What to do if being sued by a creditor?
A creditor has sued you in bankruptcy court. You were served with a Summons and Complaint, and you must now file an Answer. If you do not file an Answer on time, the court may enter a default judgment against you. This means that your debt may not be discharged and you will be responsible for paying it back.
If you cannot afford an attorney, free or reduced cost legal help may be available.
Emergency Motion Filing: Can the hearing be held telephonically and who must be notified?
If the Court determines than an emergency hearing is necessary, it prefers that counsel and/or parties appear in person for such hearing, but will permit participation by telephone if the nature of the emergency and time constraints warrant such a format.
The applicant must notify all affected parties, as well as the case trustee and the US Trustee. In very time-sensitive instances, the Court may approve of notification by telephone.
Emergency Motion Filing: Where must it be filed?
If e-filed, the filer must call the Clerk’s office at (401) 626-3114 to alert a staff member that an emergency matter has been filed electronically. All parties in interest and attorneys must be notified of the filing by telephone, fax, and/or hand-delivery. If an emergency pleading is conventionally filed, the Clerk’s office will process it immediately. The filer must serve the pleading on all interested parties by telephone, fax, and/or hand-delivery.
Emergency Motion Filing: What format is required?
Documents for the Court’s consideration must state the nature of relief, the statutory basis thereof and the facts creating the urgency. “Emergency Motion” or the word “Emergency” must be in the caption of the papers filed to alert the Clerk’s office of the urgent nature of the relief sought. See LBR 9013-2(e).
Emergency Motion Filing: When is a motion filing considered to be an emergency?
Any motion filing for which there is not enough time to give the notice required by the Bankruptcy Code and Rules due to circumstances beyond the control of the filer is considered to be an emergency filing. Local Rule 9013-2(e) specifies the requirements for emergency motions.
How do I file an emergency bankruptcy case?
If you do not have the time to complete all required schedules and statements, you may file a skeletal petition consisting of the first 3 pages of the petition, the list of creditors names and addresses (creditor list), and filing fee, partial filing fee, or Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis (Chapter 7 cases only) - see Filing Fee Payment Options. Either a 7-day notice or a 14-day notice will be issued for the missing items.
Bankruptcy Forms, What forms do I need?
Petition Package – This is a compilation of all forms required to start a particular chapter bankruptcy case.
Petition – The document called a "Petition" is the official request to open a bankruptcy case, and the Petition contains basic information about a debtor's contact information, attorney, chapter number, and signature.
Other Forms – While a Petition opens a bankruptcy case, this is only the beginning of the process. Approximately thirty (30) more documents are required so that the court and trustee knows how to properly treat a debtor and the debtor's financial situation:
These documents have various titles including: "Schedules (A to J)," "Exhibits (C and D)" and then a combination of other forms titled "Statements," "Declarations," "Summary," "Disclosure," "Verification," "Notice," "Debtor's Certification," "Plan" (chapter 13 only), and "Venue Disclosure" (chapter 11 only). It requires time and organization to fill out all of the forms and be educated on the bankruptcy process, so please budget enough time to gather the information and complete the petition package documents before you need to file a bankruptcy case.
What is a Discharge of Debts?
The debtor is seeking a discharge of most debts, which may include your debt. A discharge means that you may never try to collect the debt from the debtor. If you believe that the debtor is not entitled to receive a discharge under Bankruptcy Code §727(a) or that a debt owed to you is not dischargeable under Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(2), (4), or (6), you must start a lawsuit by filing a complaint in the bankruptcy Clerk's office by the "Deadline to File a Complaint Objecting to Discharge of the Debtor or to Determine Dischargeability of Certain Debts" listed on the 341 notice that you received. The bankruptcy Clerk's office must receive the complaint and any required filing fee by that Deadline.
What is a 341 meeting/meeting of creditors?
