April 24, 2014

Chapter 13 – “Wage Earner Plan”


A Chapter 13 case provides the opportunity to restructure debts through a payment plan which normally lasts three years.  With court approval, a plan may last up to five years.  The Chapter 13 Trustee receives all funds paid into the plan and pays creditors from these funds.

Chapter 13 Filing Fee
Credit Counseling & Debtor Education
Chapter 13 Filing Requirements
Notice of Possible Dismissal
Meeting of Creditors
General Information


Chapter 13 Filing Fee

The filing fee for a Chapter 13 case is $281.00.  This amount includes a $235.00 filing fee + $46.00 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 $90.00 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.


Credit Counseling and Debtor Education

All individual debtors who file a Chapter 13 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.

Debtors are also required to complete an instructional course in personal financial management from an approved provider after filing bankruptcy, pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(7).  The debtor must file with the court a statement of completion of the course, either as provided by the provider or prepared as prescribed by Official Form 23, which may be accessed through the Court’s web site, at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under Forms – Bankruptcy Forms.  The certificate must be filed within sixty (60) days of the date first set for the 341 Meeting of Creditors.  Failure to file the certificate will result in the closing of the case without entry of a discharge.  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 Personal Financial Management Providers.


Chapter 13 Filing Requirements

The original of the following documents is required for filing a Chapter 13.  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) – 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  can 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 CreditorsMailing 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 13 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable  Income (Form B22C)Individual(s) only – Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c).
  • Chapter 13 Plan and Special Notice to Secured Creditor (if applicable)- Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 3015.  Use only the Chapter 13 Plan form approved by the Court, available upon request from the Clerk’s Office and on the Court’s website under Forms, Bankruptcy Forms.
  • 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).

NOTE:

  • 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 13 Plan payments must be mailed to the Chapter 13 Trustee assigned to the case.

Notice of Possible Dismissal

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 13 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.


Meeting of Creditors

After the filing of the petition, a Notice of Chapter 13 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.


General Information

  • 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.

Chapter 12 – “Family Farmer or Fisherman”


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.

Chapter 12 Filing Fee
Credit Counseling
Chapter 12 Filing Requirements
Notice of Possible Dismissal
Meeting of Creditors
General Information


Chapter 12 Filing Fee

The filing fee for a Chapter 12 case is $246.00.  This amount includes a $200.00 filing fee + $46.00 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 $105.00 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.


Credit Counseling

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.


Chapter 12  Filing Requirements

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 CreditorsMailing 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).

NOTE:

  • 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.

Notice of Possible Dismissal

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.


Meeting of Creditors

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.


General Information

  • 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.

Chapter 11 – “Reorganization”


A Chapter 11 case provides the opportunity to reorganize or readjust debts through a plan, to allow the debtor to remain in business and to pay creditors over time.  Chapter 11 is typically used to reorganize a business, which may be a corporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership.  Individuals may also seek relief under Chapter 11.

Chapter 11 Filing Fee
Credit Counseling & Debtor Education
Chapter 11 Filing Requirements
Notice of Possible Dismissal
Meeting of Creditors
General Information


Chapter 11 Filing Fee

The filing fee for a Chapter 11 case is $1,213.00.  This amount includes a $1,167.00 filing fee + $46.00 administrative fee.  The filing fee for a Chapter 11 Railroad case is $1,046.00.  This amount includes a $1,000.00 filing fee + $46.00 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 $430.00 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.


Credit Counseling and Debtor Education

All individual debtors who file a Chapter 11 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.

Individual debtors, in a Chapter 11 case where 11 U.S.C. Section 1141(d)(3) applies, are also required to complete an instructional course in personal financial management from an approved provider after filing bankruptcy, pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(7).  The debtor must file with the court a statement of completion of the course, either as provided by the provider or prepared as prescribed by Official Form 23, which may be accessed through the Court’s web site, at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under Forms – Bankruptcy Forms.  The certificate must be filed within sixty (60) days of the date first set for the 341 Meeting of Creditors.  Failure to file the certificate will result in the closing of the case without entry of a discharge.  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 Personal Financial Management Providers.


