Understanding Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Courts are located within each of the 94 federal judicial districts.  A bankruptcy petition cannot be filed in a state court. Bankruptcy laws help people who can no longer pay their creditors get a fresh start by liquidating their assets to pay their debts, or by creating a repayment plan.

Bankruptcy laws also protect troubled businesses and provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation.  These procedures are covered under Title 11 of the United Sates Code (the Bankruptcy Code).  The vast majority of cases are filed under the three main chapters of the Bankruptcy Code,which are Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13.

Bankruptcy Basics - This public information series provides a comprehensive overview of bankruptcy. including information on: the discharge, a summary of each individual Chapter, the Securities Investor Protection Act, and bankruptcy terminology.
*View the Bankruptcy Basics Video Series: English | Spanish

U.S. Trustee Program - The United States Trustee Program is the component of the Department of Justice responsible for overseeing the administrion of bankruptcy cases and private trustees under 28 U.S.C. § 586 abd 11 U.S.C. § 101, et seq.  The program website contains information about the U.S. Trustee Program and the federal bankruptcy system.

Bankruptcy Information Sheet - A helpful resource provided by the U.S. Trustee Program that provides general information about what happens in a bankruptcy case, including when you should file, what a discharge is, and what a reaffirmation agreement is.

Disclaimer:  Please note that the resources above provide a good overview of bankruptcy, this information is not a complete overview of these topics and should not be used as a substitute for reference to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.  Due to the complexity and long-term financial effects of filing for bankruptcy, individuals are encouraged to obtain legal advice from a competent attorney before filing a petition.

The Clerk's Office is limited in the assistance it can provide parties in the filing process and cannot provide legal advice.  If you are considering filing a petition or claim without an attorney (self-represented), please review Filing Without an Attorney section of this website.