How to Obtain and File Bankruptcy Forms

Find out where to get legal bankruptcy forms, how to learn about local forms and regulations, and where to submit your paperwork.

You must fill out a package of papers when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A “voluntary petition,” six more forms known as “schedules,” and several other forms are included. The whole package is often referred to as the “bankruptcy petition.”

These documents are referred to be “official” bankruptcy forms since the federal government provides them.

Bankruptcy: Forms and Requirements in Your Area

Your local bankruptcy court may ask you to submit extra documents that it has created in addition to the legal forms that every bankruptcy court utilizes. There may be additional procedures or regulations for submitting your petition to your local bankruptcy court.

This paperwork and criteria are also available through the bankruptcy court clerk or a local bankruptcy counsel.

Local paperwork and criteria may also be found on the bankruptcy court’s website. Many courts provide instructions under “Forms” or “Filing Without an Attorney” in the navbar. Go to www.uscourts.gov/federal-court-finder/search to locate the website or location of your local bankruptcy court.

Forms to be filled out

Hire an attorney to represent you in your bankruptcy case. The attorney will create these documents (most likely using software) for your inspection and signing before electronically filing them with the court.

You must submit the bankruptcy papers in person at the bankruptcy court if you are representing yourself. One exception to this rule is that a pilot project in many courts enables debtors without lawyers to submit paperwork online. This functionality may be added to more courts in the future.

Consult your local court for information on how many copies you’ll need to submit (typically an original and one copy), the order in which the paperwork should be filed, and other requirements (such as staples, hole punching, etc.)

Choosing the Correct Bankruptcy Court

There are federal bankruptcy courts located across the United States. Judicial districts are divisions of the courts. Every state has at least one judicial district, with the majority having several. You have the option of filing in one of two places:

  • the district in which you have resided for the majority of the 180 days preceding your filing, or
  • The area in which you are domiciled—that is, where you have made your permanent home, even if you have been temporarily residing elsewhere (such as on a military base).

If you own a company or have significant assets in a location other than where you reside, you may have extra filing choices. In both cases, you should get legal advice from a local bankruptcy attorney.