Chapter 11 Filing Requirements

The original of the following documents is required for filing a Chapter 11.  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 not filed unless the debtor is filing pro se, or, if the debtor is represented by an attorney, an amended statement is necessary.  It is not part of the public record 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
  • *Corporate ResolutionCorporation only – Local Bankruptcy Rule 5005-1(D)(1)(c)
  • *Corporate Ownership StatementCorporation only – Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(a)(1)
  • *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  can 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 CreditorsMailing 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).
  • *List of Creditors Holding 20 Largest Unsecured Claims – Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(d).  Must be filed with the petition or within three (3) days of the filing of the petition.
  • 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).
  • List of Equity Security Holders  – Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(a)(3).
  • Chapter 11 Statement of Current Monthly Income (Official Form B 22B) – Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c). - Individual(s) only
  • 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).
  • *Small Business:  Balance Sheet, Statement of Operations, Cash-Flow Statement and Income Tax Return (or a statement, under penalty of perjury,  that no Balance Sheet, Statement of Operations or Cash-Flow Statement has been prepared and no Federal Tax Return has been filed) – Must be filed with the petition or, in an involuntary case, within seven (7) days after the date of the order for relief. 11 U.S.C. Section 1116(1)(A), (B).

NOTE:

  • Corporations and Partnerships must be represented by an attorney in filing bankruptcy
  • 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

Notice of Possible Dismissal

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 11 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.


Meeting of Creditors

After the filing of the petition, a Notice of Chapter 11 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),  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.


General Information

  • 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.

Chapter 7 – “Liquidation”


Chapter 7 is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code which provides for liquidation of the debtor’s assets, which is the sale of the debtor’s non-exempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors.

Chapter 7 Filing Fee
Credit Counseling & Debtor Education
Chapter 7 Filing Requirements
Notice of Possible Dismissal
Meeting of Creditors
General Information


Chapter 7 Filing Fee

The filing fee for a Chapter 7 case is $306.00.  This amount includes a $245.00 filing fee + $46.00 administrative fee + $15.00 trustee surcharge.

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 $100.00 is required at the time of filing.

If an individual debtor is unable to pay the filing fee either in full or in installments, the Court may “waive” the filing fee, as provided in 28 U.S.C. Section 1930(f), and as further provided that the debtor meets certain requirements.  An Application for Waiver of the Chapter 7 Filing Fee for Individuals Who Cannot Pay The Filing Fee in Full or In Installments (Official Form B 3B), must be filed with the petition.  The form is available from the Clerk’s Office, or may be accessed through the Court’s web site, at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov,  under Forms – Bankruptcy Forms.  By statute, the Court must first make a determination that the individual debtor “has income less than one hundred fifty percent (150%) of the office poverty line applicable to a family of the size involved, and is unable  to pay the fee in installments.”  If the case is a joint case, both debtors must provide the requested information, sign and date the application.

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.


Credit Counseling & Debtor Education

All individual debtors who file a Chapter 7 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.

Debtors are also required to complete an instructional course in personal financial management from an approved provider after filing bankruptcy, pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(7).  The debtor must file with the court a statement of completion of the course, either as provided by the provider or prepared as prescribed by Official Form 23, which may be accessed through the Court’s web site, at http://www.vaeb.uscourts.gov, under Forms – Bankruptcy Forms.  The certificate must be filed within sixty (60) days of the date first set for the 341 Meeting of Creditors.  Failure to file the certificate will result in the closing of the case without entry of a discharge.  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 Personal Financial Management Providers.


Chapter 7  Filing Requirements

The original of the following documents is required for filing a Chapter 7.  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 – see also, Credit Counseling and Debtor Education, above.
  • *Corporate ResolutionCorporation only - Local Bankruptcy Rule 5005-1(D)(1)(c)
  • *Corporate Ownership StatementCorporation only – Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(a)(1)
  • *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 or an Application for Waiver of Chapter 7 Filing Fee (Official Form B 3B).   An application to pay in installments or for waiver of the filing fee can 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 in cash or money order.
  • *List of CreditorsMailing 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).
  • Statement of IntentionIndividual(s) only - Must be filed with the petition or within thirty (30) days or by the date set for the § 341 Meeting of Creditors, whichever is earlier.  11 U.S.C. §§ 362(h) and 521(a)(2).
  • Chapter 7 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation (Form B22A)Individual(s) only – Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c).
  • 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).

NOTE:

  • Corporations and Partnerships must be represented by an attorney in filing bankruptcy
  • 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

Notice of Possible Dismissal

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 7 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.


Meeting of Creditors

After the filing of the petition, a Notice of Chapter 7 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.


