FAQs

Disclaimer: While the information presented is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from a bankruptcy attorney. Please also refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code) , the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Finally, if you do not understand terms used in these questions and responses, many of them are defined in Bankruptcy Basics issued by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The Court staff cannot give legal advice under Title 28 U.S.C. Section 955.

The Clerk’s office CANNOT

  • Explain the meaning of a particular rule
  • Give an interpretation of case law
  • Explain the result of taking or not taking action in a case
  • Tell you whether jurisdiction is proper in a case
  • Tell you whether a complaint properly presents a claim
  • Provide advice on the best procedure to accomplish a particular goal
  • Apply a Rule or Statute
  • Explain who should receive proper notice or service
  • How do I get a copy of my discharge papers?

    You have several options-

    • Contact your attorney
    • Visit the courthouse. The fee for copies is 10 cents per page.
    • You can make a request for copies by mail to:  U S Bankruptcy Court 219 S. Dearborn St., Room 713, Chicago, IL 60604. Please make sure your letter request includes your name and case number and the name of the documents you are requesting.  Provide a self-addressed, and postage paid envelope large enough to return your requested documents. The fee for copies is 10 cents per page.
    • You can sign up for electronic access to case information. You can subscribe to PACER Service which will allow you access to all Bankruptcy case records and you will be able to print case documents yourself.  To receive more information about PACER Service you can visit the website: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov or telephone the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856 between the hours of 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday - Friday CST.
  • How do I get Certified copies of documents from the Clerk’s Office?

    You must request the copies in person or in writing and prepay a fee for copying and processing.

  • Can I use one of the attorneys passwords in my office to file electronically?

    To file documents in Bankruptcy Cases, an attorney or non-attorney bankruptcy trustee must obtain a login and password for electronic filing and viewing of documents in the System.

    A password may only be used by the Registrant to whom it is issued and by individuals authorized by the Registrant. A Registrant is responsible for all applicable charges associated with the use of the Registrant’s password. Any documents filed using the password will be deemed authorized and signed by the Registrant. (See Administrative Procedures for the Case Management/Electronic Case filing System amended 3/20/07

  • How much does it cost to have a document Certified?

    The copy cost of the document you wishes certified $.10 per page and $11.00 for each certification.

  • May I speak directly with a Bankruptcy Judge?

    No. Federal law prohibits any contact with the Judge outside the Courtroom in order to preserve the impartiality of the Court and to prevent the appearance of any impropriety or allegations of preferential treatment of any party.

  • Who can file bankruptcy?

    A person, partnership, corporation, or business trust may file a bankruptcy case. Corporations, partnerships and business trust cannot proceed if they are not represented by an attorney. Only an individual can proceed without an attorney.

  • Where can I get the Forms needed to File bankruptcy?

    The forms are available at the Bankruptcy Court, the Courts website, or from a local stationery store.

  • What is the filing fee?
  • How do I get information about a case?

    There are several ways you can get information:

    • If you have access to a computer with internet access, you can get access to the Court’s electronic records through PACER by selecting the menu option "ECF/Pacer Login" from the Court's website.
    • In order to use PACER, you must open a PACER account. You can do that by calling (800) 676-6856 or (210) 301-6440 to get a registration form.You may register online at http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/
    • You may also come into the court and use the public service computers to view electronic records for no fee. See our website for Court Locations and Directions.
    • You can access the Voice Case Information System (VCIS) 24 hrs, 7 days a week by dialing (866) 222-8029 to obtain the most requested case information automatically. To access this system please follow the instructions on the McVCIS information page.
  • Where do I file bankruptcy documents?

    You can mail or bring your document into the appropriate court. The court is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm except legal holidays.

    If the bankruptcy case you are filing the document for is located in one of the following counties: Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, Will, Grundy, LaSalle, or Kendall
    Please file your document at this location:

    U.S. Bankruptcy Court
    Dirksen Federal Building
    219 S. Dearborn St. - Room 713
    Chicago, IL 60604
    (312) 408-5000

    If the bankruptcy case is located in one of the following counties: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, JoDaviess, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, or Winnebago

    Please file your document at this location:

    U.S. Bankruptcy Court
    327 South Church Street
    Rockford, IL 61101
    (815) 987-4350

     

  • Do I need an attorney to file for bankruptcy?

