You are here
Can I get a copy of my Bankruptcy Petition when I file it?
If you would like to have a conformed (file stamped) copy of bankruptcy documents you file with the Clerk's office, you must make one extra copy of these documents for yourself. The Clerk will file stamp the extra copies and return them to you. If you are mailing your documents to the Clerk's office, you must include an extra copy and provide a self addressed, stamped envelope with enough postage to cover return postage for these documents.
You should keep copies of all legal documents, including your bankruptcy petition and discharge order, if granted, in a safe place as you may need them in the future to secure mortgages, loans, and/or to dispute credit reports.
How many copies of court documents do I need to file with the Clerk's office?
None. You may bring an extra copy to be time stamped for your records
Where do I file?
You may hand deliver or mail to any one of the three Bankruptcy Court locations. Click on the link Court Info and then click on Court Locations.
Where can I obtain the required bankruptcy forms?
If hiring an attorney is not possible, you can download the necessary bankruptcy filing forms from the Court’s website at the Forms menu item.
Should I use a Document Preparer to assist me in filing bankruptcy?
There are agencies and individuals who run businesses which assist individuals in preparing legal documents for a fee. These agencies will help debtors by taking information supplied by the debtor(s) and creating the forms necessary for filing a bankruptcy case. They may be helpful to you in explaining general procedures. They are not attorneys and are not allowed to give legal advice as part of their services. They cannot represent debtors in court. The Preparer must completeForm B19. This form must be filed with the bankruptcy petition and schedules.
I've heard I can only file a case under Chapter 13. Is this true?
In 2005, the United States Congress passed bankruptcy legislation which includes new income and expense considerations when filing for bankruptcy, and may require debtors with income above a certain amount to file under Chapter 13 instead of under Chapter 7, depending on their income and expenses. This however is a very individual determination based on each person’s income, household expenses and debts. To properly understand which chapter would be right for you, it is strongly recommended that you contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney. The Clerk's office is not allowed to give legal advice and can't tell you how these new requirements will affect you.
Will the automatic stay stop creditors from calling my home and work?
Yes, it should. After you file your bankruptcy petition with the court commencing a case, the Clerk's office will send a written notice of your bankruptcy filing to all of your creditors at the addresses you list on your creditor mailing list. Although ths notice goes out within one to two days of case fling, it may take up to a week or longer for crediors to receive this notice because of mail time. If a creditor calls after you have filed your petition, simply tell them you have filed fo bankruptcy, give them the case number and the district (the state in which you filed), and indicate thatt the will receive notice of this in the mail. If the creditor was not listed on your mailing list, you shoud amend your bankruptcy schedules with the Clerk's office so that future notices about your bankruptcy can be sent to that creditor. Adding a creditor later on requires a fee. It is important to make sure you lit all you creditors on your initial creditor list, because if a creditor doesn't get notice of your bankruptcy, his debt might not be discharged in your bankruptcy, and addng them later on will cost you more money.
Once a creditor receives notice of your bankruptcy filing, they may not attempt collection of a debt from you unless they follow certain actions, such as obtaining relief from stay, allowed by the court. If a creditor continues to try to collect a debt from you after being notifed of your bankruptcy, you should contact an attorney immediately for advice.
What is the Automatic Stay?
The filing of bankruptcy petition automatically stays (stops) most actions, including collections, foreclosures and reposessions, against the debtor or the debtor's property. It is called "automatic" because the stay beigns automatically at the time the bankrutpcy case is filed with the Clerk's office. Once the stay is in place, creditors are prohinited from taking certain actions against a debtor without court permission. Some creditors, particularly those involved with repossessions or foreclosures, may immediately file pleadings with the court to go forward with foreclosure or repossessions actions. It is strongly recommended tht you consult wth a bankruptcy attorney to veify tat the automatic stay is applicable to your specific circumstances.
Where do I go to look up legal terms used in bankruptcy?
There is a glossary of bankruptcy terms on our website. You can look up words used in bankruptcy that are not familiar to you there.
What is the Bankruptcy Code?
First enacted in 1978 and substantially revised in 2005, the Bankruptcy Code contains the statutes (laws) that grant legal forgiveness of debt for businesses or individuals in financal difficulty. There ar two primary types of bankruptcy relief available underthe Code: liqudaion (Chapter 7) or reorganization (Chapters 11, 12 and 13). These optons are best discused w a qualified attorney. The Bakruptchy Code is available at your local law library.