General Information

  • 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.

Filing Without An Attorney (Pro Se)


The information provided here is intended to answer frequently asked questions from pro se debtors (debtors without attorney representation) and creditors, and is not to be interpreted as legal advice.  The information is subject to change without notice.

Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney
Creditor and Other Non-Debtor Parties Proceeding Without an Attorney


Filing for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney

A person who files for bankruptcy without the representation of an attorney is a pro se debtor.  Only individuals (which includes married couples) are eligible to file a pro se case.  Other debtors, including, but not limited to corporations, partnerships, municipalities and those entities who wish to file a Chapter 9 or Chapter 15 case must retain an attorney.

Pro se debtors must comply with the Bankruptcy Code (Title 11, U. S. Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Fed. R. Bankr. P.) and the Local Rules for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Failure to do so may result in dismissal of the case.

Individual debtors are generally required to obtain credit counseling from an approved provider within 180 days before filing a case, and to file a statement of compliance and a certificate of credit counseling furnished by the provider, pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 109(h)(i).  Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 109(h)(3), the requirements of paragraph (1) shall not apply if the debtor(s) file(s) a certification that describes exigent circumstances that merit a waiver of the requirements of paragraph (1); that states that the debtor requested, but was unable to obtain the credit counseling services, from an approved non-profit budget and credit counseling agency, during the 7-day period beginning on the date on which the request was made; and, the certification is satisfactory to the court.  WARNING:  Failure to complete the credit counseling prior to the filing of the petition (and no earlier than 180 days prior to the filing), or, in the alternative, failure to meet the requirements for an exemption from the requirement (pursuant to 11 U. S. C. Section 109(h)(4) ) or an extension to complete the credit counseling, will result in the dismissal of the case pursuant to Local Bankruptcy Rule 1007-1(I)(2).  Things to bear in mind:

  • Credit counseling may be conducted on a computer.  If you do not have a computer, the public library may allow use of its computers.  Credit counseling may also be obtained in person or by telephone.
  • Be sure that you take the counseling from a U. S. Trustee-approved credit counseling agency; make it clear to the agency that you need the counseling for the purpose of filing a bankruptcy case.
  • Ask the credit counseling agency to provide to you a certificate describing the credit counseling services provided, as well as a copy of any debt repayment plan developed through the agency.  you will need to file these documents in your bankruptcy case (see 11 U.S.C. 521(b)).
  • Be sure that the certificate you receive reflects that you received the credit counseling within 180 days prior to filing your petition.  Credit counseling received greater than 180 days prior to filing your petition will not satisfy the statutory requirement.
  • Some courts interpret the general statutory requirement in 11 U.S.C. Section 109(h)(1), that the debtor obtained credit counseling “during the 180-day period preceding the date of filing of the petition”, as meaning that credit counseling obtained prior to the filing of the petition, on the day of filing the petition, does not satisfy the requirement.
  • Debtor education, obtained from an approved debtor education provider, is not the same thing as pre-petition credit counseling, and does not satisfy the requirement of 11 U.S.C. Section 109(h)(1).

These additional resources are recommended for review prior to filing:


Creditor and Other Non-Debtor Parties Proceeding Without an Attorney

Creditors and other non-debtor parties should be aware of the following points regarding proceeding pro se:

Right of A Creditor Who is an Individual to Appear and Participate in Case and to File Pleadings/Documents

  • A creditor who is an individual may pursue any matter pro se.  Although many creditors are able to successfully proceed pro se, with respect to some of the more routine aspects of a bankruptcy case (ex.:  filing a proof of claim), you may wish to consult with an attorney before proceeding, in order to make sure that you are proceeding properly.

Filing of Papers by Corporations and Partnerships – Corporations and partnerships generally may not file pleadings/documents pro se,  in a bankruptcy case, and, with certain exceptions, will need to obtain representation by an attorney to file any pleadings/documents.  However, any creditor, including a corporation or a partnership, through a non-attorney representative (ex.:  member, officer, or employee) may file any document pro se that would not constitute the practice of law, including the following documents, or amended version thereof:

  • A Request for Notice/Service, under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2002(i)
  • A Proof of Claim or Amended Proof of Claim (Official Form B10)
  • A Notice of Mortgage Payment Change
  • A Notice of Post-petition Mortgage Fees, Expenses and Charges
  • A Response to Notice of Final Cure Payment Rule
  • A Transfer of Claim Other Than for Security (Form B210a)
  • A Reaffirmation Agreement and proposed Order regarding that Agreement
  • A Withdrawal
  • A Withdrawal of Claim

Participation by Corporations and Partnerships at the Meeting of Creditors – The meeting of creditors is the initial meeting at which the debtor must appear and submit to an examination, under oath, under 11 U.S.C. Section 343.

