the attorney for the creditor told me that they could
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pay those two months that I’m behind at the end of the loan,
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and they will also be willing to
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reduce the interest rate to decrease the monthly payment.” “That’s very important because once
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you reaffirm the debt, if you are behind,
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they could come after you immediately for those past due payments.
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Now, is this a car that you drive personally?” “Yes.” “Do you need the car to get back and forth to work as your
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primary means of transportation?” “I drive it and I use it to go to work
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and I also take my mom to her medical appointments.” “Based on that I will find
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that this agreement is in your best interest and doesn’t impose an undue hardship on you.”
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“I’ll enter an order to that effect and you’ll get a copy of that in the mail.
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In the meantime, just make sure you stay current on those payments.” “I will.” “Thank you very much, Ms. Lopez.” “Thank you, Judge.”