    You may file a bankruptcy petition on your own if you are an individual, but not if you are a corporation or partnership. However, the relief available to you, the obligations imposed on you and the ramifications associated with the bankruptcy are extremely complex. It is difficult to have a successful bankruptcy case without the help of competent legal counsel.

    If you decide to file without an attorney, see our website "Filing Bankruptcy without an Attorney" for more information.

  • How do I get my name removed from your website? Google search finds my name.

    We cannot remove your name from our website. All records and hearings are public. Google has an option to remove your name from it's results http://www.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=508&topic=360&hl=en. Other search engines may have a similar option.

  • How do I report a bankruptcy fraud?

    Investigations of alleged bankruptcy fraud is the responsibility of the U.S. Trustee. Here is a link to the local U.S. Trustee http://www.justice.gov/ust/r11/index.htm. Please report of any fraudulent bankruptcy activity.

  • Can you remove an opinion from the website? It has my name, and occurred a long time ago.

    Sorry we cannot remove any opinions. Opinions, orders, documents,  party information, claims, and other case information are public record. The judicial system is public, and the orders and decisions entered are public. 

    On rare occasions opinions on the website may be updated by chambers to correct very minor items, such as a spelling or a typographical error.  The content remains the same.

     

  • Is there an installment plan available for the filing fee?

    The Bankruptcy system allows one to pay the filing fee in installments. The Form can be found on our website by clicking on the Forms links on the top, then click on National Bankruptcy Forms. Navigate to the Application an Order to Pay Filing Fee in Installments (Form B-3A).

    The filing fee must be paid in four equal installment payments.  The first installment is to be paid within the 30 days, and at least half of the filing fee must be paid within 60 days of the filing of the petition. The final installment must be paid within 120 days after the filing of the petition.

  • How can I verify if someone has filed for bankruptcy?
    • If you have a PACER account, you can search using the PACER Party Case Index.
    • You can visit the courthouse and use a public terminal
    • If you know the social security number, you can use the VCIS system. It's a toll free call to 1-866-222-8029. You need to select the particular district where the filing may have occurred(Northern Illinois Bankruptcy is #15)
    • You can also enter the details in the contact information below and your request will be answered.
  • I am having trouble viewing PDF documents and forms. I am using a Apple Macintosh with Safari.

    Apple's Safari and Google Chrome have included a PDF viewer within the browser. Unfortunately this viewer isn't capable of viewing the advanced features of a PDF document. At this time, CM/ECF has been tested and works correctly with Firefox 3.5(Apple OSX and Windows), Internet Explorer 7 and 8.

  • Where can I go to get my Certificate of Credit Counseling?

    A list of credit counseling agencies can be found on our website under Filing Bankruptcy without a Lawyer. Select the link on the left side "Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Information".

    The list is displayed according to the state you reside.

     

  • How can I add a creditor that was accidentally left off my bankruptcy case?

    You can file the appropriate Amended Schedule (D, E, or F) to add or correct the creditors address accompanied with the amount from the fee schedule (Amendments to debtor’s schedules, lists of creditors or mailing list). The fee must be paid with by cash, money order, or certified check. The money order, or certified check must be made payable to U. S. Bankruptcy Court.

  • What creditors can I include in my bankruptcy?

    You can contact an attorney who provides assistance for Pro Se filers at the Bankruptcy Assistance Help Desk Monday thru Friday from 9:30 am thru 12:30 pm. Located at the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60604 in room 625.

  • Who can help me to file my Chapter 7, or 13 bankruptcy because I do not have the money to pay a lawyer?

    You can contact an attorney who provides assistance for Pro Se filers at the Bankruptcy Assistance Help Desk Monday thru Friday from 9:30 am thru 12:30 pm. Located at the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60604 in room 625

  • What is a Meeting of Creditors? What happens there?

    The meeting of creditors is hearing all debtors must attend in any bankruptcy proceeding. It is held outside of the presence of the judge and usually occurs between 20 and 40 days after the filing of the petition. In a Chapter 7, 12 and 13 cases, the trustee assigned to the case conducts the meeting. In a Chapter 11 case, a representative of the United States Trustee’s Office conducts the meeting.

  • How do I get my bankruptcy removed from the Credit Bureau’s record?

    The bankruptcy court does NOT perform any activities with the credit bureaus. You must contact the individual credit bureau’s for their procedure for removing your bankruptcy filing from their credit report. In general, bankruptcies are listed on your credit report for 7-10 years.

  • How do I file a proof of claim against a debtor?