The “341(a) meeting” is sometimes called the “meeting of creditors” and gets its name from the Section of Title 11 of the United States Code where the requirements for the meeting of creditors and equity security holders are found. It is also referred to as the “ Meeting of Creditors” or just “Credtors Meeting”. The debtor (both spouses in a joint case) must be present at the meeting to be questioned under oath by the trustee and by creditors. Creditors are welcome to attend, but are not required to do so. The meeting may be continued and concluded at a later date without further notice.
What if the case I'm interested in has been archived?
If a case has been archived, there may be some information that is still available through the Clerk's office. You should first check to see what information is available there. If the Clerk's office doesn't have the records you need, the Clerk will provide you with certain archive information, such as accession record retrieval numbers (PACER users may access this information through the PACER system using the query search field, case summary information screen, and can also be found at the website link to FRC information. With this access information, you may call the Federal Records Center at 866-329-6465. Please check the Federal Records Center for information.
For requests sent to the FRC, there is a per document search fee You must be specific about documents you would like provided. Alternatively, you can ask the Clerk's office to have the entire case file returned to Providence for you to review. There is a retrieval fee for this service. The file is sent to the Clerk's office by the FRC and it takes about three (3) to five (5) business days for the file to arrive. The Clerk's office will hold the retrieved case file for 30 days unless a longer period of time is requested. The file can only be reviewed in the Clerk's office; it cannot be removed for copying or viewing at another location.
What if I don't have the filing fee?
Bankruptcy filings fees change periodically. Click here to view the latest fee information. Your filing fee must be paid by either money order (made payable to Clerk, US Bankruptcy Court) or in cash. If you do not have the full filing fee and wish to pay in installments, or if you wish to waive the filing fee entirely, see the detailed information located in Filing Fee Payment Options for necessary forms and instructions.
What if I don't agree with an order entered by the Court?
You may do one of two things within fourteen (14) days of the entry of the order. You may either file a Motion for Reconsideration of the matter before the Bankruptcy Court, or you may file a Notice of Appeal and Statement of Election (Official Form 17A) of the order and pay the applicable filing fee. Either document must be filed with the Bankruptcy Court within 14 calendar days of the date the order or judgment is entered on the Bankruptcy Court’s docket. Appeals are automatically referred to the First Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP), unless you fill out Part 4 of the Notice of Appeal and Statement of Election to have the appeal heard by the U.S. District Court. If you do not desire to have the appeal heard by the U.S. District Court, other parties to the appeal (the appellees) may opt to do so, but there are time limitations on when this can be done. See 28 U.S.C. §158(c)(1).
What happens if the presumption of abuse arises?
If the presumption of abuse arises, creditors may have the right to file a motion to dismiss the case under § 707(b) of the Bankruptcy Code. The debtor may rebut the presumption by showing special circumstances.
What do I do if I forgot to include a creditor in my bankruptcy schedules? (Schedules D, E, and F)
If additional creditors need to be added to your bankruptcy schedules after filing, the applicable schedule (D, E, or F) must be amended. There is a miscellaneous fee to amend schedules D, E and F to add creditors or to change the amounts on these schedules. Amended schedule(s) listing the new creditors and/or any changes must be filed and signed under oath by the debtor(s). A certificate of service is also required indicating that the added creditor(s) have received a copy of the amended schedules and a copy of the Section 341 Meeting Notice. If a large number of creditors are being added, a new creditor mailing list is also required containing only the added creditors names and addresses. (See forms)
What actions are creditors generally prohibited from taking?
Prohibited collection actions are listed in Bankruptcy Code §362. Common examples of prohibited actions include contacting the debtor by telephone, mail or otherwise to demand repayment; taking actions to collect money or obtain property from the debtor; repossessing the debtor's property; starting or continuing lawsuits or foreclosures; and garnishing or deducting from the debtor's wages. Under certain circumstances, the stay may be limited to 30 days or not exist at all, although the debtor can request the court to extend or impose a stay.