Filing a Chapter 7 Case


PLEASE NOTE:  An attorney is needed for non-individual cases. Because there are many complicated issues that may come up in a bankruptcy case, individuals may wish to hire an attorney who is allowed to practice in this bankruptcy court.  If you do choose to represent yourself as a pro se filer and go through the bankruptcy case without a lawyer, you must follow all federal and local court laws and requirements and use the federal and local required forms that are available from the clerk’s office or the court’s web site for filing documents.   DO NOT use any other forms; they may be from a different court or may be old  forms that cannot be used in this court since they have been replaced by updated versions.

The judges, judges’ staff, clerk, or clerk’s staff are not permitted to provide legal advice or speak with you in an ex parte communication (which means without the other side present).


Prior to Filing a Bankruptcy Petition:



Individual debtors MUST complete a credit counseling course from an approved credit counseling agency, prior to filing bankruptcy.  This requirement, along with any exceptions that may apply, are explained in this clerk’s notice:  “STOP & READ BEFORE FILING” (Spanish) (Creole).   A list of approved Credit Counseling Agencies can be located on the U.S. Trustee’s website at


Photo Identification Requirement for Pro Se Petitions:

Debtors who are not represented by an attorney must present current official government photo identification at the time the petition is presented for filing. [See the clerk’s public notice “New Photo Identification Requirement for Debtors Filing a Petition Without Attorney Representation Effective August 1, 2011”].


Required Documents For Filing a Chapter 7 Case:

Documents should be printed on 8½ X 11 inch paper and on one side of the paper only.  The original, signed documents are to be filed with the Court.


Other Documents That May Be Required At The Time Of Filing:


Filing Fees And Acceptable Methods Of Payment:

Please view the Clerk’s Summary of Fees for current filing fee.  Payment must be made in the form of a money order, cashier’s check (no personal checks accepted) or if filing in person, exact cash.   (NOTE:  The clerk’s office cannot accept foreign currency and does not provide change).

Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments (LF-03) – If the full filing fee cannot be paid at the time of filing the petition, an application can be filed, with the petition package, requesting the fee be paid in payments.  Only individual debtors may apply to pay the filing fee in installments.  A minimum installment payment of one half the filing fee at the time of filing of the petition is required.  [See Local Rule 1006-1.]   The clerk will not accept a voluntary petition presented for filing by a debtor seeking to pay filing fee in installments if filing fees remain due from any previous case filed by that debtor unless the application is accompanied by payment of all previously due fees.  [See Local Rules 1002-1(B)(1)(b) and 1006-1(A).]

Application to have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived (103B) – Individual debtors in chapter 7 cases who meet certain financial requirements may apply for a waiver of the filing and certain other fees.  Official Bankruptcy Form “Application to have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived” must be submitted in accordance with the Judicial Conference of the United States’ “Procedures Regarding the Chapter 7 Fee Waiver Provisions,” Local Rule 1006-1(B), and poverty guidelines that must be met in order to qualify for this waiver.


After Filing A Bankruptcy Petition:

Each debtor, including both spouses in a joint case, must complete a Financial Management Course and promptly file Official Bankruptcy Form “Certification About a Financial Management Course (423)” and/or “Certificate of Debtor Education,” which is provided by an approved personal financial management counselor.  Completion of the course is a condition for the debtor to obtain a Discharge.  A list of approved debtor education course providers can be obtained from the U.S. Trustee’s website at

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