Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer, Pitfalls for Pro Se Filers, Part 2

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A pro se debtor files many forms in the bankruptcy court. Getty Images

Are you considering filing a bankruptcy case on your own, without the help of a lawyer? If so, you need to do a lot of research to determine if bankruptcy will work for you and to ensure that you take the proper steps to fie your case. One of the most important issue you will face is that of gathering and filling out all the information you need to file a case. 

Most cases in the federal bankruptcy courts are now filed electronically.

Gone are the days when a party could walk up to the counter of the court clerk's office and hand over a stack of papers. Many bankruptcy courts require that the documents be presented on CD-Rom in PDF format (except for the mailing matrix, which is almost always in text format). 

The official bankruptcy forms provided on the US Courts website are forms that can be filled out online and saved in PDF format or printed out and scanned. 

The Forms to File in a Basic Chapter 7 Case

There are literally dozens of pages of documents that need to file filed in a bankruptcy case. Here is a list of documents necessary for a Chapter 7 case. This is not necessarily a complete list.  In addition, your jurisdiction will probably have local forms that conform to procedures for that particular jurisdiction. Plus, you will be required to provide copies of a mailing list of your creditors (also called the Matrix), a certificate of credit counseling, tax returns, pay stubs, social security documents and driver’s license.

 There are other forms that you may need to file during and at the end of your case.

  • B 101 Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy
  • B 101A Initial Statement About an Eviction Judgment Against You (only if you have eviction judgment against you)
  • B 101B    Statement About Payment of an Eviction Judgment Against You (only if you have eviction judgment against you)
  • B 103A Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments
  • B 103B Application to Have Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived
  • B 106  Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities and Certain Statistical Information
  • B 106A/B Schedule A/B: Property
  • B 106C Schedule C:  The Property You Claim as Exempt
  • B 106D Schedule D: Creditors Who Hold Claims Secured by Property
  • B 106E/F Schedule E/F: Creditors Who Have Unsecured Claims
  • B 106G Schedule G:Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
  • B 106H Schedule H: Your Codebtors
  • B 106I Schedule I: Your Income
  • B 106J Schedule J: Your Expenses
  • B 106J-2 Schedule J-2: Expenses for Separate Household of Debtor 2
  • B 107 Your Statement of Financial Affairs for individuals Filing Bankruptcy
  • B 108 Statement of Intention for Individuals Filing Under Chapter 7
  • B 121 Your Statement About Your Social Security Numbers
  • B 122A-1 Chapter 7 Statement of Current Monthly Income
  • B 122A-1  Supp Statement of Exemption from Presumption of Abuse (only if you qualify for an exception to the means test)
  • B 122A-2 Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation (only if your income is above the state median income)

In a Chapter 13 case, you will be required to file:

  • B 122C-1 Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period
  • B 122C-2 Chapter 13 Calculation of Your Disposable Income

You will file a Chapter 13 Plan according to forms and procedures particular to your filing jurisdiction.

 

For more things to think about if you are considering filing bankruptcy on your own, see

Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Can or Should You?

Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Pitfalls for Pro Se Filers, Part 1

Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Pitfalls for Pro Se Filers, Part 3

Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Chapter 13 Issues

Filing Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer: Resources for the Pro Se Filer