FAQs

  • EXEMPTIONS, What are exemptions?

     

    11 U.S.C. § 522(b) allows an individual debtor to exempt real, personal, or intangible property from the property of the estate. Exempt assets are protected by state law from distribution to your creditors. Typically, exempt assets include vehicles up to a certain dollar amount, the equity in your home up to a certain amount, and tools of the trade.

    Exemptions are claimed on Schedule C. As with all schedules, it is important to fully complete and provide all the information requested. If no one objects to the exemptions you have listed within the time frame specified by the bankruptcy court, these assets will not be a part of your bankruptcy estate and will not be used to pay creditors through your bankruptcy case.

    Deciding which assets are exempt and how and if you can protect these assets from your creditors can be one of the more important and difficult aspects of your bankruptcy case. It is extremely important to consult an attorney if you have any questions regarding the issue of exempt assets.

  • Have You Completed Credit Counseling?

    You must complete mandatory Credit Counseling prior to filing bankruptcy. Please click on each link below for detailed information regarding pre and post filing required education.

    • Before filing your bankruptcy case - Completion of Credit Counseling

    • Within 60 days after filing - Completion of Financial Management Course

  • Have You Taken the Means Test?

    The Means Test is a financial analysis to determine if a debtor can repay a threshold level of general unsecured debt, and is used to determine if there is a presumption of abuse of the provisions of the chapter filed. If a presumption of abuse exists, the US Trustee, Case Trustee or a party in interest may move to dismiss the case or convert the case to a Chapter 11 or 13.

    You must complete the Means Test, including the checkbox at the top of the form indicating whether or not a presumption of abuse arises. The computation is based on 1) your current monthly income and 2) allowed deductions. The appropriate Means Test must be filed as part of petition:

    Chapter 7: Form B22A - Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation

    Chapter 11: Form B22B - Statement of Current Monthly Income

    Chapter 13: Form 22C - Statement of Current Monthly Income and Disposable Income Test Calculation

    • If your bankruptcy case later converts to another chapter, you must refile a Means Test appropriate for that chapter.
    • If the Means Test is not included at the time of filing of your bankruptcy case, a Notice of Missing Documents (14 days) will be issued setting deadlines for filing the Means Test.

    The Clerk’s office will notify all creditors within 10 days of the filing if there is a presumption of abuse. This information will be included in the Section 341 Meeting Notice. To determine if a presumption of abuse arises, please see bankruptcy code 707(b)(2). You may rebut this presumption by demonstrating special circumstances, itemized and supported by documentation, that would decrease income or increase expenses and bring the debtor below the monetary standard for the presumption of abuse.

    You may also file a Motion for Exemption from the Means Test if you are a disabled veteran and the indebtedness occurred primarily during a period during which you were on: (1) on active duty or (2) performing a homeland defense activity.

  • How are creditors notified of my bankruptcy filing?

    A notice entitled “Notice of Chapter ____ Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors and Deadlines” is issued by the Court to the creditors listed on your creditor mailing list within 7 days of the filing, informing them of your case number, date of filing, social security number, the date of the Section 341 (creditor) meeting, and particular case deadlines. This notice is usually received by the creditors within a week of the filing.

  • How can I get immediate proof of my filing?

    If you feel a more immediate notice of your bankruptcy must be given to a particular creditor, it is your responsibility to determine what type of notice is appropriate and give that notice to the creditor. A printed “Notice of Bankruptcy Filing” can be obtained from the Clerk’s office. This Notice has the Court seal, and the date and time of your filing.

  • How can I obtain a Transcript or CD of a hearing?

    You can visit the Clerk’s office or call to order a transcript. The Clerk will process a transcript order with the approved transcription agencies. You must decide if the transcript will be received by you in the ordinary course of business or on an expedited basis. The court will estimate the cost; however, you must pay the transcription agency directly. For a fee, the court will provide a CD of a hearing.

  • How can I tell what version of Adobe Acrobat I’m using?

    Click the HELP pull-down menu >> click ABOUT ACROBAT

  • How do I change my ECF password?

    To change your password, click on the Utilities tab in ECF and then the “Change Your Password” link (passwords must be at least 8 digits and include at least one number or special character and at least one capital letter).  Please contact the court if you experience any problems.

  • How do I determine the location of an event in ECF?

    Use the “Search” feature located on the blue CMECF toolbar to find the category(s) in which the event you need is located.

  • How do I file a claim?

    If you have been listed as a creditor in a bankruptcy case, you will receive a written notice from the Clerk's office in the mail after the bankruptcy has been filed. The notice will tell you if there is a deadline for filing claims. If a deadline for filing claims is contained in the notice, you will also receive a proof of claim form.

    If the original notice you receive from the Clerk's office does not contain a deadline for filing proofs of claim (which is usually the case in Chapter 7 cases), you may subsequently receive a "Notice to File a Proof of Claim," along with a claim form, if the trustee later determines that there are assets available for distribution in the case. This notice will also contain the deadline for filing claims with the court.

    If you are informed of a claim deadline, but do not receive a claim form to fill out, you may obtain one from the Clerk's office or download a proof of claim form from our website.

    The claim form should be filled out completely and should include any attachments needed to support your claim. DO NOT SUBMIT ORIGINAL BACKUP DOCUMENTATION to support your claim; it will not be returned to you. The original claim must have your signature on it (not a stamp or copy). You must return the original of your completed claim, with all attachments, to the Clerk's office by the deadline for filing claims. This means the Clerk's office must receive the claim form by that date, not that you mail it by that date. You must also send a complete copy of your claim to the case trustee and to the debtor and their attorney. Their addresses will be included in the notice you receive from the Clerk's Office.

