WHERE TO FILE
Individual debtors MUST receive budget and credit counseling from an Approved Credit Counseling Agency within 180 days before the bankruptcy case is filed. The agency will review possible options available to them in credit counseling and assist in reviewing their budget. Different agencies provide the counseling in-person, by telephone and over the Internet. Once the course is completed, the Certificate of Credit Counseling must be submitted with the petition. Failure to do so could cause the case to be dismissed. For reasons of incapacity, disability or because of engagement in active military duty in a military combat zone, an individual may file a Motion for Waiver of Debtor’s Duty to Comply with the Credit Counseling Requirement.
The filing of a bankruptcy case requires a voluntary petition, the filing of schedules listing the debtor’s property and debts, a statement of financial affairs, a statement of “current monthly income” by all individual debtors with primarily consumer debts, and several other documents. These documents include a mailing list or “matrix” containing the names and addresses of the creditors and others who should receive notices from the court in the case. (Mailing Matrix Specifications) In addition, every individual debtor must submit to the court a statement of the debtor’s full socialsecurity number and fill out local forms.
If the schedules and other documents are not prepared and ready to be filed at the same time the petition is filed, Bankruptcy Rule 1007(c) allows 14 days for completing and filing most of them. The mailing list, an individual debtor’s Statement of Social-Security Number, and Exhibit D to Official Form B1 (Individual Debtor’s Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling Requirement); however, must accompany the petition. Moreover, in a case under chapter 9, 11, 12, or 13 of the Code, a plan for repaying creditors must be filed within 14 days.
In addition to the petition, lists, schedules, and statements, Bankruptcy Rule 1006(a) requires every petition to be accompanied by the filing fee required by law (see Schedule of Fees for amounts). An individual debtor may file an Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments. Up to four payments may be made, with the final payment due no later than 120 days after the filing of the petition. Failure to make timely payments or to complete payment of the fee is grounds for dismissal of the bankruptcy petition. An individual debtor who files under chapter 7 and meets certain eligibility requirements may apply for an Application for Waiver of Chapter 7 Filing Fee. By law, the judge may waive the fee only if your income is less than 150 percent of the official poverty line applicable to your family size and you are unable to pay the fee in installments. 150 percent of the poverty guidelines are listed here - Poverty Guidelines.
Payment from debtors may be in the form of a bank cashier's check, a U.S. Postal money order, or cash. If payment is by cash, the exact amount is required. Personal checks and credit cards will not be accepted from individual debtors or debtors in possession.