A company or individual has filed for bankruptcy and owes us money. What do we do?
If you have been listed as a creditor in the bankruptcy case, you will receive a written notice in the mail from the Clerk's office advising you of the case filing, the date for the Meeting of Creditors and any important case deadlines. This notice will also tell you whether or not you should file a claim in the bankruptcy case at that time, and the deadline for filing the claim if one is to be filed. The notice will also give you important deadlines for filing complaints to object to a debtor's discharge or dischargeability of certain debts
Are You a Duplicate Filer?
If you have previously filed for bankruptcy, you may not be eligible to receive a discharge in your new case. Click here to view a chart to help you determine whether or not you are eligible to receive a discharge when you file your next bankruptcy case. If you file before sufficient time has passed since your previous filing, the Court will issue a Notice of Ineligibility to Receive Discharge or an Order to Show Cause why your case should not be dismissed.
BANKRUPTCY AFFECT, If I file for bankruptcy, will it stop an eviction?
The Clerk's Office is prohibited by federal statute from providing legal advice. If you have any questions on how a bankruptcy filing affects enforcement of an eviction proceeding, please contact your legal advisor.
BANKRUPTCY AFFECT, What are the consequences of filing bankruptcy?
Depending on a debtor's financial situation and reasons for filing, the consequences of filing for bankruptcy protection may outweigh the benefits. Those considering bankruptcy should be aware of the following:
- Filing for bankruptcy protection is not free. Please refer to Fee Schedule
- Not all debts are dischargeable.
Example: Secured creditors retain some rights which may permit them to seize property, even after a discharge is granted. Spousal and child support obligations, most student loans and most tax debts are not dischargeable.
- Within 14 days of the filing of the bankruptcy petition, schedules of the debtor’s assets and liabilities must be filed. Failure to timely file the appropriate schedules may result in dismissal of the case and the barring of the debtor from filing again for 180 days (six months). 11 U.S.C. §521 mandates that a chapter 7 or chapter 13 case “shall be automatically dismissed effective on the 46th day after the date of filing of the petition” if the debtor fails to file “all information required by 11 U.S.C. §521(a)(1)” within 45 days of filing.
- If the case is dismissed and a discharge is entered by the court, the debtor is prohibited from being granted another discharge in chapter 7 and 11 within six years.
- Fraudulent information or acts by the debtor are grounds for denial of a discharge and may be punishable as a criminal offense.
BANKRUPTCY AFFECT, What Bankruptcy Can Not Do
Bankruptcy cannot cure every financial problem. Nor is it the right step for every individual. In bankruptcy, it is usually not possible to:
- Eliminate certain rights of “secured” creditors. A “secured” creditor has taken a
mortgage or other lien on property as collateral for the loan. Common examples are
car loans and home mortgages. You can force secured creditors to take payments
over time in the bankruptcy process and bankruptcy can eliminate your obligation to
pay any additional money if your property is taken. Nevertheless, you generally can
not keep the collateral unless you continue to pay the debt.
- Discharge types of debts singled out by the bankruptcy law for special treatment, such
as child support, alimony, certain other debts related to divorce, most student loans,
court restitution orders, criminal fines, and some taxes.
- Protect cosigners on your debts. When a relative or friend has co-signed a loan, and
the consumer discharges the loan in bankruptcy, the cosigner may still have to repay
all or part of the loan.
- Discharge debts that arise after bankruptcy has been filed.
BANKRUPTCY AFFECT, What Can Bankruptcy Do for Me?
Bankruptcy may make it possible for you to:
- Eliminate the legal obligation to pay most or all of your debts. This is called a“discharge” of debts. It is designed to give you a fresh financial start.
- Stop foreclosure on your house or mobile home and allow you an opportunity to catch up on missed payments. (Bankruptcy does not, however, automatically eliminate mortgages and other liens on your property without payment.)
- Prevent repossession of a car or other property, or force the creditor to return property even after it has been repossessed.