  • Under 11 U. S. C. Section 341(c), and notwithstanding any other statute, rule or state constitution provision to the contrary, a creditor (including a corporation or partnership), or representative of such creditor,  holding a claim arising from a consumer debt, must be permitted to appear at and participate in the meeting of creditors in a case under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Inability of Corporations and Partnerships to File Pleadings/Documents and Appear Pro Se in a Proceeding Brought By or Against It

  • A corporation or partnership may not commence a proceeding pro se or appear in a proceeding commenced by it  pro se.  For example, a corporation may not file a motion for relief from the automatic stay, pro se.
  • A corporation or partnership may not appear pro se to defend against a proceeding brought against it in a case.  This includes both filing pleadings/documents and representing itself without an attorney at any hearing.  For example, it may not appear pro se to defend against an objection to its proof of claim (however, it could file an amended proof of claim pro se, to resolve the objection, as such filing is not considered a prohibited pro se appearance).
  • Although a corporation or partnership may not file pleadings/documents pro se in a proceeding brought against it, or appear pro se at any hearing, it may, without an attorney, contact the attorney of the opposing party, to discuss a settlement of the matter.  The Court, however, encourages corporations and partnerships to consult with competent legal counsel if in need of legal advice.

Local Rules – CM/ECF Policy Statement


Local Bankruptcy Rules (LBR) Committee

The Judges for the Eastern District of Virginia directed the Clerk to form a standing committee on Local Bankruptcy Rules.  It is the task of the Committee to solicit input from various constituencies, including the debtors’ and creditors’ bar for purposes of modifying, changing and improving the Local Bankruptcy Rules (LBR).

Comments regarding the local rules should be directed to localrules@vaeb.uscourts.gov, or may be mailed to:

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Attn:  Local Bankruptcy Rules
701 East Broad Street, Suite 4000
Richmond, VA 23219


Current Local Rules

Archived Local Rules


Current CM/ECF Policy Statement

Archived CM/ECF Policy Statements


Archived Interim Procedures (BAPCPA)

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions )



How do I clear my browser cache/delete temporary Internet files?

The temporary internet files folder, also referred to as cache, contains a record of the places you have been and the items you have downloaded from the Web.  This folder is stored within your computer system.  All of these files take up space.  So, from time to time, you should clear the files stored in your cache to free up space on your computer.  This is called clearing the cache, or deleting temporary Internet files.  Instructions for clearing the cache may differ from browser to browser.  Click here to be re-directed to instructions for clearing the cache for a number of the major browsers.

What is Pop-up Blocker?  How do I turn it off?

 Pop-up Blocker is a feature that lets you limit or block windows that “pop-up” in your browser.  When Pop-up Blocker is turned on, the Information bar displays a message that the “Pop-up blocked.  To see this pop-up or additional options, click here.”  Click the appropriate hyperlink to view instructions for turning off Pop-up Blocker in Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

How do I obtain a login and password to file documents in CM/ECF?

To become a registered user of the CM/ECF system, you must first complete the appropriate registration form.  For attorneys who are admitted to practice in the Eastern District of Virginia, the appropriate form is the Full Participant Registration form.  For attorneys who practice outside of the Eastern District of Virginia, and creditors who file large volumes of proofs of claim, the appropriate form is the Limited Participant Registration form or the Limited Participant Registration Form [Case Specific].   The forms are located on our website on the Getting Started with CM/ECF page, accessed through the ECF Helpdesk link.  Upon completion, the form is mailed to the appropriate address, as shown on the form.  Full participants may be required to obtain CM/ECF training prior to issuance of a login and password for the system.

How do I change my mailing address, firm name and/or password?

Log into CM/ECF using your CM/ECF login and password.

To change account information (ex.:  firm name (office), address, phone number, etc.):  From the menu bar, select Utilities.  From the Utilities screen, select Maintain Your ECF Account.  On the Maintain Account Screen, make the appropriate changes, and click Submit.  On the Person/Search Open and/or Closed Cases screen, select appropriately, and click Submit.  On the Update Cases screen, select appropriately and click Submit.  A confirmation of the update displays.

