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Frequently Asked Questions


The Case Management/Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system uses standard computer hardware, an internet connection and browser, and accepts documents in Portable Document Format (.pdf).  The system is easy to use and convenient.  This electronic case management/filing system allows registered users to electronically file and/or access documents 24 hours a day via the internet from the home or office. Additionally, filers and other parties* in the case receive an automatically generated notice verifying court receipt of filings. (Only those parties who are CM/ECF users will receive electronic notification).
Your unique login and password serve as the signature on all electronically filed documents. All electronically filed documents must contain a signature block in compliance with FRBP 9011(a) and other applicable rules. Pursuant to the Administrative Procedures for Electronic Filing, "The electronic filing of a petition, pleading, motion, claim, or other paper by an attorney or unrepresented party who is a registered participant of the System shall constitute the signature of that attorney or unrepresented party under FRBP 9011 and other applicable rules."
Yes. Pursuant to FRBP 1008, "All petitions, lists, schedules, statements and amendments thereto shall be verified or contain an unsworn declaration as provided in 28 U.S.C. § 1746" and Local Rule 1009-1(A) which states in part, "The amendment must be executed and acknowledged by the debtor and attorney of record in the same manner that the item being amended was originally executed."
No. Sealed documents must be delivered to the court in paper form. The court will file the document in CM/ECF and set the appropriate access restrictions so that the document may not be viewed by any one other than the judge assigned to the case.
First be certain that all pop-up blockers are turned off on your computer. If you have multiple toolbars installed (Internet Explorer, Google, AOL, Yahoo, Firefox, or others), you will need to ensure that the pop-up blocker on each one of them is turned off. Then login to CM/ECF and access "Internet Payments Due" through the Utilities menu (Bankruptcy > Utilities > Internet Payments Due)
Use the Search feature in the blue menu bar at the top of your CM/ECF screen. This is a keyword search which will locate all filing events containing the word (e.g., reaffirmation) or partial word (e.g., reaff) that you enter. We have a fairly large event dictionary and hope you can locate an event for any pleading you are attempting to file. However, occasionally we do need to create new events due to new requirements and changing laws. If you are unable to locate a filing event which fits your needs, you should contact the Help Desk to request assistance.
Call the Clerk's office and ask to speak to the Case Administrator to whom the case is assigned. The Case Administrator's name is located in the upper right section of the docket. You may also call our office and provide the case number to the person who answers the telephone and they can transfer you to the appropriate person.
A Motion to Transfer Case Intra-District is a motion to keep the case within the Northern District of Florida, but to transfer it to a different division than it is current assigned (i.e., Tallahassee Division to Panama City Division). A regular Motion to Transfer Case is a motion to transfer the case to another district (i.e., Middle or Southern District of Florida or to another state). An intra-district transfer usually does not require a hearing.

Pursuant to N.D. Fla. LBR 1014-1 (Change of Venue), attorneys desiring to transfer a new Chapter 7 or 13 case petition to another division within the Northern District of Florida must select the division where they want the case administered during case opening and contemporaneously file a Motion to Transfer.
The BAPCPA of 2005 established the National Creditor Register Service (NCRS) which allows creditors to register a "preferred" address for receiving mail from the Courts. When a matrix is requested from our system, the addresses listed are the "preferred" addresses provided to the NCRS by these creditors. Unfortunately, the "preferred" address is not available by any other means.
Debtor or Debtor's Attorney: The addition, removal, or reclassification of a creditor requires that the schedules and/or mailing matrix be amended. Please see Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1009, N.D. Fla. LBR 1009-1, and the Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule (28 U.S.C. Sect. 1930) for more information.