    You can file a Proof of Claim (Form B-10) with the Clerk's Office to have the association listed as a creditor on this bankruptcy case and receive notice. There are instructions on page two of this form. The forms are available on the website under Forms, National Bankruptcy Forms.

  • How can I confirm my claim has been filed on case XXXXXX?

    Please submit a contact request.

  • How can e-filer track credit card payment information without calling the court?

    Enter each individual attorneys login and password in CM/ECF:
     
     See procedure:
     
    https://tdi.ilnb.uscourts.gov/madcap/content/utilities_events/internet_payment_history.htm

  • How can I research credit card history for my law office?

    Enter each individual attorneys login and password in CM/ECF:
    See procedure
    https://tdi.ilnb.uscourts.gov/madcap/content/utilities_events/internet_payment_history.htm

  • How do I correct a motion set for the wrong date or time?

    File an Amended Notice of Motion and relate it back to the original motion.  DO NOT file the entire motion again. Choose the event Amended Notice of Motion

    See procedure:

    https://tdi.ilnb.uscourts.gov/madcap/content/notice_events/amended_notice_of_motion_or_hearing.htm

  • What is the procedure to appear pro hac vice?

    Pursuant to Local Rule 83.14, an attorney who is not a member of the General Bar of the Northern District of Illinois may appear in a case only upon being granted leave to appear pro hac vice. A petition for admission under Rule 83.14 is made on a form approved by the Executive Committee. Such admission also requires the payment of a fee established by the Court. 

    See website:

    http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/home/

  • How do I get admitted to practice in the Bankruptcy Court?

    You must be admitted to the General Bar for the Northern District of Illinois.  See the District Court website for more information:

    http://www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/home/.

  • Does counsel have to appear if the parties have entered into an agreed order?

    Practice varies by Chambers. Check on Judge's website or contact Chambers to find out the appropriate procedure.

  • Does counsel have to appear on the routine motions if no objections are filed?

    Practice varies by Chambers. Check on Judge's website or contact Chambers to find out the appropriate procedure. Also check the call posted on the website for items that were "Granted in Chambers”.

  • Does counsel have to appear and present a motion to continue?

    Practice varies by Chambers. Check on Judge's website to find out the appropriate procedure or contact Judge's Courtroom Deputy.

  • What is necessary to strike a trial when an agreement is reached (without an appearance)?

    Practice varies by Chambers. Check on Judge's website to find out the appropriate procedure or contact Judge's Courtroom Deputy.

  • How do I select a date/time for my motion to be heard?

    Each Judge has set days and times when motions are heard. Please see each individual Judge's website for specific days and times when motions are heard and the days the Judge is NOT sitting.

  • I did not appear at the court hearing. How can I find out what happened?

    While you can access your case information through the PACER system, at http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov   in some situations not enough time has passed for the system to reflect the outcome of the hearing. In that situation you can contact the Judge's Courtroom Deputy.

  • What are the procedures for telephonic appearances for court?

    Practice varies by Chambers. Check on Judge's website to find out if allowed or contact Chambers for more specific information. If allowed the party is asked to call in at the appropriate time and cover all the cost incurred by the appearance.

  • I am not fluent in English; can I be provided an interpreter for the hearing?

    No. However the U.S. District Court Interpreters Office can provide you with interpreter resources information at 312-435-5837. The U.S. Courts will not cover any interpreter expenses.

    For additional information, please refer to the Guide to Section 240 of the Judiciary Policy, Volume 5: Court Interpreting: http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/FederalCourts/Publications/Guide_Vol05.pdf

  • How much notice is required for my motion?

    The Court staff cannot give legal advice. Noticing requirements can be found in the Bankruptcy Code, or in Local Rules, and cannot be interpreted for filer by the Chambers staff.

    Bankruptcy Codes:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11

    Bankruptcy Rules:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frbp/

  • I am filing a Proof of Claim, what is the difference between the Notice & Payment address?

    Notice address is where the court office will send notices.  Payment address is where the trustees will send payments.

  • Am I required to attend the meeting of creditors?

    Debtor is required to attend the meeting of creditors. As a creditor you are not required, but may choose to attend to ask questions. For further assistance please seek legal advice.

  • I am a creditor in a Chapter 7 case. When can I expect payment?

