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FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions are provided as a resource for those seeking general information about the bankruptcy process. This information is not legal advice and does not take the place of federal or local rules, or guidance provided by attorneys.

  • What is the difference between a debtor and creditor?

    Debtor – A person who has filed a petition for relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
    Creditor – One to whom the debtor owes money or who claims to be owed money by the debtor.

  • What is the automatic stay?

    Upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition, a “stay” goes into effect which prohibits most creditors from taking or continuing most actions to collect money or property from the debtor.

  • Where can I find Local Rules?

    The Local Rules can be found under the Our Court tab on the court’s website. Local Rules are cited using the abbreviation “LBR” (Local Bankruptcy Rule) and govern procedures in the District of Kansas Bankruptcy Courts.

  • What forms do I need to file bankruptcy?
  • What is a 341 meeting or meeting of creditors?

    The meeting of creditors, which is also sometimes referred to as a “341” meeting because it is required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, is a meeting all debtors must personally attend. If the case involves spouses filing jointly, both spouses must appear at this meeting. The primary purpose of this meeting is to provide an opportunity for the trustee and creditors to question the debtors under oath about their bankruptcy petition and schedules.

    At the meeting of creditors, the trustee reviews the debtor's petition and schedules face-to-face with the debtor. The debtor is required to answer questions under penalty of perjury (swearing or affirming to tell the truth) about the debtor's conduct, property, liabilities, financial condition, and any other matter that may affect the administration of the case or the debtor's right to a discharge.

  • What do I need to bring to the 341 meeting of creditors?

    The debtor must present the following to the trustee at the meeting of creditors:
    1. Photo identification
    2. Proof of the debtor's social security number
    And other documents as requested by the trustee.
    See Bankruptcy Basics video:  Creditor Meeting

  • What if I don't have the filing fee?

    Federal law requires a fee to file a bankruptcy petition. See the Fee Schedule. Your filing fee must be paid by cashier’s check, money order (made payable to Clerk, US Bankruptcy Court) or in cash in the exact amount. The Clerk’s Office cannot make change.
    If you cannot afford to pay the full fee at the time of filing, you may apply to pay the fee in installments.
    A form must be completed to make that application: 
    http://www.uscourts.gov/forms/individual-debtors/application-individuals-pay-filing-fee-installments
    In a Chapter 7 case, if you cannot afford to pay the fee either in full at the time of filing or in installments, you may request a waiver of the filing fee by completing and filing an application. A judge will decide whether you have to pay the fee. By law, the judge may waive the fee only if your income is less than 150 percent of the federal poverty line applicable to your family size and you are unable to pay the fee in installments.
    Chapter 7 Fee Waiver Guidance and Application
    150 Percent of HHS Poverty Guidelines

  • Is bankruptcy information public information? Can anyone look at it?

    Almost all the information contained in documents filed in bankruptcy cases is a matter of public record, and can be reviewed by members of the general public. The documents can be reviewed by members of the public in the Clerk's Office during regular business hours or, for attorneys and parties who have access to PACER, over the internet 24 hours a day.
     
    Because bankruptcy information is public, you should never include your complete social security or account numbers on publicly filed documents. While you will have to provide your full social security number to the Court, be sure to only include the last four digits on publicly filed documents.
     
    Access to pleadings and papers filed in bankruptcy cases is not restricted unless there is some good basis for "sealing" information that is contained in them. To have a document filed "Under Seal" or "In Camera," a motion must be filed explaining the need to protect the information in that document from public view.
     
    If you are a debtor, you should be aware that the filing of bankruptcy may affect your credit rating. Several reporting agencies report bankruptcy information and statistics to the public, and credit reporting agencies also regularly collect bankruptcy information.

  • What is a bankruptcy discharge?

    A bankruptcy discharge makes certain debts unenforceable against the debtor personally. Creditors whose claims against the debtor are discharged may not take action against the debtor to collect the discharged debts. See Bankruptcy Basics video: The Discharge.