- Stop wage garnishment, debt collection harassment, and similar creditor actions to collect a debt.
- Restore or prevent termination of utility service.
- Allow you to challenge the claims of creditors who have committed fraud or who are otherwise trying to collect more than you really owe.
Can I attend a Bankruptcy Court hearing by telephone?
Attendance at hearings by telephone is generally permitted unless another party to the proceeding objects. The local rule addressing this matter is contained in LBR 9074-1. Individuals wishing to appear at a hearing by telephone must notify the courtroom deputy prior to the hearing to request telephonic attendance. When asking for a telephonic appearance, a party must provide the courtroom deputy with the case number, day and time of hearing, and a contact phone number where the party can be reached. Since many hearings are scheduled at the same time, the party participating by telephone must remain available at the number given until the Court places the call.
Can I contact the Judge?
You are prohibited from contacting a judge. Federal Bankruptcy Rule 9003 prohibits parties from "ex parte" meetings or communications with the court concerning matters affecting any party.
Can I fax documents to the Clerk’s office for filing?
No. Faxed documents are not accepted for filing
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.
Can I get a refund if I inadvertently pay a fee?
The Judicial Conference prohibits refunds of the fees due upon filing. The Conference prohibits the clerk from refunding these fees even if the party filed the case in error, and even if the court dismisses the case or proceeding. See LBR 1006-1(b).
Exception: the clerk must refund any fee collected without authority. For example, the clerk has no authority to collect a fee to reopen a case unless the case is closed. Consequently, the clerk must refund a fee to reopen if the parties discover later that the case was open.
Can the case filing fee be waived?
Only in a very limited circumstance and with court approval can the case filing fee be waived. For chapter 7 individual cases only, there is a procedure for proceeding In Forma Pauperis if the debtor’s income is less than 150 percent of the official poverty line applicable to your family size and you are unable to pay the fee in installments. If you cannot afford to pay the fee either in full at the time of filing or in installments, then you may request a waiver of the filing fee by completing Form B3B and filing it with the Clerk of Court. A judge will decide whether you have to pay the fee.
Alternatively, an individual debtor (but not a corporation or partnership) who is unable to pay the full fee at the time of filing may, at the time of commencing the case, file an application to pay the fee in installments using officialForm B3A. If you file an application to pay in installments, you are required by Local Rule 1006-1(c) to pay 25% of the fee at the time you commence your case, and the remainder of the fee in continued payments of 25% commencing within thirty (30) days of the petition date and every twenty-five (25) days thereafter.
Case Information, How can I find out information about a case?
There are several ways to obtain case information:
PACER (“Public Access to Court Electronic Records”) ELECTRONIC ACCESS: If you have a PACER login and password, you can look up your case in the court’s electronic filing system using your PACER login.
To utilize PACER you must first register with the PACER Service Center. For more information please contact the PACER Service Center at:
PACER Service Center
P.O. Box 780549
San Antonio, TX 78278-0549
Telephone: (800) 676-6856
Web site: www.pacer.gov
PACER access provides complete docket information and images of filed documents for a cost of .10¢ per page. If document access fees do not exceed $15.00 a quarter, no billing occurs.
- COURTHOUSE ACCESS - Public computers are available in each Clerk's office to view or print imaged documents, docket reports or forms. The fee for printing from a public terminal is 10¢ per page. The Clerk’s office accepts cash or credit card for printing fees. Older paper case files may also be reviewed unless they have been transferred to the Federal Records Center. It is best to call in advance to determine if an older file is still at the Clerk’s office or has been transferred.
- TELEPHONE ACCESS - Our Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (MCVCIS) allows callers free access to limited case information by phone (e.g. name of debtor, case number, judge, date filed, chapter, attorney, trustee, whether there are assets, and case status - such as discharge date and closed date) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any touch tone telephone. The MCVCIS toll free phone number is: (866)-222-8029.
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