• 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.

  • Translation Services

    The court does not provide translators. You may bring a translator with you. For professional translation services please click here.

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  • 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.

  • My ex-spouse has filed bankruptcy. They have listed me as a co-signer on a scheduled debt. What can I do? Does my divorce decree protect me?

    If liable with a former spouse/debtor on a debt, the non-debtor former spouse should seek competent legal advice for a thorough explanation of their rights and obligations in this area as soon as they learn that the ex-spouse has filed a bankruptcy petition.

  • My case was dismissed, what does that mean?

    A dismissal order ends the case and removes it from bankruptcy jurisdiction. When the court dismisses a case, the ‘automatic stay’ is no longer in effect and creditors may start to collect on their debts again. Some types of dismissals – such as one for cause (failing to file required schedules and statements) may contain a 180-day bar to refiling. Unless the debtor appeals the dismissal or moves for reconsideration within 14 days of the order, the case will be automatically closed.

  • My case has been closed, but I need to file further documents – what do I do?

    In order to file additional documents after your case is closed, you must first file a Motion to Reopen the case and pay the applicable re-opening fee. The Motion to Reopen must specifically state why the case is being sought to be re-opened. Additionally, if any creditors will be affected by the re-opening (such as adding new creditors), the debtor must also serve them with a copy of the Motion to Reopen. If the Court grants the Motion to Reopen, the debtor may then file the necessary documents.

  • 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.

  • Is bankruptcy information public information? Can anyone look at it?

    The information contained in documents filed in bankruptcy cases are a matter of public record, and can be reviewed by members of the general public. The documents can be reviewed by members of the public in the Clerk's office during regular business hours or, for attorneys and parties who have access to PACER, over the Internet 24 hours a day.

    Access to pleadings and papers filed in bankruptcy cases is not restricted unless there is some good basis for "sealing" information that is contained in them. To have a document filed "Under Seal" or "In Camera," a motion must be filed explaining the need to protect the information in that document from public view.

    If you are a debtor, you should be aware that the filing of bankruptcy may affect your credit rating. Several reporting agencies report bankruptcy information and statistics to the public, and credit reporting agencies also regularly collect bankruptcy information.

    Because bankruptcy information is public, complete social security or account numbers should never appear on documents in their entirety. Where required, include only the last four digits.

  • 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.

  • 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 available assets must be sold and claims reviewed prior to any payout. Creditors should contact the chapter 7 trustee and inquire when they expect 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 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.