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other forms; they may be from a different court or may be old forms that cannot be used in this court since they have been replaced by updated versions.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.
The filing fee for a Chapter 7 petition is $338. Filing fee for a petition that is electronically transmitted to the Clerk, must be remitted to the Clerk within 14 days by mailing a certified check or money order (no cash will be accepted by mail), in the exact amount, payable to Clerk, U.S. Court. Case number must be included on the certified check or money order. Filer should include a self-addressed stamped envelope if a receipt is requested. Alternatively, the debtor may:
1. Pay Filing Fee in Installments. Only individual debtors (including joint petitions filed) may apply to pay the filing fee in installments. You must use the Local Form “Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments”. Both debtors, if joint petition, must sign the application. A minimum installment payment of one half the filing fee at the time of filing of the petition is required. 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)]; or
2. File an Application to Waive Filing Fee. Individual debtors in chapter 7 cases who meet certain financial requirements may apply for a waiver of the filing and certain other fees by filing Official Bankruptcy Form 103B “Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived”. See information for chapter 7 fee waivers along with a link to the poverty guidelines that must be met in order to qualify for this waiver.
Documents Due at Time of Filing of Bankruptcy Petition
- Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
- Initial Statement About an Eviction Judgment Against You (if applicable)
- Statement About Your Social Security Numbers
- Certificate of Credit Counseling and Debt Repayment Plan (or certificate pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(3) or a request pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(4))
- Creditor Matrix (name and address ONLY of each creditor) [see Clerk’s instructions for Preparing, Submitting and Obtaining Service Matrices]
- Photo ID Requirement legible photocopy of a current government-issued photo ID See Administrative Order 2020-07
Documents Due Within 14 Days
- Payment of Filing Fee mail cashier’s check or money order (DO NOT SEND cash in the mail) See Administrative Order 2020-07
- Pre-petition Statement Pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr.P. 2017-1
- Original signed petition or other documents containing wet signature See Administrative Order 2020-07
- Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities and Certain Statistical Information
- Schedule A/B: Property
- Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt
- Schedule D: Creditors Who Have Claims Secured By Property
- Schedule E/F: Creditors Who Have Unsecured Claims
- Schedule G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
- Schedule H: Your Co-debtors
- Schedule I: Your Income
- Schedule J: Your Expenses
- Schedule J-2: Expenses for Separate Household of Debtor 2 (if applicable)
- Declaration About an Individual Debtor’s Schedules
- Statement of Financial Affairs for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
- Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation
- Statement of Intention for Individuals Filing Under Chapter 7
- Declaration Regarding Payment Advices - Local Form - Copies of Pay Statements received within 60 days of filing from any Employer or a statement indicating this requirement is not applicable [Show only last four digits of Social Security Number]
Other Documents that May be Required at the Time of Filing:
- Bankruptcy Petition Preparer's Notice, Declaration and Signature
- Disclosure of Compensation of Bankruptcy Petition Preparer
- Disclosure of Compensation of Attorney for Debtor
- Certification of a Personal Financial Management Course - Certificate must be filed with the court within 60 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors under § 341 of the code in order to receive a discharge. Financial Management Course.