    Each case is different. First the United States Trustee has been a Notice of Possible Dividends issued in the case to which you timely filed a proof of claim. Several months after the deadline to file claims has passed you may contact the Chapter 7 trustee and ask when the trustee anticipates making payments to the creditors. Remember that in more complex cases or cases involving litigation, there may be many months of delay before payments may be made to creditors. The Chapter 7 trustee's contact information is on the notice of the meeting of creditors.

  • I received a notice and summary of the Trustee's Final Report and Accounting. How long will it be before I receive payment on my claim?

    Once a trustee has sent out the Final Report and Accounting, the Court allows time for possible objections, and if an objection is filed, a hearing will be set. If the objection is resolved or the Final Report is otherwise approved, the trustee may then make distributions to creditors. Generally, trustees distribute funds to creditors six to eight weeks after they send out the Notice of Final Report and Accounting, but that period may be longer. If you have questions, contact Chapter 7 trustee.

  • I am a creditor in a case that converted to another chapter. Do I have to file another proof of claim?

    No. Once you have filed a proof of claim, you do not need to re-file it if the case converts to another chapter.

  • Why is the bankruptcy case closed if my adversary case is still pending?

    The Court staff cannot give legal advice under Title 28 U.S.C. Section 955.  If filing without a lawyer, visit the courts website for legal assistance.

  • I am a child support creditor. How can I find out if my debt is nondischargeable?

    These matters are complex, so consulting an attorney is strongly recommended. See 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(5)

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/11/523

  • I am a creditor in a Chapter 11 case and the plan of reorganization has been approved. When will payments begin?

    Each specific plan has different provisions pertaining to the time and amounts of creditor payments. Read the plan. If you have questions, consult your attorney, or call the debtor's attorney and ask him when your class of creditors will be paid.

    See Bankruptcy Basics Post confirmation Administration:

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Chapter11.aspx

  • I am a creditor. What should I do if my address changes from the address on my Proof of Claim?

    You should file a change of address form with the Court. This form can be found on the Court's website, and should also be sent to the case trustee.

  • How do I know when the deadline is to object to a Debtor's discharge or the dischargeability of a debt owed to me by the Debtor?

    The deadline to object to the discharge of many types of debts and to the debtor's general discharge is set forth on the Notice of Meeting of Creditors issued at the beginning of the debtor's case.

    See Bankruptcy Basics:

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/DischargeInBankruptcy.aspx

  • How do I object to a Debtor's General Discharge or the discharge of a debt owed by the Debtor to me?

    An objection to discharge and/or the determination of dischargeability of a debt are adversary proceedings initiated by timely filing a lawsuit and the payment of a filing fee. If you have an issue related to either an objection to discharge and/or the determination of dischargeability of a particular debt, you are encouraged to consult with a bankruptcy attorney.

  • How can I receive electronic notices instead of paper?

    Visit the bankruptcy website at http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov.

    Click on the banner titled Free Electronic Bankruptcy Noticing.

  • Do you have a form for changing creditor’s address?
  • I am looking up a case; however when I click on the link to view any of the documents, a restricted notice come up.

    To avoid compromising an individual's private information and an individual's privacy, restrictions will now be place on all documents, including claims, filed in cases opened before December 1, 2003, that have been closed for at least a year. Every document will be restricted even if the content has no private or sensitive information. Documents that were previously unrestricted are now available only for court users, case participants and their attorneys, and anyone using a public terminal. Documents that were previously restricted to court users retain the same restriction level.

    https://tdi.ilnb.uscourts.gov/madcap/content/cm_ecf_releases/cmecf4.0_and_4.2/cmecf_release_4.1.htm

  • How do I file a proof of claim against a debtor?

    The forms are available on the website under Forms, National Bankruptcy Forms.

    Scroll to B 10 Proof of Claim Form. Instructions For Proof of Claim Form is on page two of the form.

  • How can I confirm my claim has been filed on case XXXXXX?

    Please submit a contact request. (FORM PROVIDED BELOW)

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/#contact

    Or contact the Public Service help line at (312)435-5694

  • Why did I receive a 341 Meeting of Creditors Notice?

    You may have been named as a creditor in a bankruptcy case and probably listed on the debtor’s schedule.  If you wish to check the schedules you can register to become a PACER User at http://www.pacer.gov.

    Public Access to Court Electronic Records or you may contact the Public Service help line at (312) 435-5694.

  • I received the Notice to Individual Debtors to file a statement of completion of course in personal financial management (Official Form B23). What is it?

