How is Bankruptcy Court Different from Other Courts?
Bankruptcy courts have authority over all aspects of bankruptcy proceedings. These courts are part of the federal court system, and as with other courts, decisions by bankruptcy judges are binding. However, there are a few differences between Bankruptcy courts and other courts you might not be familiar with.
The biggest difference between Bankruptcy courts and other courts is simply the role that Bankruptcy courts play. Most courts are set up with a winner/loser scenario, where a person’s guilt or innocence is determined (criminal court), or a lawsuit is resolved (civil court). On the other hand, in Bankruptcy court the end goal is to find a respectable midpoint between creditors who are owed money and a debtor who is not able to pay.
Another big difference is that most of the “action” takes place away from the court. Once the case has been filed, the bankruptcy judge will generally assign a trustee to the case. This trustee mediates between the debtor and creditors. If all goes according to plan, there will just be a final hearing where the judge will discharge any remaining debts.
Finally, many people choose to represent themselves in Bankruptcy court. Obviously, money is short for many people in this situation, and hiring a lawyer can be expensive. However, it must be noted that Bankruptcy courts strongly recommend that people hire qualified attorneys before filing bankruptcy. The cost of lawyer’s fees can be greatly outweighed by the value of discharged debts after a successful bankruptcy petition.
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Last Modified: 07-24-2012 12:04 PM PDT