Creditor: You will docket a paperless event located in the bankruptcy menu under the "Claim and Creditor Activity" category: Add Creditor(s) > Enter Individual Creditor(s) (Paperless). You will be prompted to type in the name of the creditor for the docket text and on the next screen, the name and address of the creditor for noticing and/or claims payment purposes. After you have added the creditor, you may proceed in filing a claim.
Most Submission Error Notifications require that the document or pleading be re-filed correctly. If you are unsure how correct the error, call the Case Administrator who made the entry, his or her name will be in parenthesis at the end of the docket entry, or call the Help Desk for assistance.  Someone will be able to explain to you exactly what was incorrect about your filing so that you can correct the problem.
You are logged into PACER. Unfortunately, CM/ECF and PACER screens are identical and often, many users enter the wrong login and password or your computer is set to automatically log you into PACER. Logout of the system, clear your cache and login to the system again. If you need assistance clearing your cache, you may contact the Help Desk for assistance.
We cannot delete documents once they are filed. You can withdraw the claim (Bankruptcy > Other Miscellaneous Documents > Withdrawal of Claim) by filing a document indicating that you filed the claim in multiple times and you wish to withdraw the duplicate(s).
Depending on your access rights in our system, you may be able to make name and address changes through the Utilities menu (Utilities > Maintain My ECF Account). If you do not have this option, you must contact Ne'shoni Love at Neshoni_Foulks@flnb.uscourts.gov to advise of any changes that need to be made to your account. All login and password changes need to be made through Ms. Love.
We have specific "amended" events for several different types of pleadings. Please be certain that you use the correct filing event in order to keep fees, deadlines and/or hearings proceeding as they should. To locate an "amended" event in CM/ECF, use the keyword Search option located in the blue menu bar at the top of your screen. A search for "compensation," for instance, will provide you with the options for the following events:

-Compensation, Application for
-Amended Application for Compensation
-BPP Form B280 - Disclosure of Compensation of BPP
-Disclosure of Compensation of Attorney for Debtor

You may also search "amended" but the list of available filing events will be much longer. If there is not a specific “amended” filing event, you may use the “Amended Motion,” “Amended Application,” or “Amended Document” events.
Help Desk:  888-765-1752
Help Desk Email:  CMECF_helpdesk@flnb.uscourts.gov

Clerk's Office: (all divisions):   850-521-5001 or 866-639-4615
Each uploaded file may be no larger than 5Mb. This cap applies to main documents and attachments. If your document is larger than 5Mb, we suggest breaking it down into several documents and attaching each file separately. Attempting to upload a file larger than 5Mb will result in the system "timing out" which will require that you begin again.
We have a link on our website to allow you to download and print the most commonly used forms.  The Forms page is located here.  You will have access to the National Bankruptcy Forms, forms required for filing bankruptcy, and local forms, which are forms required only by this court.  Be advised that the Clerk's Office is not allowed to tell you which forms you must have for filing bankruptcy under each chapter.  For more information about what is required, you may refer to the Filing Requirements pages of our website.
In most instances, the filing of the bankruptcy case will stop certain collection and other action against the debtor and the debtor's property. Under certain circumstances, this protection, called an "automatic stay" or "stay," may be limited to 30 days or not exist at all, although you can request the court to extend or impose the stay by filing the appropriate motion. You should consult an attorney to determine your rights if a creditor attempts to collect a debt or take other action in violation of the Bankruptcy Code.
The commencement of a bankruptcy case creates an "estate."  The estate technically becomes the temporary legal owner of all the debtor's property.  The estate consists of all legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the date the case is filed, including property owned or held by another person if the debtor has an interest in the property.  The "automatic stay" is immediately invoked at the instant the case is filed and it prohibits creditors from taking collection action against the debtor or the debtor's property without bankruptcy court approval.  The Court issues a Notice of Commencement advising all creditors and interested parties of the filing of the bankruptcy case.  This notice provides the case number, trustee information, date of the meeting of creditors, deadline to file a Proof of Claim (if applicable), and deadline to file an objection to discharge.
Corporate debtors are required to have legal counsel.  Individual debtors have the right to represent themselves, however, we do strongly recommend the use of an attorney as bankruptcy law can be very confusing.  Individuals who represent themselves will not be able to obtain legal advice from the trustee appointed to their case or court personnel. For more information, visit the Filing Without An Attorney page of our website.
No. 28 U.S.C. § 955 prohibits the staff of the Clerk's Office from giving legal advice or assisting with the preparation of forms.
Employee Income Records (aka Payment Advices or pay stubs) must be filed by both the debtor and the joint debtor, if applicable.  If the debtor(s) is/are unemployed and cannot submit pay stubs from the last 60 days, a Statement of No Employer Income should be completed.  This form is located on our website here.
We do accept both checks and credit cards, however we accept only cash, money orders or cashier checks from persons who are filing bankruptcy or who have a pending bankruptcy case. If you wish to pay in cash, you must have the exact amount required. We are unable to make change.

Generally, the following definitions will apply. However, if you are not sure about the classification of a debt, you should seek competent legal advice.

 

Secured:Debt that is backed by real or personal property.  A creditor whose debt is secured has a legal right to take the property as full or partial satisfaction of the debt. For example, most home and car loans are secured debt. This means that the lender has the right to take the home or car if the borrower fails to make the payments on the loan.

