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Frequently Asked Questions

The information provided here is intended to answer frequently asked general, procedural, and technical questions and is not be interpreted as legal advice or to serve as a guide to what is required to be filed, provided, or completed in a bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding. This information is subject to change without notice.

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 and the Requirements Before Filing section of our website, and/or the instructions provided with each of the official bankruptcy forms.

Help Desk: 888-765-1752
Help Desk Email: CMECF_helpdesk@flnb.uscourts.gov

Clerk's Office: (all divisions): 850-521-5001 (local Tallahassee) or 866-639-4615 (toll free)
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)and allows registered users to electronically file and/or access documents 24 hours a day via the internet. 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). NOTE: CM/ECF is tested for compatibility only with Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers.

Your unique login and password serve to validate the signature on your electronically filed documents. Pursuant to the Administrative Procedures for Electronic Filing, attached to Standing Order #11, the PDF document must contain either a scanned image of any original signature(s) or the text "/s/ user name" where an original signature should occur. All electronically filed documents must contain a signature block in compliance with FRBP 9011(a) and other applicable rules.

Amendments to schedules are governed by FRBP 1008 and 1009 and Local Rule 1009-1(A). Amended schedules must be filed in their entirety and any changes, additions, or deletions must be clearly indicated. Changes to add, remove, or reclassify a creditor require payment of a filing fee and changes to add creditors or modify existing creditors must also be accompanied by a mailing matrix containing only the name(s) and address(es) of the creditor(s) to be added or changed.

No. Prior to filing a sealed case or a sealed document in a non sealed case, a motion requesting authorization to file under seal must be filed and granted by court order after which 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 and persons specifically granted access by the judge, if applicable.

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.

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. The Case Administrator cannot tell you when an order will be signed, only whether or not it has been submitted to chambers for review.

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (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.
Not all Submission Error Notifications (SEN) require that the document or pleading be re-filed correctly or withdrawn. The docket text of the SEN will note any what action needs to be taken. If you are unsure how correct a problem, 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 procedurally incorrect about your filing so that you can correct the problem.

You are logged into PACER. PACER will only allow you to query and view cases, or print documents. 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 using your CM/ECF login credentials.

We cannot delete documents once they are filed. You can withdrawal of claim indicating that you filed the claim in multiple times and you wish to withdraw the duplicate(s).

You must make all user account changes through the "Maintain My ECF Account" in the Utilities menu.

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:

- Application for Compensation - Amended
- Application for Compensation 1000 Dollars or Less (Negative Notice)
- Application for Compensation over 1000 Dollars (Hearing Required - No Neg Ntc)
- Application for Compensation re MMM

You may search the word "amended" but the list of available filing events will be much longer. If there is not a specific "amended" event for your particular document, you may use the "Amended Motion," "Amended Application," or "Amended Document" events. You must link your amended filing to the original filing on the docket.
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.

Non-individual (i.e., corporate or business) debtors are required to have legal counsel. Individual debtors have the right to represent themselves, however, we do strongly encourage the use of an attorney as bankruptcy law can be very confusing. Bankruptcy law can be very confusing and you will be expected to follow the same rules and procedures as an attorney would. Failure to do so could result in dismissal of the case or other sanctions. 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.

If the debtor(s) is/are unemployed and cannot submit pay stubs from the last 60 days, they may use Local Form 16, Statement of No Employment Income, to advise the court of your lack of employment. This form is located on our website here.

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. We accept checks and credit cards from filers who are not debtors in a pending bankruptcy case.

The Proof of Claim form available at http://www.uscourts.gov/forms/bankruptcy-forms/proof-claim-0 contains detailed instructions and definitions of terms that you will need to know to complete your Proof of Claim. Please review these instructions carefully.

No. 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.

Bankruptcy files are available to the general public unless a court order restricting access is granted in the case. This is done only in rare circumstances. Due to the public availability of the case documents, be sure that all personally identifiable information is redacted before filing any document in your bankruptcy case. CLICK HERE for further information on personally identifiable information.

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. 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

Debts listed in 11 U.S.C. § 523 are not dischargeable, including, but not limited to:

  • most taxes

  • domestic support obligations

  • most student loans

  • most fines, penalties, forfeitures or criminal restitution obligations

  • debts for personal injuries or death caused operating a vehicle 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 for certain types of loans owed to pension, profit sharing, stock bonus, or retirement 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 Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS) is an automated system which provides basic bankruptcy case information such as the case number, debtor name, last four digits of the debtor's Social Security Number, chapter, date the case was filed, debtor's attorney, trustee assigned to the case, judge assigned to the case, case status, date of discharge or dismissal, and date case was closed. McVCIS is available toll free at 1-866-222-8029. The code for the Northern District of Florida is eleven (11). You may also obtain case information from PACER (www.pacer.uscourts.gov) after registering. Note that there is a charge to use PACER. More information is provided on their website.

Complete the electronic registration process on our website for the type of access you need (attorney or creditor/limited access). Please read all the information on each screen carefully. You may be required to obtain CM/ECF training in our court (online) 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 nor will it reset your Central Sign On password for NextGen 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 that is part of the payment process. If you do not have the payment window expanded to full-screen, you may not see this checkbox.

We offer online 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 the CM/ECF Help Desk (CMECF_HelpDesk@flnb.uscourts.gov or 866-639-4615) for more information.

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. NOTE: The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida is not a "NextGen" court at this time. You must continue to use the login and password assigned to you by our court until otherwise notified.

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 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., preferably Word) 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. All proposed orders are to be submitted in word processing format, however, attachments to the proposed order may be submitted in .pdf format. If the window in which to submit your proposed order does not appear after clicking the link, you must turn off your pop up blockers.

Press and hold the Ctrl key and then roll your mouse wheel forward or backwards to make your text larger or smaller until you see the Request event in the "Available Events" box. If you do not have a wheel on your mouse, you may use the Ctrl key and the plus (+) or minus (-) keys to make your text larger or smaller.

Anyone may request to receive notices in a specific bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding by filing a "Request for Notices (No Attorney Appearance)". Attorneys wishing to file documents in a case (other than a proof of claim) or to notify the court of representation of a party in a case should file a "Notice of Appearance (Appearance of Attorney)". All attorneys wish to make an appearance in a case must be admitted to practices in the Northern District of Florida.

For negative notice motions, you may submit your proposed order when you file the motion and it will be forwarded to chambers after the expiration of the negative notice deadline if no objection is filed. For filings that do not require a hearing or negative notice, the order should be submitted when the document has been filed. Otherwise, the proposed order is due within three (3) business days after a hearing has been held or after a deadline has expired All proposed orders are to be submitted via the Submit Proposed Order link in CM/ECF and are not to be attached to or filed as a part of the pleading.

The CourtCall Telephone Appearance Procedures for Judge Specie are located at http://www.flnb.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/court_resources/telephonic_appearance_procedures.pdf. Telephone conference information for Judges Callaway, Oldshue, and Jennemann is located within the hearing notice.

Ensure that your pop-up blockers are turned off. If you have multiple toolbars installed on your browser, you will need to turn off the popup blockers on each of them.

To change your notification settings from "Daily Summary" to "Individual Emails," login to CM/ECF (not PACER) and access your ECF account (Utilities > Maintain My ECF Account). Select the "Email information" button and change your settings from "Send a Daily Summary Report" to "Send a notice for each filing." These radio button options are located toward the bottom of your screen. After changing your notification selection, select the "Return to Account screen" button and then the "Submit" button on the account screen. Failure to "Submit" your changes will result in them not being saved.

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.