Everyone who files bankruptcy is required to attend a hearing. It’s called your First Meeting of Creditors or 341 hearing. And if you need to attend your bankruptcy hearing in Columbia, this post will tell you exactly how to get there.
The Bankruptcy Court has divided South Carolina into three divisions. The Columbia Division covers 22 counties, including Richland, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, Saluda, and Aiken. If you live in any of these counties, your meeting will be in the Strom Thurmond federal office building at 1835 Assembly Street in Columbia. We’ll just call it “the Strom” since that’s what most locals call it.
If you come to Columbia on I-26, finding this location is pretty easy. Enter Columbia on I-126, cross over the Broad River and, as the freeway ends, go straight onto Elmwood Ave. After about four blocks, turn right on Assembly. The Strom is 2½ blocks down on your right.
Parking in that part of Columbia for your bankruptcy hearing is not so easy. Usually the safest bet is to park in the Columbia municipal parking garage about 2 blocks beyond the Strom on the left. Turn left on Taylor Street and then immediately left again into the parking facility. You will then need to walk about 2 blocks back to the Strom. Ask your lawyer about accommodations if you have mobility problems.
Security at the Strom is tight. You must have a current driver’s license or other government-issued picture ID to enter. You will go through a metal detector and must remove your belt and possibly shoes or jewelry. Do not bring any sharp objects or unnecessary metal items. Arrive early! Sometimes it takes a half hour or so to get into the building. Don’t be late for your bankruptcy hearing!
Meetings are held in a suite of rooms on the 5th floor. When you get off the elevator, look for a sign directing you to the bankruptcy hearing room. When you enter, you will see a large, L-shaped waiting room with smaller rooms off of it where the meetings are held. Plan to meet your lawyer in the waiting room. You will need to present your picture ID and acceptable proof of your social security number, and your trustee may ask for additional information.
In another post, I’ll tell you what happens at your bankruptcy hearing, including the common questions your trustee will ask you.