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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

While the information presented below 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 or legal association. For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules), and the Local Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona.

FAQ Sections:

General Debtor Creditor

General Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Admitted, How do I get admitted to practice in the Bankruptcy Court?
  2. Adversary proceeding, What is it?
  3. Archives, what if a case I am interested in has been sent?
  4. Bankruptcy, who can file?
  5. Bankruptcy Trustee, U.S. Trustee, who are they? What is the difference?
  6. Bankruptcy Court, is it state or federal?
  7. Bankruptcy Code, what is it?
  8. Bankruptcy, what is it?
  9. Bankruptcy Judges, may I speak directly with them?
  10. Bankruptcy Judges, how can I tell which judge is assigned to a case?
  11. Case information, how can I find it?
  12. Certificate of Service, what is it?
  13. Certified copies, how do I get them?
  14. "Chapters" in bankruptcy, what are the differences?
  15. Electronic Case Filing (ECF), what is it?
  16. Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, how can I get a copy?
  17. Fraudulent (possible) filing, whom do I notify?
  18. Hearing information, where can I find it?
  19. Hours of operation of the court, what are they?
  20. How many copies do I need to file at the court?
  21. Local Bankruptcy Rules, where can I get a copy?
  22. Motion, what is it?
  23. Orders, what if I don’t agree with an order in a case?
  24. Post judgment interest rates, where can I find them?
  25. What is RSS?
  26. Where can I get an RSS Reader?
  27. How do I start subscribing?

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Debtor Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 341 Meeting of creditors, what is it?
  2. Attorney, do I need one? What if I can’t afford one?
  3. Automatic stay, what is it?
  4. Bankruptcy, what happens after I file?
  5. Change of address, how do I do it?
  6. Consequences, what happens when I file?
  7. Credit reports, how long does the bankruptcy stay on? How can I get an error corrected?
  8. Credit Counseling, what is it?
  9. Financial Management, what is it?are there forms? What is the difference between the two.
  10. Creditor matrix, what is it?
  11. Discharge, how can I get another copy?
  12. Discharge, what is it?
  13. Documents, what do I need to file bankruptcy?
  14. Eviction, will bankruptcy stop it?
  15. Exemptions, what are they?
  16. Fees, can the court waive the fees?
  17. File, how do I know where to file?
  18. Filing fees, what are they?
  19. Information, where can I get it before I file bankruptcy?
  20. Means test, what is it?
  21. Motion for Relief from Stay, what is it?
  22. Petition forms, where can I obtain them?
  23. Reaffirmation agreement, what is it?
  24. Refunds, what is the policy?
  25. Stand in line, do I have to?

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Creditor Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Automatic stay, what is it?
  2. Change of address, how do I do it?
  3. Claim, what is it and how do I file?
  4. Company or individual who owes us money filed bankruptcy, what do we do?
  5. Discharge, how do I object to the debtor’s general discharge or discharge of a debt owed to me?
  6. Motion for Relief from Stay, how do we file?
  7. Possible fraudulent filing, how should I report it?

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A company has filed for bankruptcy and owes us money. What do we do?

If you have been listed as a creditor in a bankruptcy case, you may file a claim form. If you do not have a claim form, you may pick one up from any Clerk's Office location or download the claim form. Attach any documentation supporting your claim. Only the original claim needs to be filed. If you wish to have a confirmed copy returned to you, please enclose an extra copy and self-addressed stamped envelope.

Requests for information regarding when a claim will be paid should be directed to the trustee assigned to the case whose name and telephone number can be found on the 341(a) meeting notice.

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Do I have to stand in line?

The Clerk's Offices are all open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. To avoid standing in line, it is suggested that you avoid our busiest times of the day, which are 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Office Locations

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Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?

While it is possible to file a bankruptcy case 'pro se,' that is, without the assistance of an attorney, it is extremely difficult to do so successfully. Unincorporated associations, partnerships and corporations must appear though an attorney in Federal Court. Hiring a competent attorney is highly recommended. You may contact the Maricopa County Lawyer Referral Service at 602-257-4434 for further information. The Court also provides walk-in Self Help Centers for visitors who are seeking more information about how the bankruptcy process works. The Bankruptcy Section of the State Bar of Arizona provides volunteer attorneys, who will consult with individuals for 20 - 30 minutes without charge concerning their bankruptcy situation. The volunteer attorneys are available by appointment only. For more information or questions, please contact our front counter staff or call 602-682-4000 (Phx), 520-202-7500 (Tuc) or 800-556-9230 and select 0 (zero) for the receptionist. Court staff are unable to provide legal advise and the Court does not provide legal counsel to pro se parties.

