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Chapter 7 - Liquidation

The information provided here is intended to answer frequently asked questions and is not to be interpreted as legal advice or to serve as a complete guide as to what is required to be f​iled, provided or completed in a chapter 7 case.   This information is subject to change without notice.

Attorney Representation
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms
Credit Counseling & Debtor Education
Credit Rating & Reports
Discharge of Debts in a Chapter 7 Case
Documents Required to File Bankruptcy
Payment of Filing Fees
Potential Delay or Denial of Discharge
Preventing Automatic Dismissal of Your Bankruptcy Case
Reaffirmation Agreements
The Trustee & the 341 Meeting of Creditors
 

Attorney Representation


Any debtor other than an individual (or a married couple) must be represented by legal counsel.  Corporations or other business debtors may not file bankruptcy pro se (without legal counsel).

Pro se debtors must comply with the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the Northern District of Florida (N.D. Fla. L.R.), Title 11 of the U.S. Code (11 U.S.C. or “the Bankruptcy Code”) and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Fed. R. Bankr. P.) just as if they were represented by an attorney.  Failure to do so can result in dismissal of the case or other sanctions.

The laws pertaining to bankruptcy are very complex.  The staff of the Clerk’s Office of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the judge, the judge’s staff, and/or the trustee appointed to oversee the bankruptcy case are not permitted to answer legal questions for you, nor can they provide guidance as to the content or types of documents that may be required in your bankruptcy case.  Please see the Filing Without an Attorney section of this website for more information if you are contemplating filing bankruptcy on your own.
 

Credit Counseling & Debtor Education


All individual debtors who file chapter 7 bankruptcy are required to obtain credit counseling from an approved provider within 6 months before filing for bankruptcy relief.  Debtors are also required to complete an instructional course in personal financial management from an approved provider after filing bankruptcy.  (11 U.S.C. § 521(b),(c)).  Failure to obtain the required certifications may result in dismissal of your case or withholding of the discharge.   A list of approved providers is available from the Clerk’s Office or the website of the U.S. Trustee Program.

U.S. Trustee Program > List of Approved Credit Counseling Agencies
U.S. Trustee Program > List of Approved Providers of Personal Financial Management Instructional Courses
 

Documents Required to File Bankruptcy


The forms listed below are available from either the United States Courts > Bankruptcy Forms website (Official and Procedural Forms) or the Forms page of this website (Local Forms designated as “LF”).  Many of the forms are in interactive (“fillable”) Portable Document Format (PDF) and all can be printed or saved to your computer.

