• 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 all 8 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 if I have an emergency filing after business hours?

    To file an emergency bankruptcy petition with the Clerk after regular business hours, or for any other type of emergency filing, please refer to Local Bankruptcy Rule 5001-2(c), the ECF Help Desk page on our website, as well as the Emergency Filing section of the Self Help Manual. In addition, the Clerk's office has a help desk eMail box which is monitored during regular business hours.  For electronic filers, the CM/ECF system is available 24 hours a day.

  • 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.

  • 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. Any fee paid to such entities must be reported to the court and cannot exceed a certain amount  (Appendix IVwithout court approval. If the services of a Bankruptcy Petition Preparer are used, the Preparer must complete Form B19; this form must be filed with the bankruptcy petition and schedules.

  • Is there a fee to file a bankruptcy case?

    Yes. There is a filing fee to commence a bankruptcy case which varies by the chapter of case filed, as well as various miscellaneous fees that may apply for filing certain documents or services requested. Because filing fees change frequently, it is recommended that you visit the filing fee page of our website for the most up to date fee information.

  • 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 does not give legal advice and cannot tell you how these new requirements will affect you.

  • I'm filing for bankruptcy protection but have discovered a lien against my property. What should I do?

    A bankruptcy discharge will wipe out most unsecured debts, but does not remove liens which may exist against your property. Certain types of liens, such as judgment liens, may be set aside under certain circumstances based on provisions contained in the Bankruptcy Code. In order to seek to remove an eligible lien, you must file a Motion to Avoid Lien with the Court, stating the factual and legal basis supporting your motion and you must serve a copy of the motion on the creditor whose lien you are attempting to set aside as well as on the case trustee. A court order granting the motion is required to have it removed. Advice of counsel for actions to avoid liens is highly recommended.

  • How long does it take to complete the bankruptcy process and receive a discharge of debts?

    Each case is different, but a general rule of thumb is that in a Chapter 7 case a debtor's discharge is usually entered between 90 to 120 days after the case was filed provided no objections to discharge are filed. Once the discharge is entered, the case is generally closed shortly thereafter. The entry of a discharge may take longer if a debtor's entitlement to the discharge is contested by the case trustee, creditors or other parties in interest. In a Chapter 13 case, a discharge is entered upon the successful completion of the repayment plan, usually between 36 to 60 months following bankruptcy. In Chapter 11, corporations and partnerships do not obtain a discharge but instead seek court approval of their plan of reorganization, which is known as plan confirmation. Once the confirmed plan is substantially consummated, a final decree will issue completing the bankruptcy process. This process may take several years to complete.

  • How long does a bankruptcy filing stay on a credit report?

    A bankruptcy generally affects a persons credit rating for 7 to 10 years. However, this depends entirely on the individual credit reporting agency. The Bankruptcy Court has no influence on the type of information the credit bureaus report, nor on how long they keep it in their records. If you wish to review your credit report, visit

    Under a new federal law, you have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Each agency's report on your credit may contain information from different creditors. To receive a free annual credit report, you can call or send a written request to:

    Annual Credit Report Request Service

    PO Box 105281

    Atlanta, GA 30348-5281


    You can also contact the credit reporting agencies directly at:

    Equifax - / 1-800-685-1111

    Experian - / 1-888-397-3742

    TransUnion - / 1-800-916-8800