    If you wish to have a conformed copy of your claim returned to you, please bring an extra copy for yourself, or if you are mailing it, include an extra copy with a self-addressed, stamped envelope with enough postage to cover return mailing costs. The Clerk will file stamp the extra copy and return it to you.

    Requests for information regarding when a claim will be paid should be directed to the trustee assigned to the case, whose name and telephone number can be found on the Creditor’s Meeting Notice that you receive from the Clerk's office.

  • How do I file a claim?

    If you have been listed as a creditor in a bankruptcy case, you will receive a written notice from the Clerk's office in the mail after the bankruptcy has been filed. The notice will tell you if there is a deadline for filing claims.

    If the original notice you receive from the Clerk's office does not contain a deadline for filing proofs of claim (which is usually the case in Chapter 7 cases), you may subsequently receive a "Notice to File a Proof of Claim," if the trustee later determines that there are assets available for distribution in the case. This notice will also contain the deadline for filing claims with the court.

    If you are informed of a claim deadline you may obtain one from the Clerk's office or download a proof of claim form from our website, you may also now file a proof of claim online, without obtaining an ECF login and password.

    The claim form should be filled out completely and should include any attachments needed to support your claim. DO NOT SUBMIT ORIGINAL BACKUP DOCUMENTATION to support your claim; it will not be returned to you. The original claim must have your signature on it (not a stamp or copy). You must return the original of your completed claim, with all attachments, to the Clerk's office by the deadline for filing claims. This means the Clerk's office must receive the claim form by that date, not that you mail it by that date. You must also send a complete copy of your claim to the case trustee and to the debtor and their attorney. Their addresses will be included in the notice you receive from the Clerk's office.

    If you wish to have proof that your claim was timely filed, please bring an extra copy to the Clerk's Office.  The clerk wil file stamp the extra copy and return it to you.  If you are mailing it, please include an extra copy with a self-addressed, stamped envelope with enough postage to cover return mailing costs.

    The Clerk will file stamp the extra copy and return it to you.

    Requests for information regarding when a claim will be paid should be directed to the trustee assigned to the case, whose name and telephone number can be found on the Creditor’s Meeting Notice that you receive from the Clerk's office.

  • How do I file for relief from the automatic stay?

    Once a debtor files bankruptcy, creditors generally can't continue proceedings against them, see 11 U.S.C. § 362(a). There are certain exceptions to this rule, however. In order for a party to continue a legal proceeding against the debtor that has been stayed because of the filing of bankruptcy, the party must first obtain an order from the Bankruptcy Court granting relief from the automatic stay.

    In order to obtain relief from the automatic stay to continue collection action against the debtor, the party must file a Motion for Relief from Stay with the Bankruptcy Court and pay the applicable filing fee. [This fee is not required if the moving party is a creditor seeking to collect child support, and the moving party has also filed Official Form B-281]. The motion must be served on the debtor, debtor(s) attorney, case trustee and other creditors and parties in interest. The legal authority for obtaining relief from stay can be found in section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code [11 U.S.C. § 362(d)].

    After a motion for relief from stay has been properly noticed and the deadline for objections has expired:

    • If no objections to the motion have been filed, the motion will be reviewed by the court.
    • If an objection is filed, a hearing will be held before any order granting or denying relief will be entered.

  • How do I file for relief from the automatic stay?

    Once a debtor files bankruptcy, creditors generally can't continue proceedings against them, see 11 U.S.C. § 362(a). There are certain exceptions to this rule, however. In order for a party to continue a legal proceeding against the debtor that has been stayed because of the filing of bankruptcy, the party must first obtain an order from the Bankruptcy Court granting relief from the automatic stay.

    In order to obtain relief from the automatic stay to continue collection action against the debtor, the party must file a Motion for Relief from Stay with the Bankruptcy Court along with R.I. Bankr. Form R, if applicable, (see R.I. LBR 4001-1), and pay the applicable filing fee. [This fee is not required if the moving party is a creditor seeking to collect child support, and the moving party has also filed Official Form B-281]. The motion must be served on the debtor, debtor(s) attorney, case trustee and other creditors and parties in interest. The legal authority for obtaining relief from stay can be found in section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code [11 U.S.C. § 362(d)].

    After a motion for relief from stay has been properly noticed and the deadline for objections has expired:

    • If no objections to the motion have been filed, the motion may be granted by rule of Court.
    • If an objection is filed, a hearing will be held before any order granting or denying relief will be entered.
  • How do I find out which trustee has been assigned to a particular bankruptcy case?

    The face page of the case docket contains the name of the trustee in all Chapter 7and 13 cases. Unless the court specifically appoints a trustee in Chapter 11 cases, the debtor operates as a debtor in possession without a trustee. You may obtain the trustee's name by contacting the Court’s Voice Case Information System, VCIS, at (800) 843-2841 or (401) 626-3076. Another method would be to look up case information via the Internet using the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system. Finally, you may also obtain this information by calling the Clerk's office, or by telephoning the local office of the U.S. Trustee. The Court’s website has a link to Trustee information, which gives addresses and telephone numbers of acting trustees.

  • How do I get a matter scheduled for hearing?

    The Clerk’s office schedules matters for hearing upon direction from the Bankruptcy Judge. To determine if a matter has been scheduled, please visit our court calendar page.

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