When filing a bankruptcy case, documents should be placed in the order as they are presented below.  Items preceded by an asterisk (*) are required to initiate a bankruptcy case.  Failure to include these items may result in the dismissal of the case.  All remaining documents must be filed within the specified time period.
  • *Filing Fee - The filing fee is to be paid in full at the time of the filing of the petition unless the debtor files, and the court approves, an Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments (Official Form B 3A) or an Application for Waiver of Chapter 7 Filing Fee (Official Form B 3B). An application to pay in installments or for waiver of the filing fee can be filed by individual debtors only (including married couples) and shall be filed at the time of the filing of the petition.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1006(b).
  • *Voluntary Petition (Official Form B 1) - Required to initiate the bankruptcy case.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(a)(1).
  • Summary of Schedules, including the Statistical Summary of Certain Liabilities and Related Data (Official Form B 6) - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c).
  • Schedules of Assets and Liabilities (Official Forms B 6A - 6F), Schedule of Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases (Official Form B 6G), Schedule of Co-Debtors (Official Form B 6H), Schedules of Current Income and Expenditures (Official Forms B 6I & B 6J) and Declaration Concerning Schedules (Official Form B 6 - Declaration) - All schedules must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  11 U.S.C. § 521(1) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b),(c).
  • Statement of Financial Affairs (Official Form B 7) - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  11 U.S.C. § 521(1)(B)(iii) and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b),(c).
  • Chapter 7 Individual Debtor’s Statement of Intention (Official Form B 8) - Required only if a debtor is an individual and the schedules of assets and liabilities contain debts secured by property of the estate or personal property subject to an unexpired lease.  Must be filed with the petition or within thirty (30) days or by the date set for the § 341 Meeting of Creditors, whichever is earlier.  11 U.S.C. §§ 362(h) and 521(a)(2).
  • Notice to Individual Consumer Debtor (Official Form B 201) - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  When the debtor is represented by legal counsel, the attorney’s signature on Exhibit B (page 2) of the Voluntary Petition certifies compliance with this provision.  11 U.S.C. §§ 342(b), 521(a)(1)(B)(iii), 707(a)(3).
  • Declaration and Signature of Non-Attorney Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (Official Form B 19), if applicable - Must be filed with the petition if the bankruptcy petition is prepared by someone other than the debtor(s).  11 U.S.C. § 110(b)(2).
  • Disclosure of Compensation of Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (Procedural Form B 280), if applicable - Must be filed with the petition if the bankruptcy petition is prepared by someone other than the debtor(s).  11 U.S.C. § 110(h)(2).
  • Disclosure of Compensation of Attorney for Debtor (Procedural Form B 203), if applicable - Must be filed within fourteen (14) days or other date set by the court.  11 U.S.C. § 329 and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 2016(b).
  • Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income (Official Form B 22A-1) and Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation (Official Form B 22A-2), if applicable - Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c).
  • *Creditor Mailing Matrix (no official form - see Instructional Document Inst-1 on the Forms page of this website) - A typewritten list containing the names and addresses of all creditors of the debtor.  Must be filed with the petition.  11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(1)(A), Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(a)(1) and N.D. Fla. L.R. 1007-2.
All of the documents listed above may be filed as one document.
  • *Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B 21) - Required if the debtor is an individual.  Must be filed with the petition.  This form is retained by the attorney for the debtor(s) and is not filed with the court unless the debtor is filing a pro se case (not represented by legal counsel).  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(f).
  • *Exhibit D - Individual Debtor’s Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling Requirement (Official Form 1, Exhibit D) - Required if the debtor is an individual.  Must be filed with the petition.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(3), (c).
  • *Motion for Determination and Waiver of Debtor’s Duty to Comply with Credit Counseling Requirement (Local Form LF-18), if applicable - Required if the debtor is an individual requesting a waiver of credit counseling requirements.  Must be filed with the petition.  11 U.S.C. § 109(h)(3).
  • Copies of all payment advices (e.g., earnings statements, pay stubs, etc.) or other evidence of payment received by the debtor within 60 days before the filing of the petition or, if the debtor has not received any income from an employer within 60 days before the filing of the petition, a Statement of No Employment Income (Local Form LF-16), whichever is applicable - Required if the debtor is an individual.  Must be filed with the petition or within fourteen (14) days.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b), (c).

Completing the Bankruptcy Forms


Your bankruptcy is a public record.  Do not place the full Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number on any bankruptcy documents other than the Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B 21).  Documents of which you are to provide copies, such as pay advices or earnings statements, bank records, or tax documents, must be redacted or truncated prior to filing.  (Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9037).   You may abbreviate the information as shown in the following examples:
  • Social Security Number and/or Taxpayer Identification Number:  last four digits only (e.g., xxx-xx-1234)
  • Financial Account Numbers:  last four digits only
  • Birthdate:  year of birth only
  • Names of Minor children:  initials only (no names)
Debtors filing pro se (without legal representation) are required to provide a daytime telephone number and to submit a completed Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B 21) with the Voluntary Petition.  This document must contain the full Social Security or Taxpayer Identification Number and will be retained by the Clerk’s Office as part of the case file but is not part of the public record.

Correcting an incorrect Social Security Number:  If you mistakenly provided an incorrect Social Security Number when filing the bankruptcy case, you must provide an Amended Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form B 21 marked “Amended” in the title) to the Court.  An Amended Voluntary Petition should only be filed if the error is in the last four digits of the Social Security Number.
  • Debtors represented by attorneys: The attorney will mail a copy of the Amended Statement of Social Security Number to the Court and keep the original with the other original bankruptcy documents and retain this document for four (4) years after the case is closed.
  • Pro se Debtors:  You must provide the original Amended Statement of Social Security Number to the Court.  We will attach this document to your electronic case record and place the original in your case file but neither the original nor the electronic version of the document will be available for public viewing.
  • Notifying Creditors and Parties in Interest:  Pursuant to Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1009(c), the debtor (pro se) or debtor’s attorney shall promptly notify each entity included on Schedules D, E, F, G and H of the correct Social Security Number(s).  A truncated or redacted copy of this notice showing only the last four digits of the Social Security Number should be filed with the Court.
Most of the information needed to complete the bankruptcy forms comes from the debtor’s own personal records.  Other information needed to complete some of the forms, for  example the official poverty lines as it relates to your family size for the Application for Waiver of Chapter 7 Filing Fee (Official Form B 3B) or the applicable median family income for the Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income (Official Form B 22A-1) or Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation (Official Form B 22A-2), comes from other U.S. government agencies such as the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

