A woman called me to ask whether she and her husband, Orlando, Florida residents, could file Chapter 7 bankruptcy while her husband was in prison.The woman is concerned about her husband’s inability to attend the trustee meeting. She said her husband could not initiate phone calls, and that the state will not transport him to a bankruptcy meeting or hearing. This woman said another bankruptcy attorney previously told her that she and her husband could not file bankruptcy until her husband was released permanently or on parole. I disagree.
Bankruptcy courts have been making it more difficult for debtors to avoid appearing at trustee meetings. For instance, medical excuses must be documented, and it is insufficient for one debtor spouse to simply show up with a power of attorney from the non-appearing spouse.
A debtor in prison legally prohibited from attendance at the trustee meetings, but he is not otherwise prohibited from filing bankruptcy. I think there will be some arrangement made for this incarcerated debtor to file bankruptcy in a joint petition. For example, the debtor could receive a phone call at the meeting time and testify in the presence of a court reporter, or the trustee may simply permit the attending spouse to appear with the husband’s power of attorney.
In my opinion even if the debtors need to file a motion and get an order from a bankruptcy court, something will be done to resolve the logistical problem.