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FAQs For Debtor
Bankruptcy Chapter - under which chapter do I file?
For general information about the different chapters you can file bankruptcy under:
a) Read the “Notice to Individual Consumer Debtor Under Section 342(b) of the Bankruptcy Code”. This notice describes briefly (1) the services available from credit counseling agencies; (2) the purposes, benefits and costs of the four types of bankruptcy proceedings you may file; and (3) informs you about bankruptcy crimes and notifies you that the Attorney General may examine all information you supply in connection with a bankruptcy case.
b) In addition, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has published, Bankruptcy Basics – AO Publication, to provide an overview of the bankruptcy process and a description of the types of bankruptcy chapters.
c) Additional information for debtors filing under chapter 13. Depending on which division your case is assigned to, you will be assigned one of the two chapter 13 standing trustees in this district. Below are links to the clerk’s Chapter 13 “Notice to Debtor”, and each chapter 13 trustee’s web site and guidelines.
Chapter 13 Suggestions Neidich (Miami-Dade Division cases)
Chapter 13 Suggestions Weiner (Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach Division cases)
Copies - how many do I need to file?
Chapter 7: The original documents only (petition, schedules and statements, any attachments) and the Creditor Mailing List.
- NOTE: Ch 7 Corporate and Partnership filers must be represented by an attorney.
Chapter 11: The original documents only (petition, all schedules and statements & attachments) and the Creditor Mailing List.
- NOTE: Ch 11 Corporate and Partnership debtors must be represented by an attorney. An Application to Employ Counsel should be filed with the petition. While individuals filing Chapter 11 are not required to have an attorney, Chapter 11 is a complicated process and it is highly recommended that an individual chapter 11 debtor hire an attorney to avoid making costly mistakes.
- Chapter 13: The original documents only (petition, schedules and statements, plan with certificate of service and any attachments) and the Creditor Mailing List. Chapter 13 is a complicated process and it is highly recommended that a chapter 13 debtor hire an attorney to avoid making costly mistakes.
- Chapter 7: The original documents only (petition, schedules and statements, any attachments) and the Creditor Mailing List.
Dismissed case - what does that mean?
An Order of Dismissal closes the case but does not free the debtor from any debt. Upon dismissal, the automatic stay ends and creditors may start to collect debts unless a discharge is entered before the dismissal and the discharge is not revoked by the court. Often, a case is dismissed when the debtor fails to do something necessary to move the case forward. Avoid these common mistakes to achieve a discharge instead.
Filing Fees - what options do I have?
A filing fee must be paid to complete certain transactions with the court. Payments for filing fees must be received in the exact amount due and must be made in cash, money order or certified cashier’s check. Personal or business checks will not be accepted (see Local Rule 5081-1, Fees – Form of Payment). For more information visit Clerk’s Summary of Fees and Acceptable Forms of Payment.
Means Testing - what is it? where can I find information on it?
Most individual debtors filing for bankruptcy relief are required to complete one or more of the following Official Bankruptcy Forms. The US Trustee has established a website which contains resources for completing these forms, including Census Bureau, IRS Data and Administrative Expenses Multipliers [US Trustee Program – Means Testing Information].
- Statement of Your Current Monthly Income [Form B122A-1 is required for ALL individual chapter 7 debtors]
- Statement of Exemption from Presumption of Abuse Under 707(b)(2) [Form B122A-1 Supp]
- Means Test Calculation [Form B122A-2]
- Statement of Your Current Monthly Income [Form B122B is required for ALL individual chapter 11 debtors]
- Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period [Form B122C-1 is required for ALL individual chapter 13 debtors]
- Calculation of Your Disposable Income [Form B122C-2]
Reaffirmation Agreement - what documents do I need?
A Reaffirmation Agreement must be filed using Official Bankruptcy Form Reaffirmation Agreememt Cover Sheet and other Reaffirmation Agreement Form(s), when applicable. Visit the Reaffirmation Agreement page to review requirements, and additional information.
- Reaffirmation Agreement Cover Sheet [Form B 427]
- Reaffirmation Documents [B 2400A]
- Motion for Approval of Reaffirmation Agreement [B 2400B]
- Order on Reaffirmation Agreement [B 2400C]
- Reaffirmation Agreement [B 2400A/B ALT]
- Order on Reaffirmation Agreement [B 2400C ALT]
Required Forms - what type of required forms are needed to file?
When filing, make sure the required forms are included and current. 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. Below you'll find information on the various forms and instructions to guide you when filing.
Local Forms: Additionally, this court has adopted various local forms for use in filing documents in this court. If a local rule or administrative order directs you to use a specific local form, you must use the latest version of the form which is posted on this court’s web site. Visit our All Forms page to review the combination of forms that may be needed during the life of your case.
Intructions: For additional assistance when filing follow the guidelines provided in the Clerk's Filing Instructions.
Services Matrices - what list of creditors do I need to provide?
Service information about creditors you listed on your schedules must be provided in the form of a service matrix so that notices can be sent to all your creditors. It is your responsibility to make sure that the mailing information for each of your creditors is accurate and complete and in the correct form required by the court. You should file this document along with your schedules and other required documents when you file your petition. The absolute deadline to file the service matrix of creditors is 14 days after you file your petition. Before filing the matrix, please review the Clerk’s Instructions for Preparing, Submitting and Obtaining Service Matrices.
Tax Returns - who do I need to provide this to?
Under the Bankruptcy Code and rules or order of the court, the debtor, in some instances may be required to either provide copies of tax returns to the trustee, creditors or file them with the court. The following links provide information about providing tax returns to trustees or creditors.