What Forms Do I Need to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Most of the required documents to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are Official Forms created by the Judicial Conference of the United States and are uniformly used State to State. Bear in mind that your State or even local district Bankruptcy court may have different or additional forms so speak with a bankruptcy attorney before you file. Normally, the bankruptcy case itself is triggered by filing all of the required documents at once and that’s how we advise our clients to file. Some of the forms, however, are technically due within certain timeframes after filing. Furthermore, in some emergency filings, 11 U.S.C. 1007 allows a case to be initiated by filing less than the full set of documents. Since this sometimes does apply, we broke down the forms you need for bankruptcy into a couple categories.
Minimum Forms to Begin the Case
The minimum set of documents required to initiate a bankruptcy case include the following:
- Voluntary petition in which the debtor requests relief under the Bankruptcy Code (Official Form 101);
- Certification that the debtor received credit counseling or is seeking a waiver or deferral of the requirement (Part 5 to Official Form 101);
- Statement of the debtor’s Social Security number (Official Form 121);
- Initial statement about any prepetition eviction judgment against the debtor, if applicable (Official Form 101A);
- Mailing list of names and addresses for all creditors and certain other entities;
- Application for waiver of the filing fee (Official Form 103B) or application to pay the filing fee in installments (Official Form 103A), if the filing fee is not paid in full with the petition.
Supplemental Forms Due Early After Filing
The following documents, if not filed with the petition, must be filed within fourteen days of following:
- Certificate from an approved credit counseling agency and any debt repayment plan developed by that agency;
- Schedules of the debtor’s assets, liabilities, executory contracts and unexpired leases, codebtors, income, and expenses (Official Forms 106A – 106J);
- Summary of the debtor’s assets and liabilities, and certain statistical information (Official Form 106Sum);
- Declaration about the debtor’s schedules (Official Form 106Dec);
- Statement of financial affairs (Official Form 107);
- Disclosure of attorney fees paid or promised (Director’s Procedural Form B2030), and
- Statement of current monthly income in chapter 7 (Official Form 122A-1) and, if applicable, statement of exemption from presumption of abuse under means test (Official Form 122A-1Supp); or the statement of current monthly income in chapter 13 and calculation of commitment period (Official Form 122C-1).
- Payment advices (pay stubs) the debtor received from an employer in the sixty days before filing the petition; and
- Record of the debtor’s interest in an education savings account or an ABLE account
Certain Other Forms May Be Required
Not every bankruptcy requires the same forms to be filed. There are several forms that might be necessary given your specific circumstances. These include:
- For joint cases where the debtor and their spouse maintain separate households, Schedule J-2: Expenses for Separate Household (Official Form 106J-2) is required.
- If you own a business, you must include a statement (provided as an attachment to Official Form 106I) showing the gross receipts, ordinary and necessary business expenses, and total monthly net income, if the debtor operates a business, profession, rental property, or farm;
- If your calculated income for means testing purposes is above the State’s median, you’ll need to file an additional form. The means test calculation in chapter 7 cases (Official Form 122A-2) or disposable income calculation in chapter 13 cases Official Form 122C-2) is required for debtors above their state’s median income;
- Along the same lines, you may be exempt from means testing. If so, you’ll need to file the Chapter 7 means test exemption attachment (Official Form 122A-1Supp, filed with Official Form 122A-1), for debtors who do not have primarily consumer debts or who otherwise contend that they are exempt from means testing;.
Other Potentially Required Forms
In a chapter 7 case, the debtor must file a statement of intention with respect to secured debts or personal property leases (Official Form 108). This statement is normally filed with the schedules and statement of affairs, but section 521(a)(2)(A) provides that it must be filed within thirty days after the filing of the petition, or on or before the date of the section 341 meeting, whichever is earlier.
Once the initial documents have been filed, certain other documents and forms, such as a certification of completion of the financial education course and copies of tax transcripts or returns, must be filed with the court or provided to the trustee.
As you can see, filing bankruptcy can be very complicated and even preparing the correct forms is a daunting task. That’s why we advise anyone considering filing bankruptcy to call a bankruptcy attorney from our team. You need to make sure the right forms are filled out given your individual circumstances as a failure to do so can result in the dismissal of your case.