 

Unsecured:Debt backed by a promise to pay without any real or personal property to collateralize the debt. Most debts for services and some credit cards are unsecured debts.

 

Priority: Debts entitled to payment ahead of other debts, such as taxes, wage claims of employees, and domestic support obligations. A listing of priority debts is given, in general terms, in § 507 of the Bankruptcy Code.

 

Administrative: Debt created when someone provides goods or services to your bankruptcy estate.  This is also a priority debt.  An example of administrative debt is the fee generated by attorneys or other professionals whose employment has been authorized by the court to represent the bankruptcy estate.

No we cannot.  We suggest that you contact the Florida Bar for a list of bankruptcy attorneys or consult your local phone book. You may also search the Bankruptcy Pro bono Resource Locator for an attorney in your area who may represent you free of charge.
Court files and all documents within those files are public record with the exception of sealed documents and certain tax documents. Personal identification information which may be required on some forms or pleadings, such as social security numbers, birth dates, financial account numbers, names of minor children, or other information as directed in FRBP 9037 must be redacted (i.e., "blacked out" or otherwise obscured) before filing.
7-10 days.  Some creditors are notified electronically and therefore, will receive notice much sooner, but generally, U.S. Mail takes approximately a week or so.
The discharge releases the debtor from personal liability for the discharged debts, and therefore prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor to collect the debts. You should be aware that not all debts are dischargeable. Bankruptcy law regarding the scope of a discharge is complex, and debtors should consult legal counsel prior to filing.

Most debts usually listed on the petition are dischargeable, however, there are some exceptions.  Debts listed in 11 U.S.C. § 523 are not dischargeable, including, but not limited to:

  • most taxes
  • debts incurred to pay non-dischargeable taxes
  • domestic support obligations
  • most student loans
  • most fines, penalties, forfeitures or criminal restitution obligations
  • debts for personal injuries or death caused by the debtor's operation of a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft while intoxicated
  • debts which were not properly listed by the debtor
  • debts which the bankruptcy court specifically decides are not discharged
  • debts which the debtor has given up the discharge protections by signing a reaffirmation agreement
  • debts owed to certain pension, profit sharing, stock bonus, other retirement plans or to the Thrift Savings Plan for federal employees for certain types of loans from these plans
  • There are exceptions to these general rules, however, and you may want to consult an attorney to determine the exact effect of the discharge in any case.
The court can deny the discharge of all debts or declare that certain debts are non-dischargeable.  If the court denies the discharge of all debts, the debtor will still be legally responsible for repaying all debts as if no bankruptcy petition had ever been filed.  If only certain debts are ruled non-dischargeable, the debtor will still receive a discharge order, however, the debtor will remain legally responsible for repayment for those debts deemed non-dischargeable.
The new McVCIS (Multi-Court Voice Case Information System) now requires a court code to access information. The code for the Northern District of Florida is eleven (11). See the November, 19, 2009 issue of The Bankruptcy Advisor newsletter for more information, including the codes for other courts.
Complete the electronic registration process on our website for the type of access you need (attorney or creditor or Limited Use). Please read all the information on each screen carefully. You may be required to obtain CM/ECF training in our court (online or in person) before a login and password will be issued to you.
We have an automated password reset form available on our website where you can request a reset of your live or train CM/ECF account. Click Here to reset your CM/ECF password with Florida Northern Bankruptcy. Note that this will not reset your password in any other court, including the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for the Middle or Southern Districts of Florida even if you have previously requested a uniform login with the courts.
Notify us of the error as soon as possible. Contact the Clerk's Office at 850-521-5001 or 866-639-4615 to obtain the fax number so that you can fax us a letter stating that the case was filed in error and requesting that it be closed.
You cannot cancel a payment once it has been made. You can file a motion requesting a refund, if needed.
  • 1 - Confirm that you have entered the correct information into Pay.gov (the payment window)
  • 2 - Confirm that your credit card has not expired
  • 3 - Have you authorized the charge? There is a small checkbox on page 2 of the payment process. If you do not have the payment window full-size, you may not see this checkbox.
We offer both online and in-person (Tallahassee only) training for attorneys, creditors and support staff. There is no charge for this training. Please complete the online training request form on our website under the "Online Filing" tab or you may call or email Julie Gibson (850-521-5014, Julie_Gibson@flnb.uscourts.gov) to schedule training.
No. You must have a separate login and password for each court in which you are a registered CM/ECF user. This includes U.S. District Courts and U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. Your PACER login will remain the same regardless of which court database you are accessing. The bankruptcy courts in Florida offer a "universal" login option to attorneys. If you would like to have your login and password uniform in all three courts, please complete the online form located on the website of any of the three courts.
We will be happy to help you with questions you may have about processes and procedures in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida

