People who file bankruptcy almost never “go to court” in Chapter 13 or see a judge. The only mandatory hearing is usually a meeting with the Chapter 13 trustee that will take place about a month after filing. That meeting with the trustee provides him or her an opportunity to ask questions about the budget and proposed repayment plan. Creditors are also allowed to attend these hearings but rarely do. I am at this meeting with my clients and their portion of the meeting usually lasts no more than five minutes, although they may have to be there longer to wait their turn. The hearings are nothing to be anxious about and my clients have frequently told me afterwards that they’ve been surprised at how easy they were and how well prepared they were to answer any questions that arose. You can view a clip of what to expect at a meeting with the trustee (also known as a 341 meeting) here. Occasionally debtors might have to appear before a judge if something is being done to modify the plan or a dismissal is being sought for failure to make payments, but even these instances are rare. Most Chapter 13 bankruptcy clients go the entire five years of their plan without ever appearing in court.