This information is available through the website of the U.S. Trustee Program or from the individual agency websites.

Payment of Filing Fees


Debtors may pay filing fees by cash (exact amount), money orders or cashier’s checks.  Attorneys may pay filing fees by cash (exact amount), check, money order, cashier’s check or credit card.  Personal checks or credit cards from the debtor, two-party checks, or post-dated checks will not be accepted.
 

Preventing Automatic Dismissal of your Bankruptcy Case (11 U.S.C. § 521(i)(1)):


The following documents must be filed within 45  days of the filing of the petition or the case will be dismissed automatically without hearing or further notice:
  • Creditor Mailing Matrix/List of Creditors
  • Schedules of Assets and Liabilities - Schedules A, B, D, E & F (Official Forms B 6A, 6B, 6D, 6E & 6F)
  • Schedules of Current Income & Expenditures - Schedules I & J (Official Forms B 6I & B 6J)
  • Statement of Financial Affairs (Official Form B 7)
  • Certificate pursuant to § 342(b), if applicable (See forms B 201A Clerk’s Notice and B 201B (Certificate) linked here and also available on the forms page of the U.S. Court’s Website) - When the debtor is represented by legal counsel, the attorney’s signature on Exhibit B (page 2) of the Voluntary Petition certifies compliance with this provision
  • Copies of all payment advices (e.g., earnings statements, pay stubs, etc.) or other evidence of payment received within 60 days before the filing of the petition
  • Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income (Official Form B 22A-1) and Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation (Official Form B 22A-2)
  • A statement disclosing any reasonable anticipated increase in income or expenditures over the 12-month period following the date of the filing of the petition.  This information can be provided in item #17 of Schedule J.

The Trustee & the 341 Meeting of Creditors


Within ten (10) business days of the filing of a bankruptcy petition with creditor matrix, the court will issue a “Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines.”  This notice is sent to all creditors listed on the creditor matrix to inform them of the bankruptcy case filing.  It also advises the debtor and the creditors of the date, time and location of the § 341 Meeting of Creditors (also known as the “341 Meeting”) and the deadlines by which creditor’s objections to discharge or dischargeability of certain debts must be made.  (11 U.S.C. § 341).

Debtors should read the notice carefully to ensure the accuracy of name(s), address(es), and Social Security or Tax Identification Number(s) as well as to determine where and when to attend the 341 Meeting.

Debtors must present a form of photo identification at the 341 Meeting as well as verification of his or her Social Security Number. (11 U.S.C. § 521(h)).  If these items are not provided, the meeting may have to be rescheduled to another date.  The debtor’s failure to attend the Meeting of Creditors (including both husband and wife in joint cases) could result in dismissal of the party who did not attend (in joint cases) or dismissal of the entire case.

The 341 Meeting is conducted by an impartial case or panel trustee appointed by the Assistant U.S. Trustee, an officer of the U.S. Department of Justice, to administer the case and liquidate the debtor’s non-exempt assets.  At the 341 Meeting, the debtor(s) will be placed under oath and both the trustee and any creditors in attendance may ask questions regarding the debtor’s acts, conduct, property, financial records or bankruptcy case documents, and the administration of the case.

Within seven (7) days prior to the date set for the § 341 Meeting of Creditors, individual (non-business) debtors must provide to the trustee (not the Court) a copy of the Federal Income Tax Return (or transcript of the return) for the most recent year ending before filing bankruptcy.  (11 U.S.C. § 521(e)(2)).  Do not file this document with the court unless you are specifically requested to.

The name and contact information for the trustee assigned to the bankruptcy case is provided on the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors & Deadlines.