    It's a reminder for you to file a Debtor's Certification of Completion of Postpetition Instructional Course (Official Form B23) and if your case is a chapter 13 you must also file Debtor's Declaration Regarding Domestic Support Obligations (required  to obtain chapter 13 discharge under 1328(a))

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/Forms/

  • I already took a class (Certificate of Credit Counseling Course) when I filed my case, do I have to complete another one?

    Yes, That was the first required class; the second required class is the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education Class) which is also required to receive a discharge.

  • Is the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education) important?

    Yes, In order to receive your Discharge the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education) must be taken and Official Form B23 filed with the Court.

  • What if I don't take the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education)?

    Your case will be Closed without a Discharge and a motion to reopen will need to be filed, which has a $260 fee (varies by chapter)

  • Whom do I contact to sign up to take the financial management course?

    A list of Credit Counseling and Financial Management Instructional Courses as well as information agencies regarding debtor education can be found at:

    http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/bapcapa/cced/index.htm

  • Where do I go to take the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education)?

    The list is displayed according to the state you reside. 

    http://www.justice.gov/ust/eo/bapcapa/cced/index.htm

  • Is my attorney aware that I have to take the Financial Management Instructional (Debtor Education Courses)?

    Yes, your attorney is aware of this required course.  You should always speak with your attorney in regards to your case and what is needed to receive your discharge.

  • Where do I send this form (Official Form B23), and certificate after I take the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education)?

    If you have an attorney, inform him/her to file the form electronically.  Pro Se Debtors can mail it to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court - 219 South Dearborn, Room 713, Chicago, Illinois  60604 - Rockford  Court - 327 Church Street,

    Room 1100,  Rockford, IL 61101

  • I already took the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education) and sent it to my attorney, what should I do now?

    Check your case to see if your attorney filed the document, If not, contact your attorney. They can file it for you electronically. 

  • Is there a charge for this Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education)? Where am I going to get the money? Do I have to pay?

    There is normally a fee for this course but you might want to check with the same firm where you took the Credit Counseling Course.

  • Is there any place where they don't charge for the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education)?

    There is normally a fee for this course but, you might want to check with the same firm where you took the Credit Counseling Course.

  • I mailed the Financial Management Instructional Courses certificate with (Official Form B23), when will my case be discharged?

    After the last date to object to discharge your case will then be reviewed for discharge. 

  • When do I need to complete the Financial Management Instructional Courses (Debtor Education) class?

    Chapter 7 case - within 60 days of the first date set for the meeting of creditors under 341 of the Bankruptcy Code.


    Chapter 13 case – file no later than the last payment made by the debtor as required by the plan or the filing of a motion for a discharge under 1328(b) (hardship) chapter 13 only


    Chapter 11 case--  For individual only – Debtor certification of Financial Management need, if individual and debtor request Discharge

  • How can I change or correct information in the petition, statements, and schedules I have filed?
  • How do I know if a debt is secured, unsecured, priority, or administrative, so I can fill out my schedules correctly?

    Answering this question is considered legal advice and the Court's staff is not allowed to provide legal advice. Please contact an attorney or the Bankruptcy Assistance Desk.

     

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/FilingBankruptcyWithoutAttorney.aspx

  • I attended a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors before my case converted to another chapter. Do I have to attend another meeting?

    Yes. Typically when the case is converted to another chapter the new trustee is assigned to the case and another 341 meeting is schedule.

  • My case was dismissed because I failed to pay all of the installments, can I file a new bankruptcy case? If so, can I pay the new filing fee in installments?

    Answering this question is considered legal advice and the Court's staff is not allowed to provide legal advice. Please contact an attorney or the Bankruptcy Assistance Desk.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/FilingBankruptcyWithoutAttorney.aspx

  • What can I do if a creditor tries to collect money after I have filed bankruptcy?

    Inform the creditor you have filed bankruptcy and provide them with your case number.

  • What can I do if a creditor tries to collect money after I have received my discharge?

    Answering this question is considered legal advice and the Court's staff is not allowed to provide legal advice. Please contact an attorney or the Bankruptcy Assistance Desk.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/FilingBankruptcyWithoutAttorney.aspx

  • I received some papers in the mail - Debtor's Declaration of Domestic Support Obligations. What does domestic support mean? Which box to I check?

    In a Chapter 13, the Debtor's Declaration Regarding Domestic Support Obligations form is required in order to receive a discharge. Form B283 may be used by debtors to certify that they have complied with two of the requirements set out in section 1328(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, 11 U.S.C. § 1328(a), for a discharge in chapter 13.  The certifications must be made after the debtor has completed the plan payments.