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Do I need to send a copy of the petition to anyone else?

It is your responsibility to proceed with what you think is necessary to notify the appropriate people. The Clerk's Office will notify the creditors that are listed in the initial petition of the bankruptcy by means of a notice within 20-40 days, provided that you have listed complete street addresses, city, state and zip code of all creditors.

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Does the Court have an off-site copy service? / How do I get certified copies of documents?

The court no longer has an off site copy service. 

You may mail a written request, along with a $30.00 per document search fee plus a photocopy fee of $ .50 cents per page or a printing fee of $.10 per page if the document is in electronic form.  The fee for certification is $11.00.  Please include the case name, case number, filing date, and the title of the specific documents which you wish to have copied. In addition, please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Mail your request to the appropriate Clerk's Office location at which the case was filed, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for return mailing.

You may also obtain copies at the court for the photocopy fee of $ .50 cents per page or a printing fee of $.10 per page if the document is in electronic form.  If you wish to visit the court, there is no $30.00 search fee.  The fee for certification is $11.00.

The court accepts payment in the form of either a bank cashier's check or money order made payable to: Clerk, United States Bankruptcy Court. No personal checks will be accepted.

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How do I file for Relief from the Automatic Stay?

In order for a party to continue a proceeding against the debtor that has been stayed because of the filing of the bankruptcy and the automatic stay, he/she must file with the Bankruptcy Court a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay, or a Stipulation for Relief from the Automatic Stay.

A Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay is commenced by the filing of a motion. Local Bankruptcy Rule 4001-1 prescribes the procedures for filing a motion for relief from the automatic stay. (Each motion shall be supported by all documents which assert a valid perfected security interest or support an assertion of lack of adequate protection or of equity in that property.)

The filing fee for a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay is $176.00. The original Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay is required upon filing.

A downloadable Relief From Stay Manual is available to explain the process in detail.

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

The Court prints the name of the trustee in a Chapter 7, Chapter 12, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case at the top of the case docket. You may obtain the trustee's name by visiting the Clerk's Office in person or is available through the automated systems in all the divisional offices.

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

The Bankruptcy Court does not have a bankruptcy bar. To practice in the Bankruptcy Court, an attorney must be admitted to the District Court Bar. An out-of-state attorney who desires to appear in a particular bankruptcy case is required to apply for limited admission. The application form is available in three formats:

There is no fee for filing this application in the Bankruptcy Court. For admission requirements and forms for admission to the District Court Bar, contact the District Court at (602) 322-7200 or via their website.

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How do I get the Bankruptcy removed from my credit report?

The Bankruptcy Court has no jurisdiction over credit consumer reporting agencies and the court does not notify reporting agencies when a bankruptcy case is filed, nor can the court request that a specific record be changed. Information on your credit report has generally been reported by your creditors and is gathered from public sources by the reporting agencies.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1681, is the law that controls consumer reporting agencies. The law states that reporting agencies may not report a bankruptcy case on a person's credit report after ten years from the date the bankruptcy case is filed. Generally, most negative credit information is removed after eight years.

If you have a complaint about a company, organization or business practice, you may wish to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20580. The toll-free FTC help-line number is: 1-877-382-4357. That office can also provide further information on reestablishing credit and may be able to help you in addressing other credit problems. Further information about your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act and corrections to credit reports is available on the FTC website.

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How do I lodge an order in an ECF case?

All attorney lodged orders must be submitted in PDF format and the upper right hand corner (4 ½ inches from the right hand margin and 3 inches from the top) should be blank as this is where the judge’s electronic signature will be placed. When using this process to submit your proposed order, please do not also submit the order on paper.  If you are a pro se party, you may submit your proposed order on paper for the court's review.

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How do I Obtain Hearing Information?

The court calendars for each judge are posted weekly on this website. Click on "View Calendars" in the menu on the left. The calendar application is fully searchable and sortable.

