Also known as a skeleton bankruptcy filing, an emergency bankruptcy filing is a streamlined process that a debtor can use when they urgently need to stop a creditor from collecting on a debt. Filing for bankruptcy results in an automatic stay being imposed on collections efforts in most circumstances. An emergency bankruptcy can give you access to the protections of the automatic stay by completing certain online forms and then submitting the remaining required documents later, once the stay is in effect.
Emergency bankruptcy filing = a bankruptcy filing containing only key information that is filed to more swiftly obtain an automatic stay; also known as a skeleton filing
Some situations in which a debtor may seek an emergency bankruptcy include when a foreclosure on their home or a repossession of a necessary vehicle is imminent. The amount of paperwork required for a formal bankruptcy filing is substantial and cannot be completed overnight. However, you must file the additional documents within 14 days, or your bankruptcy petition will be dismissed. You may need to comply with other rules as well, which should be provided on the website of the relevant court.
Required Documents for an Emergency Bankruptcy
The core of any bankruptcy filing is the bankruptcy petition, which is essential in an emergency bankruptcy as well. You will need to determine which chapter of the bankruptcy code forms the basis of your filing and state it in the petition, while also providing your identifying information. Most debtors file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 if they are filing for bankruptcy individually. A business might file under Chapter 11, but filing for an emergency bankruptcy as a business is rare.
Emergency Bankruptcy Documents
1The bankruptcy petition
2Creditors’ contact information
3A credit counseling certificate of completion or waiver request
You also will need to provide the contact information of the creditors that will be included in the bankruptcy. The specific information may depend on the rules of the court in which you are filing, so you should check before completing this form. Creditors can include not only collection agencies but also sheriffs, attorneys, and other parties that are seeking repayment on debts from you. Since bankruptcy requires a debtor to take a credit counseling course before filing, you will need to submit proof that you have completed this requirement or submit a request for a waiver of it. Finally, you will need to complete and submit a form known as Form B121, which involves your Social Security information.
Filing for even an emergency bankruptcy involves paying a filing fee, although you can submit a request for a fee waiver if you believe that you qualify. You can also seek to pay your fee in installments if this would alleviate your financial burdens.
In some cases, a debtor may need to complete additional paperwork as required by the court in which they are filing the emergency bankruptcy. While these forms may seem trivial or unnecessary, it is important to comply with the rules in every detail. A court likely will dismiss a bankruptcy petition if a debtor does not meet all of the requirements. For example, a debtor may need to submit an order of dismissal that will go into effect if they do not complete the remaining required forms within the 14-day period. They also may need to provide a cover sheet with certain basic information.