    We cannot tell you which box to select since that is considered a legal question.

  • May I change to a Chapter 7 if my Chapter 13 case is still open?

    Yes. A Chapter 13 case may be converted to a Chapter 7 at any time. You should contact your attorney if you are considering converting your case.

  • I received a notice of motion for relief from automatic stay. What does it mean?

    Motion for relief from the automatic stay, usually file by a creditor, requests the court’s permission to proceed with a repossession, foreclosure, or lawsuit against a debtor. Without such permission, the creditor would be violating the automatic stay protecting the debtor. For further assistance please seek legal advice.

  • What should I do if I cannot make my chapter 13 payment?

    You should contact your attorney. If you are not represented by one you can contact the trustee for further information.

  • How do I find out who is the trustee is in a case?

    You may obtain the trustee's name by calling our Voice Case Information System (McVCIS) at 1-866-222-8029 additional information regarding McVCIS can be found at http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/multi-court-voice-case-information-system-mcvcis ; or accessing our user on-line bankruptcy information system PACER http://www.pacer.gov; you may also contact our Public Service help line at (312) 408-5000 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for Federal Holidays.

  • What steps do I need to take if I am filing without an Attorney?
  • What is the function of a trustee?

    A trustee is the representative of the bankruptcy estate who exercises statutory powers, principally for the benefit of the unsecured creditors, under the general supervision of the court and the direct supervision of the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator. The trustee is a private individual or corporation appointed in all chapter 7, chapter 12, and chapter 13 cases and some chapter 11 cases. The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition and schedules and bringing actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate. In chapter 7, the trustee liquidates property of the estate and makes distributions to creditors. Trustees in chapter 12 and 13 have duties similar to those of a chapter 7 trustee and the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor’s plan, receiving payments from debtors, and disbursing plan payments to creditors

  • Who is a "U.S. trustee"?

    A U.S. trustee is an individual appointed by the Attorney General of the United States to oversee and administer a program of appointing and supervising a panel of trustees, monitoring plans and disclosure statements in chapter 11, 12, and 13 cases, monitoring applications for compensation, and monitoring the progress of bankruptcy cases

  • How do I contact my trustee?

    The contact information can be found on the Notice of Bankruptcy Case. Also, you can contact the Bankruptcy Clerks Office Public Service Help Desk at (312) 408-5000.

  • Who is the current United States Trustee?

    Patrick S. Layng, United States Trustee for Northern District of IL Eastern and Western divisions

  • Can I appear for the meeting of creditors (341) telephonically?

    Contact your case trustee's office for more information.

  • I am not fluent in English; can I be provided an interpreter for the meeting of creditors?

    Yes. Contact your case trustee's office for Chapter 7s or Chapter 13s. Contact the United States Trustee's office for Chapter 11s.

  • What is a reaffirmation agreement?

    A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement between the debtor and a creditor to continue paying a dischargeable debt after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral or mortgaged property that would otherwise be subject to repossession.

  • How do I change my address?
  • How do I order transcripts?

    For a copy of a transcript, call the Court Reporter to prepare one. Advise the Court Reporter of the case name, Judge and date of hearing. The number of pages, etc. will determine the cost.

     

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/copies-transcripts

  • How can I file a motion to reopen a case and have the fee waived?
  • Can a locator’s attorney who is not licensed to practice in Illinois file a motion to withdraw unclaimed funds?

    Yes, a locator’s attorney who is not licensed to practice in Illinois can only file a motion for withdrawal of Unclaimed Funds with our court by mailing in paper documents.  Attorneys licensed to practice in Illinois can register to become an e-filer and upon completion of e-filing process file electronically.

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/unclaimed-funds

  • Who does an e-filer need to contact if he files something and later changes his mind?

    You can contact the Court at 312-435-5694.

    (See ECF Administrative Rules) 
    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/administrative-procedures-cmecf

  • How do I retrieve a file from the Federal Records Center?

    There is a $53.00 fee that must be paid in advance to retrieve a file from the Federal Records Center.  This can be done by coming to the Bankruptcy Court, 219 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60604 Room 713.  Additional information can be received by telephone at (312) 435-5694.

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/fee_schedule.pdf

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/copies-bankruptcy-documents

  • Is the Bankruptcy Court a State or Federal Court?