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How do I obtain information (such as debtor's name, attorney, case number, judge assigned to the case and the status) on a case?

There are several ways to obtain case information:

1. Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS)
McVCIS is a free service that allows callers to access case information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any touch tone telephone. McVCIS can be accessed by calling 1-866-222-8029. Just follow the voice instructions provided. Click here to see more detailed information on using McVCIS.

2. Internet Access
Electronic case information and documents may be retrieved using a computer on the internet, via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records web site (PACER). For registration information, please call the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856 or go to their web site at http://pacer.uscourts.gov. Registered agencies or individuals can access the PACER system for the District of Arizona at http://ecf.azb.uscourts.gov. There is also a national U.S. Party/Case Index available at http://pacer.login.uscourts.gov. A fee of $.08 per page will be assessed.

3. In Person
Public access computers are available for use, at no charge, in the Records Section of Clerk's Office. Bankruptcy documents may be viewed in person or retrieved for printing or copying. There is a per page fee for printing and copy services.

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How do I tell which Judge is assigned to my case?

A Bankruptcy case number consists of the location where the case was filed, the two-digit filing year, type of case, five digit sequence number and the code for the judge assigned to the case.

Office Codes:

0 - Yuma
2 - Phoenix
3 - Prescott
4 - Tucson

Case Types:

bk - Bankruptcy Case
ap - Adversary Proceeding
mp - Miscellaneous Proceeding

Judge Codes:

EPB - Judge Eddward P. Ballinger
RTB - Judge Redfield T. Baum
DPC - Judge Daniel P. Collins
SSC - Judge Sarah Sharer Curley
MCW - Judge Madeleine C. Wanslee
EWH - Judge Eileen W. Hollowell
BKM - Judge Brenda K. Martin
GBN - Judge George B. Neilsen 
 BMW - Judge Brenda M. Whinery   

Example: Case 2-14-bk-00001-DPC is a Bankruptcy case, filed in the Phoenix Division in 2014, followed by the five-digit sequence number of 00001 and is assigned to the Honorable Daniel P. Collins.

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How many copies do I need to file at the Court?

All petitions shall be filed electronically by the attorney for the debtor or petitioning parties. Please submit the original if you are not represented by an attorney. If you wish to have a conformed copy returned to you, an additional copy is required.

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If I file for bankruptcy, will it stop an eviction?

The Clerk's Office is prohibited by federal statute from providing legal advice. If you have any questions on how a bankruptcy filing affects enforcement of an eviction proceeding, please contact your local county sheriff's department or your legal advisor.

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What are the consequences of filing for bankruptcy?

Depending on a debtor's financial situation and reasons for filing, the consequences of filing for bankruptcy protection may outweigh the benefits. Those considering bankruptcy should be aware of the following:

  • Filing for bankruptcy protection is not free.
  • Not all debts are dischargeable.
    Example: Secured creditors retain some rights which may permit them to seize property, even after a discharge is granted. Spousal and child support obligations and most tax debts are not dischargeable.
  • Within 15 days of the filing of a bankruptcy petition, schedules of the debtor's assets and liabilities must be filed. Failure to timely file the appropriate schedules will result in dismissal of the bankruptcy.
  • If a case is not dismissed and a discharge is entered by the court, the debtor is prohibited from being granted another discharge in chapters 7 and 11 within eight years.
  • Fraudulent information or acts by the debtor are grounds for denial of a discharge and may be punishable as a criminal offense.

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What are the Federal Holidays?

The observed dates of the Federal Holidays for 2014 are:

  • New Year's Day - Wednesday, January 1, 2014
  • Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday - Monday, January 20, 2014
  • Presidents' Day (Washington's Birthday) - Monday, February 17, 2014
  • Memorial Day - Monday, May 26, 2014
  • Independence Day - Friday, July 4, 2014
  • Labor Day - Monday, September 1, 2014
  • Columbus Day - Monday, October 13, 2014
  • Veterans' Day - Tuesday, November 11, 2014
  • Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, November 27, 2014
  • Christmas Day - Thursday, December 25, 2014

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What if I don't agree with an Order entered in a case?