  • What if I forgot to include a creditor in my bankruptcy schedules? (Schedules D, E/F, G & H)

    If additional creditors need to be added to your bankruptcy schedules after filing, you must amend the applicable schedule (D, E/F, G, & H). There is a fee to add creditors, delete creditors, change the amount of a debt, or change the classification of a debt. Debtor(s) must sign and verify an amended schedule in the same manner required for original schedules (See D. Kan. LBR 1009.1(b)). The Declaration About an Individual Debtor's Schedules, Official Form 106Dec, signed and verified under penalty of perjury, will suffice. In addition, the Debtor is required to include a new creditor mailing matrix (or list) containing only the names and addresses of the added creditors. Finally, the Debtor must serve amendments to Schedules D, E/F, G, or H on any additional creditors, with a notice conforming to Appendix 1-01 (See D. Kan. LBR 1009.1(a)).

  • What are the two required courses that an individual debtor must complete?

    An individual debtor must complete TWO DIFFERENT CLASSES to obtain a discharge:  1) Credit Counseling; and 2) Personal Financial Management/Debtor Education. If a bankruptcy case is filed jointly, each spouse must take both courses.
     
    CREDIT COUNSELING: Must be completed before filing bankruptcy – The Bankruptcy Code ordinarily requires an individual debtor (a debtor who is not a corporation or other entity) to complete an approved course in Credit Counseling within 180 days before filing a bankruptcy case. See list of credit counseling providers approved by the U.S. Trustee (link is external). The course can be completed in person, over the internet, or by telephone, and the credit counseling service will provide a certificate that the course was completed. WARNING: YOUR CASE CAN BE DISMISSED IMMEDIATELY IF YOU DO NOT COMPLETE THIS COURSE BEFORE FILING.
     
    PERSONAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT/DEBTOR EDUCATION: Must be completed soon after filing bankruptcy – In order to obtain a discharge of debts, an individual debtor (a debtor who is not a corporation or other entity) must complete an approved course in Personal Financial Management within 60 days after the 341(a) Meeting of Creditors. See list of personal financial management/debtor education providers approved by the U.S. Trustee (link is external). The course can be completed in person, over the internet, or over the telephone, and the course provider will provide a Certificate of Completion. WARNING: YOU CANNOT RECEIVE YOUR DISCHARGE UNTIL THE CERTIFICATE SHOWING COMPLETION OF THIS COURSE IS FILED.

  • How long does it take to complete the bankruptcy process and receive a discharge of debts?

    Each case is different, but a general rule of thumb is that in a Chapter 7 case a debtor's discharge is usually entered between 90 and 120 days after the case was filed (provided no objections to discharge are filed). Once the discharge is entered, the case is generally closed shortly thereafter unless the Trustee has determined assets may exist to administer. The entry of a discharge may take longer if a debtor's entitlement to the discharge is contested by the case trustee, creditors, or other parties in interest. In a Chapter 13 case, a discharge is entered upon the successful completion of the repayment plan, usually between 36 and 60 months following bankruptcy. Once the confirmed plan is substantially consummated, a final decree will be issued that completes the bankruptcy process. This process may take several years to complete.

  • My case was dismissed. What does that mean?

    A dismissal order ends the case and ordinarily removes it from the Bankruptcy Court’s jurisdiction. When the court dismisses a case, the “automatic stay” is no longer in effect and creditors may start to collect on their debts again. Some types of dismissals – such as one for cause (for example, for failing to file required schedules and statements) may contain a 180-day bar to refiling. Unless the debtor appeals the dismissal or moves for reconsideration within 14 days of the order, the case will be automatically closed.

  • My case has been closed, but I need to file further documents. What do I do?

    In order to file additional documents after your case is closed, you must first file a Motion to Reopen the case and pay the applicable re-opening fee. The Motion to Reopen must specifically state why you wish to reopen the case. Additionally, if any creditors will be affected by the re-opening (such as adding new creditors), the debtor must also serve them with a copy of the Motion to Reopen. If the Court grants the Motion to Reopen, the debtor may then file the necessary documents.

  • Can I fax or email documents to the Clerk’s Office for filing?

    No. Faxed and emailed documents cannot be accepted for filing in bankruptcy cases. If you are a non-attorney filer, please bring your filings to the Clerk’s Office or submit them by mail. You may send two copies and include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you would like the Clerk to return a file-stamped copy to you.

