A family farmer or fisherman may be a debtor under Chapter 12. A Chapter 12 case provides the opportunity to restructure debts through a payment plan, which normally lasts three (3) years. With court approval, a plan may last up to five (5) years. The Chapter 12 Trustee receives all funds that are paid through the plan and pays creditors from these funds.
The filing fee for a Chapter 12 case is $275.00. This amount includes a $200.00 filing fee + $75.00 administrative fee.
If an individual debtor is unable to submit the full filing fee at the time of filing, the debtor may request to pay the fee in installments. A completed Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments – EDVA must be filed with the petition and approved by the court. The form is available from the Clerk’s Office or on the Court’s web site at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under Forms – Bankruptcy Forms. The initial installment payment of $75.00 is required at the time of filing.
Acceptable forms of payment of the filing fee are cash, money order, cashier’s check, signed check, credit card and Internet credit card (where the debtor is represented by an attorney). Personal checks and credit cards from the debtor, two-party checks and post-dated checks are not accepted. Payment made by cashier’s check or money order must be made payable to: Clerk, U. S. Bankruptcy Court. Note: The Newport News Divisional Office does not accept cash. In addition, effective February 4, 2008, exact change only is accepted for cash payment of fees and services in the Richmond Divisional Office.
All individual debtors who file a Chapter 12 bankruptcy are required to obtain credit counseling from an approved provider within 180 days before filing for bankruptcy relief, pursuant to U.S.C. Section 109(h). Pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(3)((A), a statement of compliance, together with a certificate and debt repayment plan, if any (as required by 11 U.S.C. Section 521(b)) from the approved provider must be filed with the petition. Pursuant to Local Bankruptcy Rule 1007-1(I)(2), if these documents are not filed with the petition, the Clerk shall enter an order of dismissal of the case, unless the same are filed not later than three (3) days after the filing of the petition. If the debtor has received the credit counseling, but does not have the required certificate, he/she may file a statement pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(3)B). The required documents must then be filed within fourteen (14) days of the order for relief, or the Clerk shall enter an order of dismissal, pursuant to Local Bankruptcy Rule 1007-1(I)(2). The debtor may file a certification, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 109(h(3)(A) describing exigent circumstances that merit a waiver of the requirement, stating that the debtor requested the credit counseling, but was unable to obtain the services during the seven-day (7-day) period, beginning on the date on which the debtor made that request; and the certification must be satisfactory to the Court. Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 109(h)(4), the requirement to obtain credit counseling shall not apply, if after notice and hearing, the court determines that the debtor is unable to complete the requirements due to incapacity, disability or active military duty in a military combat zone. A list of approved providers is available from the Court’s web site, at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under General Information, US Trustee Program, Approved List of Credit Counseling Agencies.
The original of the following documents is required for filing a Chapter 12. Documents preceded by an asterisk (*) are required to initiate a bankruptcy case. All remaining documents must be filed within the specified time period:
- *Notice to Consumer Debtor(s) and Certification Under Section 342(b) of the Bankruptcy Code – Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days. When the debtor is represented by legal counsel, the attorney’s signature on Exhibit B (page 2) of the Voluntary Petition certifies compliance with this provision.
- *Voluntary Petition
- *Statement of Social Security Number(s) – Individual only – this form is retained by the attorney for the debtor(s), is not filed unless the debtor is filing pro se, and is not available for public viewing.
- *Exhibit D – Individual Debtor’s Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling – EDVA; and Certificate of Credit Counseling (or Certificate of Exigent Circumstance or Motion for Exemption). If not filed with the petition, the Clerk will enter an order of dismissal unless filed within 3 days after the filing of the petition. Local Bankruptcy Rule 1007(I)(1),(2) – Individual(s) only
- *Filing Fee - The filing fee is to be paid in full at the time of the filing the petition unless the debtor files, and the court approves, an Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments. An application to pay in installments may be filed by individual debtors only (including married couples) and shall be filed at the time of the filing of the petition. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1006(b). If the debtor is filing pro se, the fee must be paid by cash or money order.
- *List of Creditors – Mailing Matrix (in .txt format), together with Coversheet – if not filed electronically, via CM/ECF, must be submitted on computer diskette. if not filed with the petition, the Clerk will enter an order of dismissal unless filed within 3 days after the filing of the petition.Local Bankruptcy Rule 1007-1(H)(1).
- Statement of Financial Affairs – Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days. 11 U.S.C. § 521(1)(B)(iii) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b),(c).
- Summary of Schedules and Statistical Summary of Certain Liabilities and Related Data – Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c).
- Schedules A through J – Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days. 11 U.S.C. § 521(1) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b),(c).
- Chapter 12 Plan – Must be filed within ninety (90) days after the order for relief, except as otherwise provided by local bankruptcy rule. If neither a plan nor a motion to extend time to file a plan is filed within the ninety (90) days, the Clerk shall enter an order dismissing the case. 11 U.S.C. Section 1221 and Local Bankruptcy Rule 3015(1).
- Disclosure of Compensation of Bankruptcy Preparer (Form B280), if applicable – Must be filed with the petition if the bankruptcy petition is prepared by someone other than the debtor(s). 11 U.S.C. § 110(h)(2).