A Notice of Appeal may be filed after an Order or Judgment has been entered in a case. In a Notice of Appeal, the party filing the appeal, the appellant, wishes to reverse the Order or Judgment granted in favor of the other party, the appellee. When an Appeal is filed, the matter is referred to the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP) or possibly the United States District Court. The filing fee for a Notice of Appeal is $298.00. More information regarding appeals is available on our web site.

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What if the case I am interested in has been archived? / How do I request an old bankruptcy case file? 

Most case files with documents filed on paper have been shipped to the Federal Records Center (FRC). You can either request copies directly from the FRC or you can request the closed case be returned to the Clerk’s Office. To request copies directly from the FRC, please use the Archive Request Form which can be downloaded from the "Forms" section of this website. If you choose to download this form, you MUST first obtain the locating numbers by either viewing the docket or contacting the Clerk's Office (Sharon Leary at 602-682-4202). Written requests must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope and must contain the case name and case number. In addition, please include your telephone number.

To order a closed file from the FRC to be delivered to the Clerk’s Office for viewing, please submit the Archive Retrieval Form. If you wish to review the case file, it will be returned to the Clerk's Office from the FRC at a cost of $64 to retrieve the first record from the FRC. For retrievals involving multiple boxes, there is a fee of $39 for each additional box (copy fees are additional).

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What is a 341(a) meeting?

Debtors have a duty to appear, testify under oath, and to be questioned by creditors at the 341(a) meeting. This meeting is presided over by the trustee assigned to the case and is held approximately 40 days after the new petition is filed. Failure to appear may result in dismissal of the case. If a continuance or change in the hearing date, time, or location is sought, the trustee assigned to the case must be contacted. Such requests are not filed with the court.

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What is a Motion?

A motion is a written formal statement in which the party who is requesting an action, the movant, sets forth his grounds for the action requested. The party against whom the action is requested is the respondent.

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What is Electronic Case Filing (ECF)?

ECF was originally developed by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and supports electronic filing of documents and the viewing of case dockets and documents, via the Internet. Our first ECF case was entered on October 1, 1997.

As of February 16, 2003, ALL Arizona bankruptcy case dockets can be viewed through the Internet with a PACER id and password at http://ecf.azb.uscourts.gov. To register for a PACER id and password, please contact the PACER Service center at 800-676-6856 or visit their web site at http://pacer.uscourts.gov.

If you are unable to utilize your PACER password, please call 1-800-676-6856 (Pacer Center).

If you are an attorney, you can request a filing password/account. Your registration must be on the appropriate application form and submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Clerk by mail (230 N. First Ave, #101, Phoenix, AZ 85003), email (azbml_all_dqa@azb.uscourts.gov), or fax (602-682-4901). ECF Attorney Password Application.

You can download the documentation and password applications for ECF from our Reference Manuals area.

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What is the Automatic Stay?

An injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments, and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.

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What is the Bankruptcy Code?

Created in 1979, the Bankruptcy Code provides help for businesses or persons in financial difficulty in the form of bankruptcy chapters. Chapter 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcies are the most commonly filed chapters. The Bankruptcy Code is available at legal libraries.

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What is the difference between chapters?

Chapter 7: Often called the 'liquidation chapter,' Chapter 7 is used by individuals, partnerships, or corporations who have no hope for repairing their financial situation. In Chapter 7, the debtor's estate is liquidated under the rules of the Bankruptcy Code. Liquidation is the process through which the debtor's non-exempt property is sold for cash by a trustee and the cash is distributed to creditors.

Chapter 9: Chapter 9 is available only to municipalities, and is a form of reorganization, not liquidation.

Chapter 11: Often called the 'reorganization chapter,' Chapter 11 allows corporations, partnerships, and individuals to reorganize, without having to liquidate all assets. In filing a Chapter 11, the debtor presents a plan to creditors which, if accepted by the creditors and approved by the Court, will allow the debtor to reorganize personal, financial or business affairs and again become a financially productive individual or business.

Chapter 12: Chapter 12 is a reorganization bankruptcy and is similar to Chapter 13, but is available only to "Family Farmers" and "Family Fishermen."

Chapter 13: An individual with a regular income who is overcome by debts, but believes such debt can be repaid within a reasonable period of time, may file under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 13 permits the debtor to file a plan in which the debtor agrees to pay a certain percentage of future income to the Bankruptcy Court for payment to creditors. If the Court approves the plan, the debtor will be under the Court's protection while repaying such debts.

