Debtor FAQs

  • 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.

  • 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 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 417A) 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 if I am unable to attend the Creditor's Meeting on the date/time scheduled?

    If you are unable to attend the Creditor's Meeting on the date/time it is scheduled, you must contact the case trustee assigned to your case if a Chapter 7 or 13 case, or the local office of the U.S. Trustee if a Chapter 11 case as soon as possible, and request the matter be continued to another date/time. If you are unable to travel, you can make a written request to appear telephonically at your Creditors’ Meeting. The case trustee or U.S. Trustee will determine if your circumstances warrant an appearance by telephone. If you are serving in the military and will be out of state, consult the local office of the U.S. Trustee and/or the case trustee to determine how to proceed.

    The Bankruptcy Clerk's office has no involvement in the scheduling of your Creditor's Meeting and therefore cannot assist you with any requested changes or telephonic requests. All questions concerning the Meeting of Creditors must be directed to the local office of the U.S. Trustee or to your case trustee.

  • 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 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.

  • I hear the term “Link” frequently when discussing electronic filing. What does it mean?

    To "link" a document means to relate it to, or associate it with a previously filed document. During the filing process you may be asked "Does your document relate to a previously filed pleading?" If the answer is yes, you should follow the screen prompts to "link" the documents.

  • I am a creditor in a converted case. Do I need to file another Proof of Claim?

    No, once you have filed a proof of claim form with the court, you need not refile the claim after conversion.

  • I am a creditor in a chapter 7 asset case. How long before I can expect a dividend payment?

    There is no simple answer to that question. The length of time before a dividend is received depends on the circumstances of the individual case because assets must be liquidated and claims evaluated prior to distribution. Creditors should contact the chapter 7 trustee and inquire when he or she expects to issue checks to creditors. The chapter 7 trustee's name and telephone number are on the notice of the section 341 meeting of creditors.

  • I am a child support creditor. How can I determine whether my child support debt is non-dischargeable?

    Certain child support debts are excepted from discharge. If you and the debtor disagree, you may, by filing an appropriate Adversary Proceeding Complaint, ask the Court to determine whether your debt is non-dischargeable. It is strongly suggested that you obtain legal assistance to do this.

  • How do I obtain information about a case?

    Telephone Access: Basic information, such as the debtor or debtor's attorney's name, case number, or the name of the trustee is available on the telephone by calling the VCIS (Voice Case Information System) at (401) 626-3076 or (800) 843-2841. This information is provided free of charge and is available 24 hours a day from any touchtone phone. See the VCIS link on the Court’s web page for further information.

    Computer Access: Electronic case summaries, docket information, and viewable copies of all pleadings filed since 1998, may be retrieved via the Internet through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system (PACER). This system requires that you be a registered participant, and there is a fee for access ($0.10 per page, with a page being approximately 50 lines of text). This charge is limited to the first thirty pages of a document or report screen you are running, but is charged each time you open a new document.. For PACER registration information, please see the PACER link on the website. Cases filed prior to 1998, which have been closed, may be archived at the Federal Records Center in Waltham, MA. To determine if a case has been archived, contact the Clerk's office. Records may be obtained directly from the Federal Records Center, but you will need to obtain certain archiving information from the Clerk's office prior to requesting information from the Federal Records Center.

    Copies of documents: Court records and documents filed after 1998 have been imaged and can be obtained from the Clerk's office via e-mail or fax at no cost, or through the PACER system. Paper copies may also be obtained for a fee from the Clerk’s office.