The process of filing for bankruptcy can be complex and technical, regardless of whether you are filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. The website of the United States Courts provides the official bankruptcy forms, which you can print out and complete. You also may need to comply with specific requirements imposed by the bankruptcy court in your area, which may involve additional forms. The bankruptcy court clerk or an attorney can explain these requirements and provide you with the necessary forms. In some cases, the court’s website will provide the forms as well.
If you are proceeding without an attorney, you likely will need to file the bankruptcy forms with the court in person. (A few courts allow debtors to file electronically.) You may need to follow very specific rules regarding the order of the forms, the number of copies of each form, and the way in which the forms are attached. If you have retained an attorney, they will handle the nuances of this process on your behalf. Even if you retain an attorney, though, you will need to verify the accuracy of the information on the forms. Intentionally providing false or incomplete information can result in serious penalties, including prison time.
Where to Submit Your Forms
A bankruptcy proceeding is filed in federal court. Each state in the U.S. has one or more federal judicial districts. You will need to file in the district where you have your primary residence or in the district where you have been living for the majority of the 180 days immediately before you file. (In many situations, this will be the same district.) Business owners may have some additional options to consider.
Chapter 7 Forms
The main form in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is Form B 101, which is the voluntary petition. This will provide your identifying information, in addition to information about any past bankruptcy filings, your completion of the credit counseling requirement, and other basic issues. If you have an eviction judgment against you, you will need to fill out Forms B 101A and B 101B. If you are unable to pay the filing fee, you can ask to pay the fee in installments under Form B 103A or ask for a waiver under Form B 103B.
Form B 106 and its related forms will provide a list (or “schedule”) of your assets and liabilities. Form B 106A/B will provide a schedule of your property, Form B 106C will provide a schedule of your claimed exemptions, Form B 106D will list secured creditors, Form B 106E/F will list unsecured creditors, and Form B 106G will cover executory contracts and unexpired leases. Meanwhile, Form B 106H will provide the information of any co-debtors on your debts, who will need to pay if you do not pay your debts. Form B 106I will cover your income, and Form B 106J will cover your monthly expenses.
Form B 107 provides your Statement of Financial Affairs, which covers information such as your total income over the last two years, recent payments to creditors, ongoing lawsuits, recent property transfers, and property that you are holding for others. Form B 108 is your Statement of Intention for how you plan to handle secured debts and unexpired leases. Form B 121 provides your Social Security number. Forms B 122A-1 and B 122A-2 relate to the means test for Chapter 7 eligibility. They provide your current monthly income and describe why you qualify under the means test if your income is greater than the state median.
Chapter 13 Forms
The forms that a debtor needs to file in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy are somewhat similar. Form B 101, Forms B 101A and 101B, and Form B 106 and its related forms cover the same issues that they do under Chapter 7. If you are filing under Chapter 13, you should be able to pay the filing fee without a waiver, so Forms B 103A and 103B will not play a role. You will not need to complete Form B 108 in Chapter 13. You will need to complete Form B 121 to provide your Social Security Number.
The forms that are specific to Chapter 13 are Forms B 122C-1 and B 122C-2. Form B 122C-1 provides your current monthly income and sets out the period in which you expect to complete your repayment plan. Form B 122C-2 provides your disposable income, which comprises the funds that you will use to make payments under the plan. In addition to these forms, you will need to submit a separate proposal for your repayment plan. This is not a specific form and does not follow a certain template, but you can ask an attorney about what you should include in the plan.