Chapter 15: Chapter 15 is a reorganization bankruptcy and deals specifically with cross-border insolvency: foreign companies with debts in the United States.

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What is the function of the U.S. Trustee and where is it located?

The Office of the U.S. Trustee is an Executive Branch agency that is part of the Department of Justice. Its responsibilities include monitoring the administration of bankruptcy cases and detecting bankruptcy fraud. It is also responsible for appointing interim trustees to administer Chapter 7 cases from a previously appointed panel of private individuals, lending support to and overseeing the Debtor-in-Possession in Chapter 11 cases, and appointing a standing trustee in Chapter 13 cases.

The individuals appointed by the U.S. Trustee to serve as interim or standing trustees in individual bankruptcy cases changes over time. A current list of trustees may be obtained by contacting the U.S. Trustee'soffice at the number below. If you wish any additional information regarding either the trustee program in general or individual trustees, you should contact the Office of the U.S. Trustee at:

230 North 1st Avenue, Ste. 204
Phoenix, AZ 85003-1706
(602) 682-2600

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What is the policy on refunds?

REFUND POLICY

Filing Fees

Pursuant to the Guide to Judiciary Policies and Procedures Chapter XII, filing fees may not be refunded if the filing was in error or the case is dismissed.

The following filing fees may not be refunded if it later appears that the filing of the document incurring the fee was in error.
  1. Bankruptcy Petition Filing Fee
  2. Motion/Notice of Conversion Filing Fee
  3. Motion to Reopen Filing Fee
  4. Adversary Complaint or Notice of Removal Filing Fee
  5. Notice of Appeal Filing Fee
  6. Motion for Relief From Stay or to Modify Stay Filing Fee
  7. Motion to Compel Abandonment Filing Fee
  8. The fee for filing any paper where there is not a pending case, to include registering a judgment from another district
  9. Fee for de-consolidation of a joint case
Refundable Payments

The following are examples that may be refunded:
  1. The filing fee can be refunded when it is paid and receipted where there is no requirement that a filing fee be paid.
  2. A refund can be made when an overpayment is received for any of the required statutory filing fees. The court is only entitled to the prescribed amount.
Request for Refund

Requests for refunds must be submitted in writing if filed by a pro se debtor/client. Attorneys must file refund requests in motion form through CM/ECF and must also upload a corresponding order. Financial administration staff will route all requests for refunds through CM/ECF to the appropriate judge.

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Where can I obtain petition forms?

If hiring an attorney is not possible, debtors can obtain bankruptcy petition forms from legal stationery stores. Forms can also be downloaded online.

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Where do I file?

The Court has multiple divisional offices located throughout the District. Divisional Offices are located in Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. The specific location for filing or reviewing bankruptcy petitions is determined by the debtor's address.

You can also find the correct filing office by zip code or city name.

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Where do I find Post Judgment Interest Rates?

You can find this information on our website.

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Where do I get a copy of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules)?

A copy of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules) is available for review in any Clerk’s Office location and legal libraries. Bankruptcy Rules are not available for purchase from the Court. Local Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure are available on this web site.

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Where do I get a copy of the Local Rules?

Local Rules may be downloaded from this site.

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Who do I notify about a possible fraudulent filing?

In order to expedite the handling of complaints of criminal violations in the bankruptcy system, the United States Trustee requires that your complaint be submitted in a signed letter, bearing your return address and telephone number to:

Office of the United States Trustee Special Investigations Unit 230 N. First Ave., Ste. 204 Phoenix, AZ 85003

Upon receipt, your complaint will be reviewed promptly. If the information furnished establishes a reasonable belief that a criminal violation has occurred, the matter will be referred to the United States Attorney. If the United States Attorney deems the matter to hold prosecutorial merit, it will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. A clearly written statement containing copies of any available documentation will expedite this process.

Submit the following information:
  1. The bankruptcy case name and file number, together with copies of any pertinent court filings.
  2. A chronological summary of the matter.
  3. A narrative of what occurred.
  4. Names, addresses and telephone numbers (to the extent available) of the subjects and witnesses known to you.

Once a bankruptcy petition is filed, all information submitted regarding the debtor or entity becomes a matter of public record, no matter what the outcome of the case. This information, which is regularly checked by credit companies, may affect the debtor's or entity's credit rating.

