Filing Bankruptcy in Federal Courts

By: Eddie Tobey

One cannot file for bankruptcy through US state courts, since exclusive jurisdiction is vested with Federal courts. The court charges a certain fee at the time of filing, depending on which category of bankruptcy is being filed for. Specifically, a court fee for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $274, $1,039 for Chapter 11, $239 for Chapter 12 and $139 for Chapter 13. The charges vary for single individuals and married couples and can be paid in installments over a period of 120 days.

The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure has a formal procedure for filing, which is further specific to the bankruptcy laws of each judicial district. The US has 90 formal districts in which bankruptcy can be filed for, and the overall power over these is vested with the United States bankruptcy judge. Someone filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will usually have no direct dealings with a judge, while someone filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will appear before a judge at the official plan confirmation.

The applicant will, however, attend the 341 meeting (so called because it is required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code). In this meeting, the person applying for bankruptcy meets with all creditors involved and answers questions pertaining to assets, property, etc.

The form that needs to be filled out for filing bankruptcy encompasses something like 20 pages. It is this extensive because the applicant needs to provide the court with complete information regarding income and expenses, assets and liabilities and all financial transactions in the immediate past. The form is available with most legal stationers and costs around $20.

The bankruptcy petition must be filed in the applicable district's local bankruptcy court, along with documentation pertaining to previous applications for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy
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