    The Bankruptcy Court is a Federal Court.

  • What is a Certificate of Service?

    When you file a motion or pleading with the Court, you must file a written statement that you have mailed or delivered a copy of the motion to all interested parties. This is called a certificate of service. You must list the name and address of each person and attorney being served with the motion, and the name of the party each attorney represents, and you, your attorney, or an employee of your attorney must sign the certificate.

  • What if a case I am interested in has been sent to the "Archives"?

    To retrieve copies of documents from the National Archives and Records Administration, you must obtain the (1) accession number, (2) location, and (3) box number from the Clerk's Office. You then submit an Archive Request Form, which may be downloaded from the National Archives website at:

     http://www.achrives.gov/records_center_program/

  • How many years will Bankruptcy show on my credit report?

    Your bankruptcy will remain on your credit report anywhere from 7 to 10 years, depending on the credit reporting agency's policy.

  • What are the court's hours of operation?

    The Office of the Clerk (in both divisions) is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on all days except Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays. The Customer Service Information line (312) 408-5000 will be answered from 8:30 until 5:00.

    Main Page of Website

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/

  • What is a joint petition? Does my spouse have to file for bankruptcy if I file?

    A joint bankruptcy petition is a voluntary bankruptcy petition filed by a married couple. A married couple may choose to file a single joint petition, rather than two individual petitions. For further information please seek legal assistance.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Glossary.aspx

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Chapter7.aspx

  • What are the exemptions?

    Exempt property is property that is taken out of the bankruptcy estate and kept by an individual debtor. The availability and amount of property the debtor may claim as exempt depends on the state the debtor lives in. In some states, the debtor has a choice between a specified federal list of exemptions and the exemptions provided by the state

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Glossary.aspx

  • What is a discharge?

    Discharge is a release of a debtor from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code. A discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for certain debts known as dischargeable debts and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor to collect the debts. The discharge also prohibits creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the debt, including telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics/Glossary.aspx

  • What is the difference between a denial of discharge and a debt being nondischargeable?

    When a debtor is denied a discharge under section 727 of the Bankruptcy Code, he or she obtains no discharge of debts in any way, shape, or form through the bankruptcy case. On the other hand, a determination of non-dischargeability under section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code impacts only the particular debt involved in the analysis.

  • What services can a "Bankruptcy Petition Preparer" provide?

    Beware of bankruptcy petition preparers who do not comply with all legal requirements. The role of non-attorney petition preparers is solely to type information on Bankruptcy Forms (available at this link without charge http://www.uscourts.gov/FormsAndFees/Forms/Bankruptcy)

    Petition preparers are barred by law from providing legal advice - they cannot explain how to answer legal questions or assist in bankruptcy court. Petition preparers must sign all documents they prepare; print their name, address, and social security number on such documents; and furnish copies to the debtor. They cannot sign a document on the debtor's behalf or receive payment from the debtor for court fees.

  • Who do I contact to solicit for court business?

    Contact out Procurement Department at 312-435-5389

  • What is an adversary proceeding?

    A lawsuit arising in or related to a bankruptcy case that begins by filing a complaint with the court, that is, a "trial" that takes place within the context of a bankruptcy case.

     

    In bankruptcy proceedings, an adversary is a civil lawsuit commenced by the filing of a complaint by a party in interest to accomplish a result, such as to recover money or property or to object to the debtor’s discharge. Adversary proceedings are assigned separate adversary proceeding numbers, which are used in addition to the number assigned to the bankruptcy case, and a separate docket file of these proceedings is kept. For more information please consult Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7001.

  • What is a bankruptcy petition?

    The document that initiates the filing of a bankruptcy proceeding, setting forth basic information regarding the debtor, including name, address, chapter under which the case is filed, and estimated amount of assets and liabilities.

  • What is a Chapter 7?

    It is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code in which a debtor’s nonexempt assets are liquidated and the proceeds are distributed to creditors. Individual debtors may receive a discharge of their debts.

    For further information read the following:  

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is a Chapter 13?

    It is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code that provides for the adjustment of debts of an individual with regular income, often referred to as a “wage-earner” plan. Chapter 13 allows a debtor to keep property and use his or her disposable income to pay debts over time, usually three to five years.

    For further information read the following:

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is a Chapter 11?

    It is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code that usually involves a corporation or partnership. A chapter 11 debtor usually proposes a plan of reorganization to keep its business alive and pay creditors over time. People in business or individuals can also seek relief under chapter 11.