Get more information regarding reporting suspected bankruptcy fraud from the U.S. Trustee's web site.

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What is an adversary proceeding?

An Adversary Proceeding is a lawsuit arising in or related to a bankruptcy case, filed by a party called a "plaintiff" against a party called a "defendant." Adversary proceedings are initiated by filing a document called a "complaint" with the court to resolve both federal and state law issues. Certain types of disputes cannot be handled by motion in the bankruptcy case, but instead require the commencement of an adversary proceeding. Federal Bankruptcy Rule 7001 lists certain types of actions that require an adversary proceeding. Adversary proceedings are governed for the most part by Part VII of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. These rules incorporate most of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and are designed to make practice before the bankruptcy and district courts as similar as possible.

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Is the Bankruptcy Court state, or federal?

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court is part of the federal judiciary. Each of the 94 federal judicial districts handles bankruptcy matters, and in almost all districts, bankruptcy cases are filed in the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy cases cannot be filed in state court.

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What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a set of federal laws and rules that can help individuals and businesses who owe more debt than they can pay. In bankruptcy, the person, corporation, or partnership that owes money is called the debtor. Bankruptcy permits the debtor to work out a plan to repay some or all of the debt, to liquidate assets, or to have some of the debt forgiven (“discharged”) in an effort to obtain a “fresh start”. The bankruptcy laws give the debtor protection and benefits not available outside of bankruptcy, such as requiring that creditors stop all collection efforts while the debtor is in bankruptcy, unless otherwise ordered by the Bankruptcy Court. In bankruptcy, a debtor must make full disclosure of all assets, liabilities, and other financial information, and must either (1) surrender non-exempt (protected) property for liquidation and distribution to creditors, or (2) formulate a plan providing creditors at least as much as they would receive if the assets were liquidated.

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May I speak directly with Bankruptcy Judges?

No. Federal law prohibits any "ex parte" contact with the Court in order to preserve the integrity of the Court and to prevent the appearance of any impropriety or allegations of preferential treatment for any party.

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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. It is very important to file a certificate of service with your pleadings. The Court may deny your relief if you do not file a certificate of service. Because the service of a pleading is critical to obtain the relief that you request, you are strongly urged to consult a bankruptcy attorney.

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What is Credit Counseling?

Credit counseling generally refers to the "individual or group briefing" from a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency that individual debtors must attend prior to filing under any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. There are exceptions to the requirements for certain categories of debtors, exigent circumstances, or if the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator have determined that there are insufficient approved credit counseling agencies available to provide the necessary counseling.

The U.S. Trustee's Office provides a list of Approved Credit Counseling Providers.

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What is Financial Management?

The "instructional course in personal financial management" in chapters 7 and 13 that an individual debtor must complete before a discharge is entered. There are exceptions to the requirements for certain categories of debtors, exigent circumstances, or if the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator have determined that there are insufficient approved credit counseling agencies available to provide the necessary counseling.

The U.S. Trustee's Office provides a list of Approved Financial Management Course Providers.

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What is a discharge?

A 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.)

Video: Discussion on Discharge for Chapter 7 Debtors.

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What is a Means Test?

Section 707(b)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code applies a “means test” 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 5 years, net of certain statutorily allowed expenses is more than (i) $10,000, or (ii) 25% of the debtor’s nonpriority unsecured debt, as long as that amount is at least $6,000.

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What is a Reaffirmation Agreement?

An agreement by a chapter 7 debtor to continue paying a dischargeable debt (such as an auto loan) after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral (i.e. the car) that would otherwise be subject to repossession.

Reaffirmation instructions and fillable form.

Video: Discussion on Reaffirmation

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What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a web feed format used to distribute content that is updated frequently. An RSS Reader is needed.

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Where can I get an RSS Reader?

Some browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Firefox have built in RSS readers. There are also a variety of RSS readers available on the internet.

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How do I start subscribing?

Click on Court Information found under the Utilities, Miscellaneous menus in CM/ECF. The Court Information link can also be found from the CM/ECF home page, prior to logging in, in the bottom left corner. From the Court Information page, click on Entries made in the last 24 hours – Public Users and Subscribe to this feed. 

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