§ 43.3     Personal Appearance by Debtor
Cite as:    Keith M. Lundin, Lundin On Chapter 13, § 43.3, at ¶ ____, LundinOnChapter13.com (last visited __________).

The Bankruptcy Code mandates that the debtor appear and submit to examination at the meeting of creditors.1 There is no exception or alternative procedure in the Code or Bankruptcy Rules for this appearance by the debtor.2


Getting the debtor to the meeting of creditors at the right time and the right place is not always simple. Although the debtor is given notice by the clerk of the court, it is also good practice for counsel to write the debtor to confirm the date, time and place for the § 341 meeting and to impress on the debtor the need for personal appearance. It is even better practice to follow up with a telephone call to the debtor a few days before the meeting to confirm that the debtor will appear and knows where to be and when.


In a husband-and-wife case, both debtors must appear at the meeting of creditors.


If debtor’s counsel knows in advance of the § 341 meeting that the debtor will be unable to personally appear, counsel should go through the procedure in the district for getting the meeting continued.3 Counsel may need to attend even if the debtor is not present, to announce a continuance if one was arranged; to ask for a continuance if this is permitted under local practice; or to at least explain why the debtor is absent and to meet informally with creditors and the trustee.


1  11 U.S.C. § 343.


2  But see § 42.3 [ What to Do If Debtor Is Not Able to Attend in Person ] § 43.4  What to Do If Debtor Is Not Able to Attend in Person. See also Kalmanson v. Nofziger (In re Nofziger), No. 6:05-cv-1474-Orl-31DAB, 2006 WL 1360908 (M.D. Fla. May 18, 2006) (unpublished) (Bankruptcy court appropriately sealed record of § 341 meeting and precluded questions about the debtor’s family or finances prior to September of 1999 when debtor demonstrated she had been given a new identity in a program to protect victims of domestic violence.), aff’d in part, dismissed in part, 277 Fed. Appx. 788 (11th Cir. 2007).


3  See § 42.1 [ Timing and Procedure ] § 43.1  Timing and Procedure.