To change e-mail information:  From the menu bar, select Utilities.  From the Utilities screen, select Maintain Your ECF Account.  From the account screen, click the Email information button.  On the Email information screen, make the appropriate changes, and click Return to Account screen.  On the Maintain User Account screen, click Submit.  On the following screen, click Submit.  A confirmation of the update displays.

To change your password:  From the menu bar, select Utilities.  From the Utilities screen, select Change Your Password.  On the Change Your Password Screen, key your new password,  re-enter your new password and click Submit.  A confirmation of the change displays.

Why do I have access only to the menu options Query, Reports, Utilities and Logout, when I log into CM/ECF?

The CM/ECF login and password, assigned by the Court, allows you access to file cases and documents in the CM/ECF system, through the CM/ECF links, Bankruptcy and Adversary.  In order to retrieve information from the system, you must also have a PACER login and password, which is assigned by the PACER Service Center.  When you log into CM/ECF initially with your PACER login and password, you will only have access to the Query, Reports, Utilities and Logout menu options.  If you have logged in incorrectly, and wish to file documents, select Logout, clear your cache, and log into the system again, using your CM/ECF login and password.

Can I use my CM/ECF login and password to file documents in a bankruptcy court in another district?

No.  You must obtain a separate login and password for each court in which you file documents.

Can I use my PACER login and password to retrieve information from other courts, in other districts?

Yes.  A single PACER login and password is assigned to a user.  This allows information to be retrieved from the CM/ECF database of any U. S. Bankruptcy Court, U. S. District Court and U. S. Court of Appeals, as well as the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, the U. S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U. S. Supreme Court.

What is a third-party complaint?  Is there a fee for filing?

A third party complaint is a complaint filed against a third party by a defendant or plaintiff alleging that the third party is liable for all or part of a claim or counterclaim in dispute between the original parties.  There is no fee for filing a third-party complaint.

Who is responsible for issuing a summons or alias summons in an adversary proceeding?  How is this accomplished?

The Clerk’s Office is responsible for issuing the summons, or alias summons,  in an adversary proceeding.  Upon the docketing of the completed summons (which constitutes issuance), the filing attorney receives electronic notification of the issuance, and is responsible for printing and serving the summons together with the complaint and any printed scheduling order.

Effective 12/1/2005 FRBP 7004(a)(2) provides that “The clerk may sign, seal, and issue a summons electronically by putting “/s/” before the clerk’s name and include the court’s seal on the summons.”.  This subsection does not authorize electronic service of the summons.  The summons, complaint and any scheduling order must be served by the plaintiff in accordance with FRBP 7004(b).

What form do I use for filing a Chapter 13 Plan?

Pursuant to Local Bankruptcy Rule 3015-2(A), all Chapter 13 Plans and Related Motions must be filed on the revised form approved by the Court for use in the Eastern District of Virginia.  The revised plan may be obtained from the Court’s web site, under Bankruptcy Forms, accessed through the Forms link.

What is the difference between an amended Chapter 13 plan and a modified Chapter 13 plan?

An amended Chapter 13 plan is one that is changed prior to confirmation of the plan, whereas a modified plan is one that is changed after confirmation of the plan.

Can the Court grant a discharge, under a Chapter 12 or a Chapter 13 plan, prior to completion of  payments under the respective plan (e.g. hardship discharge)?

The Court may grant  a discharge prior to completion of payments under a Chapter 12 plan or a Chapter 13 plan, provided that certain conditions are met, upon motion filed by the debtor for a hardship discharge.  Applicable Bankruptcy Code Sections are:  523(c); 1228(b)(1), (2) and (3); and 1328(b)(1), (2) and (3).  Applicable Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure are 2002 and 4007d).

What is the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act of 2008?

On October 20, 2008, the president signed into law the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act of 2008 (Act).  The Act provides a temporary exclusion from the bankruptcy means test for Reservists and members of the National Guard called for no less than 90 days to active duty or homeland defense activity after September 11, 2001.  Click here for more detailed information regarding the Act.

What event code do I use if only one debtor in a joint Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 case wants to convert to a Chapter 7 case?

The proper event to use is Notice of Voluntary Conversion of Joint Debtor, when only one debtor in a joint Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 case is converting to a Chapter 7 case

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