Wor*ry*wart – noun: a person who is inclined to worry unduly.
Some clients are content to turn over their financial problems to a bankruptcy attorney and experience immediate peace of mind. Others cannot stop worrying until the case is discharged and closed. Everyone is different. Fortunately, most bankruptcy cases are very predictable. Before the case is filed your bankruptcy attorney should explain the process and prepare you for certain events that will occur.
Your attorney is in constant contact with the bankruptcy court and receives electronic notices concerning your case. In most cases, a bankruptcy debtor represented by an attorney will not receive correspondence through the mail from creditors, the bankruptcy trustee, or from the bankruptcy court. Instead, your attorney is required to keep you informed concerning the status of your bankruptcy case, and you will be contacted concerning important changes to your bankruptcy case. Notices such as the date of your Meeting of Creditors, or your discharge, will be sent to you along with other important information.
For the worrywart, the federal bankruptcy courts provide access to case information via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER system. Through PACER, anyone can obtain information about a bankruptcy proceeding, including access to all documents and docket entries associated with the case. However, this information comes at a price. PACER charges $.08 per page. Some people have unknowingly racked up a substantial bill by constantly checking PACER for changes to a bankruptcy case.
If you choose to sign up for a PACER account to monitor your case, the general rule of thumb is to check your case only about once a week because bankruptcy cases generally move in a slow and orderly pace. Additionally, avoid clicking on every link, especially choosing to view large documents such as your petition and schedules (which could be 30-40 pages!). Instead, by choosing the docket report option you will see a synopsis of your case and it should cost less than a dollar per view.
Client access to PACER is not necessary for the typical bankruptcy case. You will receive important notices and information directly from your attorney and the streamlined nature of the bankruptcy process will quickly move your case to completion. Other the other hand, if you are a chronic worrier, an occasional check of your case on PACER may be just what the doctor ordered to provide you with peace of mind.