  • Can I contact the Judge privately?

    No. You are prohibited from contacting a judge without giving other interested parties notice and an opportunity to participate in the contact. Federal Bankruptcy Rule 9003 prohibits parties from "ex parte" meetings or communications with the court concerning matters affecting any party.

  • How do I get a bankruptcy removed from my credit report?

    The Bankruptcy Court has no jurisdiction over credit reporting agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq governs credit reporting agencies. As of December 1, 2017, the law states that credit 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. Other negative credit information is removed after seven years. For more information about credit practices and debt relief see the Federal Trade Commission’s website:  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/money-credit.
    You may obtain one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 1-877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, social security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.

  • How do I get certified copies of documents?

    You may come to the Clerk's Office and request certified copies. There is a printing fee and a certification fee for each document to be certified. Alternatively, if you know the documents you are looking for, you can mail a request to the Clerk's Office. Your request must specifically identify the documents you want certified. Be sure to include the case name, case number, filing date, and the title of the specific documents that you wish to have certified. In addition, please include your name, address and daytime contact number, so the Clerk can reach you if he or she has any questions about your request. If you request certified documents by mail, you must include payment for the Clerk's search fee and certification with your request. The payment must be in the form of a cashier’s check or money order (made payable to Clerk, US Bankruptcy Court). The fees that apply when requesting a certified document by mail include: a per document search fee, a per document certification fee, and a per page photocopy fee. Contact the Clerk’s Office if you are unsure of the total charge for certifying the document. See the Fee Schedule.

  • How do I obtain a copy of a transcript of Court proceedings?

    Pursuant to Judicial Conference policy, transcripts are not available for viewing through PACER until ninety days after the date of the filing of the transcript. Any person requiring a copy of a transcript before the end of the 90-day period may purchase a copy directly from the transcriber or view the document at a public terminal in any of the Clerk’s Offices. Alternatively, you may request an audio file or CD recording of a hearing. See the court’s website for more information about requesting a transcript or an audio file.

  • What forms are required for a reaffirmation agreement?

    A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement by a 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. Two forms are required: 
    Form 2400A Reaffirmation Agreement
    Cover Sheet for Reaffirmation Agreement

  • What information must be contained in an order in the District of Kansas?

    See D. Kan. LBR 9004.1 (c)
     A. The following information must appear at the top of the first page of all orders: (i) the name of the court; (ii) the case caption, the case number, and chapter; and (iii) the caption of the order and page number.
    B. The top margin on the first page of an order must be four inches; all subsequent pages of the order must have a top margin of one inch.
    C. The last line of the order preceding attorney or party signatures must consist of 3 pound symbols
    (# # #), centered, to indicate the end of the order. Omit a signature line for the judge because all orders will be signed electronically in the top margin of the first page.
     
    What if I don't agree with an order entered by the Court?
    A party in a bankruptcy case who thinks the judge has decided a matter incorrectly has a right to appeal any final judgment, order, or decree of the judge. You are strongly encouraged to seek advice from an attorney if you wish to file an appeal.

  • What if I don't agree with an order entered by the Court?

    A party in a bankruptcy case who thinks the judge has decided a matter incorrectly has a right to appeal any final judgment, order, or decree of the judge. You are strongly encouraged to seek advice from an attorney if you wish to file an appeal.

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

    If you have been listed as a creditor in the bankruptcy case, you should receive a written notice in the mail from the Clerk's Office advising you of the case filing, the date for the Meeting of Creditors, and any important case deadlines. This notice will tell you whether you should file a claim in the bankruptcy case at that time, and the deadline for filing your claim if one is to be filed. The notice will also give you important deadlines for filing complaints to object to the debtor's discharge or the dischargeability of certain debts. In most instances, you are stayed from making any contact directly with the individual or company that filed bankruptcy and should instead (if you need to) contact them through their attorney.

  • How do I file a proof of claim?

    Creditors may file a proof of claim on the court’s website using the Electronic Proof of Claim (ePOC) Filing. Alternatively, you may obtain limited filer access to the court’s CM/ECF (case management) system. In CM/ECF, go to Bankruptcy, then click on File Claims.