The staff in our office are not permitted by law (F.R.B.P. 9003) to provide legal advice including, but not limited to, how to complete forms, which forms need to be filed, how to create documents that do not use a pre-defined form (e.g., motions, responses, etc.), or how you should respond to something that has been filed. 

We cannot assist you with processes or procedures for other districts as we are not familiar with their local requirements. Instead, we suggest that you visit their websites to obtain more information. 

Additionally, we cannot provide technical assistance for bankruptcy petition preparation software packages. Neither are we permitted to make recommendations as to preference of one software package over another.
Proposed orders are to be in a word processing format (e.g., Word or WordPerfect) and will not be accepted in PDF format. Please see the court's proposed orders guidelines and N.D. Fla. LBR 9072-1 for specific information on formatting your proposed order.

Proposed orders are to be submitted electronically through the “Submit Proposed Orders” link in either the Bankruptcy or Adversary menus in CM/ECF. This process will generate a “pop-up window” so please ensure that your pop-up blockers are turned off before beginning. As noted above, all proposed orders are to be submitted in word processing format, however, attachments to the proposed order may be submitted in .pdf format.

Bankruptcy Cases filed prior to November 11, 2003 (implementation of CM/ECF): All case numbers were seven digits in length, separated by a dash after the first two digits. The first two digits indicated the year in which the case was filed (e.g., 02- for a case filed in 2002). The third digit (first after the dash) indicated the division in which the case was filed (e.g., 02-7 would indicate a Tallahassee division case). The remaining digits were the numeric sequence in which the case was filed in that division (e.g., 02-70003 was the third case filed in the Tallahassee division in 2002). 

Adversary Cases filed prior to November 11, 2003 (implementation of CM/ECF): Adversary case numbers were seven digits in length, separated by a dash after the first two digits. The first two digits indicated the year in which the case was filed (e.g., 02- for a case filed in 2002). The third digit (first after the dash) indicated the office in which the case file was physically located (e.g., 02-9 was located in Tallahassee (Tallahassee, Panama City and Gainesville divisions) or 02-8 was located in the Pensacola office). The remaining digits were the numeric sequence in which the case filed in that office that year (e.g., 02-90147 was the 147th case to be filed in the Tallahassee office (including Panama City and Gainesville divisions). 

Cases filed after November 10, 2003 (implementation of CM/ECF): Bankruptcy and Adversary case numbers are seven digits in length, separated by a dash after the first two digits. The first two digits indicate the year in which the case was filed (e.g., 10- for a case filed in 2010). The next several digits are reflect both the official statistical code of the division in which the case was filed and indicates what type of case it is. The statistical codes are as follows: 
Gainesville = 1 Pensacola = 3 Tallahassee = 4 Panama City = 5 

Based upon what type of proceeding the case is, the second half of the case number (after the dash) will either begin with the single digit office statistical code or one or two zeroes. One zero after the dash indicates that the case is an adversary proceeding. Two zeroes after the dash indicate that the case is a miscellaneous proceeding. Examples of these numbering schemes are shown below. 

Bankruptcy Case:
Gainesville 10-10001, Pensacola 10-30001, Tallahassee 10-40001, Panama City 10-50001 
Adversary Case:
Gainesville 10-01001, Pensacola 10-03001, Tallahassee 10-04001, Panama City 10-05001 
Miscellaneous Case: 
Gainesville 10-00101, Pensacola 10-00301, Tallahassee 10-00401, Panama City 10-00501 

January 1 each year the case numbering starts over at one (1) and continues to increase numerically until the last case is opened for that calendar year (e.g., the last case filed in 2009 was 09-50884. There were 884 bankruptcy cases filed in the Panama City division in 2009).


Disclaimer
Various links listed on this and other pages are maintained by other public and private organizations. These links and pointers are provided for the user's convenience. The U. S. Bankruptcy Court does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information; nor does it control or guarantee the on-going availability, maintenance, or security of these Internet sites. Further, the inclusion of links or pointers to particular items in hypertext is not intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.