     

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is a Chapter 9?

    It is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code that provides for reorganization of municipalities (which include cities and towns, as well as villages, counties, taxing districts, municipal utilities, and school districts).

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is a Chapter 12?

    It is the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code that provides for the adjustment of debts of a “family farmer” or “family fisherman,” as those terms are defined in the Bankruptcy Code.

     

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is a default judgment?

    It is a court judgment awarding a plaintiff the relief sought in the complaint because the defendant has failed to appear in court or otherwise respond to the complaint.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is a disclosure statement?

    It is a document filed in a chapter 11 case by the debtor designed to provide “adequate information” to creditors to allow them to evaluate the chapter 11 plan of reorganization. The disclosure statement provides such information as the debtor’s financial history, the cause of financial difficulties, claims and other financial data, any pending litigation, and a summary of the plan of reorganization.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What does "In Forma Pauperis" mean?

    Permission given by the court to a person to file a case without payment of the required court fees because the person cannot pay them.

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is an involuntary petition?

    It is a bankruptcy petition filed by one or more creditors against a corporate or individual debtor alleging that the debtor is not paying its bills as they become due and that the debtor should be subjected to bankruptcy proceedings. For further information see 11U.S.C. 303

     

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is a "judgment"?

    It is the official and authentic decision of the court on the respective rights and claims of the parties to an action. A judgment is a final, appealable order.

  • What is the "means test"?

    It is a test applied by section 707(b)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code to determine whether an individual debtor’s chapter 7 filing is presumed to be an abuse of the Bankruptcy Code requiring dismissal or conversion of the case (generally to chapter 13). Abuse is presumed if the debtor’s aggregate current monthly income over five years, less certain statutorily allowed expenses is more than (a) $10,950, or (b) 25% of the debtor’s nonpriority unsecured debt, as long as that amount is at least $6,575. The debtor may rebut a presumption of abuse only by a showing of special circumstances that justify additional expenses or adjustments of current monthly income.

     

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What is an "order confirming plan"?

    It is an order signed by a judge approving the plan of reorganization. In chapter 11 cases, following the filing of the disclosure statement and plan of reorganization and notice to all creditors and interested parties, a hearing is held before the bankruptcy judge to consider the plan. If the plan is approved, an order is signed by the judge. The order forms a basis for the treatment of creditors’ claims, as set forth in the plan of reorganization. An order confirming plan is also issued in chapter 12 and chapter 13 cases after the plan has been approved by the bankruptcy judge.

  • What is a bankruptcy trustee?

    The representative of the bankruptcy estate who exercises statutory powers, principally for the benefit of the unsecured creditors, under the general supervision of the court and the direct supervision of the U.S. Trustee or bankruptcy administrator,   The trustee is a private individual or corporation appointed in all chapter 7, chapter 12, and chapter 13 cases and some chapter 11 cases.  The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition and schedules and bringing actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.  In chapter 7, the trustee liquidates property of the estate, and makes distributions to creditors.  Trustees in chapter 12 and  13 have similar duties to a chapter 7 trustee and the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor’s plan, receiving payments from debtors, and disbursing plan payments to creditors

    http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx

  • What does it mean when the document is restricted?

    The Judicial Conference Privacy Policy protects the accessibility of private and sensitive information such as full Social Security numbers on any document filed after December 1, 2003. This type of information could be used for identity theft and access must be restricted to court users only. A redacted version of the document must be filed. However, CM/ECF documents filed before the policy was implemented may still contain private information.

  • Who can you notify regarding a fraudulent filing?

    Investigations of alleged bankruptcy fraud are the responsibility of the U.S. Trustee. Here is a link to the local U.S. Trustee

    http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/r11/index_page.htm

  • What are the differences between ECF and Pacer?

    PACER refers to Public Access Court Electronic Records.  Pacer allows one to view case information at a cost. In essence you need a PACER account to see what you filed in ECF. The acronym ECF refers to the Electronic Case Filing system.  ECF allows attorneys and limited filer’s access to filing their documents directly with the court 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  Gaining account access to ECF is also determined by each court in the Federal System.

    For more information visit:

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/case-info

  • What do I do if while reviewing a case I notice that the order was docketed on the wrong case?

    If you find an error on the docket please contact the Case Administration Team that is assigned to the digit:

    http://www.ilnb.uscourts.gov/case-management

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