- Declaration and Signature of Non-Attorney Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (Official Form 19 – which includes Notice to Debtor for Non-Attorney Bankruptcy Petition Preparer), if applicable- Must be filed with the petition if the bankruptcy petition is prepared by someone other than the debtor(s). 11 U.S.C. § 110(b)(2).
- Disclosure of Compensation of Attorney for Debtor, if applicable - Must be filed within fourteen (14) days or other date set by the court. 11 U.S.C. § 329 and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2016(b).
- Copies of Payment Advices (ex.: earnings statements, pay stubs, etc.) or other evidence of payment received by the debtor within 60 days before the filing of the petition. – Individual only – Must be submitted to the trustee, and any creditor who requests copies, at least seven (7) days before the meeting of creditors conducted pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 341. Local Bankruptcy Rule 1007-1(H)(4).
- Copy of the Federal Income Tax Return for the most recent tax year ending immediately before the commencement of the case – Must be submitted to the trustee, and any creditor who timely requests a copy, at least seven (7) days before the date first set for the meeting of creditors. 11 U.S.C. Section 521(e)(2)(A).
- A daytime telephone number for the debtor(s) must be provided to the Clerk’s Office, at the time of filing
- Failure to comply with the filing requirements, or missing deadlines, may result in the dismissal of the case, and the loss of bankruptcy protection
- Chapter 12 Plan payments must be mailed to the Chapter 12 Trustee assigned to the case.
If a debtor fails to file the required documents at the time of the filing of the petition, as set out in the section Chapter 12 Filing Requirements, the appropriate notice of deficiency is completed and forwarded to the pro se debtor or, where the debtor is represented by an attorney, to counsel for the debtor. The notice of deficiency provides a notice that the case will be dismissed if the required document(s) is/are not filed within the required time period, as set out in the notice.
After the filing of the petition, a Notice of Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines is mailed to the debtor(s) and the creditors of the debtor(s). The notice advises the debtor(s) and creditors of the date, time and location of the 341 Meeting of Creditors (the 341 Meeting of Creditors is held at the Office of the U.S. Trustee), the name, address and telephone number of the trustee assigned to the case, and certain deadlines set in the case. The notice provides a warning to the debtor(s) that the case may be dismissed for failure to appear at the 341 Meeting of Creditors. Please read the notice carefully.
Debtor(s) must present a photo identification at the 341 Meeting, as well as verification of his/her Social Security Number, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 521(h). Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 343, the debtor shall appear and submit to examination, under oath at the meeting.
- Official Forms & Petition Preparation – The Clerk’s Office of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court does not supply the official forms required for filing bankruptcy. They may be purchased at an office supply store, or may be downloaded from the courts web site, at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under Forms, Bankruptcy Forms. If someone other than an attorney assists you in the preparation of the bankruptcy forms, the petition preparer must sign the petition and provide you with the notice contained in Official Form B 19, Declaration and Signature of Non-Attorney Bankruptcy Petition Preparer. 11 U.S.C. Section 110.
- Social Security Number – Effective December 1, 2007, individuals filing bankruptcy place only the last four digits of their Social Security Number or Taxpayer-Indentification Number on the bankruptcy petition. Individuals are required to submit, with the bankruptcy petition, a separate Statement of Social Security Number(s), Official Form B 21, in which the full Social Security Number or Taxpayer-Indentification Number is given. If the debtor is pro se, the original of the statement must be provided to the Court; if the debtor is represented by an attorney, the attorney retains the original of the statement. In both instances, the statement is not a part of the public record, and is not viewable by the public. Official Form B 21 may be accessed through the Court’s web site, at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under Forms, Bankruptcy Forms.
- Protection of Personal Information - Any schedule or supporting document filed with he court should not include: 1) the names of minor children – use only initials; 2) birthdates – use only the year of birth; and 3) financial account numbers – use only the last four (4) digits.
- Legal Advice & Resources – The Clerk’s Office of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court is neither permitted to provide legal advice nor to assist in the preparation of the petition, schedules or other documents. The local library contains law books that may be of assistance. The Local Bankruptcy Rules for the Eastern District of Virginia, and information on the various chapters in bankruptcy are available in the Clerk’s Office. The local bankruptcy rules, forms and instructions are also available on the Court’s web site, at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under Court Resources, Local Rules; and http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under Forms, Bankruptcy Forms, respectively.
- Appropriate Courtroom Attire & Conduct – All persons present in a courtroom where a trial, hearing, or other proceeding is in progress must dress and conduct themselves in a manner demonstrating respect for the court. Traditional business attire is considered appropriate. Jeans, shorts, and t-shirts are not appropriate.
- Retaining Your Records – It is advisable to keep copies of your petition, schedules, Discharge of Debtor, and if applicable, your Order of Dismissal. You may wish to obtain copies of other pertinent documents.
- Credit Rating & Reports – The Clerk’s Office of the U. S. Bankruptcy Court is not responsible for credit reports or the information reported by credit bureaus. Bankruptcy records are public records and the information contained in them can be retrieved by anyone. Additionally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows credit bureaus to keep a bankruptcy on your credit record for up to ten (10) years from the date of discharge (not the date of filing of the case). Any disputes that you may have with a credit agency must be solved by you and that agency.