Assistant U.S. Trustee for the Northern District of Florida
Charles F. Edwards
110 E. Park Ave., Ste. 128
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 521-5055
http://www.justice.gov/ust/r21
Charles.Edwards@usdoj.gov

Chapter 7 Panel Trustees
Theresa M. Bender
P.O. Box 14557
Tallahassee, FL 32317
(850) 205-7777
tmbenderch7@yahoo.com
Mary W. Colón
P.O. Box 14596
Tallahassee, FL 32317
(850) 437-5577
mcolon@7trustee.net
Karin A. Garvin
1801 W. Garden St.
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 437-5577
trustee@kgarvinlaw.com
Sherry F. Chancellor
619 W. Chase St.
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 436-8445
sherry.chancellor@yahoo.com
John E. Venn, Jr.
220 W. Garden St., Ste. 603
Pensacola, FL 32502
(850) 438-1881
johnvenntrustee@aol.com
 
The Assistant U.S. Trustee and his staff are employees of the U.S. Department of Justice.  Although they, nor the panel trustees or their staffs are employees of the Federal Judiciary or the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida, their contact information is located here and on the Contact Us page of this website for your convenience. 

Reaffirmation Agreements


Debtors may choose to “reaffirm” certain debts.  A reaffirmation is an agreement between the debtor and the creditor which states the debtor will remain liable for the debt and will repay all or a portion of the money owed, even though the debt would otherwise be discharged in the bankruptcy.  In return, the creditor agrees that it will not repossess or take back the property so long as the debtor continues to pay the debt. 
Reaffirmation agreements must be signed by all parties (the debtor(s), debtor’s attorney, if applicable, and the creditor) and filed with the court before entry of the discharge.  A court hearing will be held when a reaffirmation agreement is filed by a pro se debtor (those without attorney representation), those debtors whose calculations contained within the reaffirmation agreement determine that the reaffirming the debt will cause undue hardship, or those debtors whose attorney has advised against reaffirming the debt.
The Reaffirmation Agreement (Official Form B 240 A/B ALT) and Reaffirmation Agreement Cover Sheet (Official Form B 27) are available on the Bankruptcy Forms page of the U.S. Courts website.

Discharge of Debts in a Chapter 7 Case (11 U.S.C. § 727)


The discharge releases individual debtor responsibility from repayment of most debts and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any collection action against the debtor.  Debtors should be aware that the discharge is subject to many exemptions.  Some of the debts which are not discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case are:
  • most taxes;
  • debts incurred to repay non-dischargeable taxes;
  • debts for alimony and child support (domestic support obligations);
  • most student loans;
  • most fines, penalties, forfeitures or criminal restitution obligations;
  • money obtained through filing false financial statements;
  • debts for willful and malicious injury to person or property;
  • debts for death or personal injury caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft while the debtor was intoxicated;
  • debts which were not properly listed by the debtor in the bankruptcy schedules;
  • debts that the bankruptcy court specifically decided are not to be discharged;
  • debts for which the debtor has given up the discharge protections by signing a reaffirmation agreement in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code requirements for reaffirmation of debts; and
  • 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.
Questions regarding dischargeability of debts should be directed to a competent attorney who is familiar with the bankruptcy laws.

Potential Delay or Denial of Discharge


The court will delay or withhold the discharge for the following reasons, as applicable:
  • Failure to file a Debtor’s Certification of Completion of Post-Petition Instructional Course Concerning Personal Financial Management (Official Form B 23).  If a joint petition is filed, each spouse must complete and file a separate certification.
  • The debtor(s) received a discharge within the prior four (4) years if filing a chapter 7, 11 or 12, or within the prior two (2) years if filing a chapter 13.
  • Failure to file the required certifications regarding domestic support obligations.
  • A Motion to Delay discharge is pending, including those related to 11 U.S.C. §§ 522(q)(1), 727(a)(12), 1141(d)(5)(c), 1228(f), the filing of tax returns under 521(f)(f), and Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(8).
  • Failure to pay the filing fee (unless waived by the court).
  • A hearing is pending concerning a reaffirmation agreement in which undue hardship is indicated.
  • Failure to file a statement as required under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 1007(b)(8), if applicable, or if the statement declares that:
    • There is NO pending proceeding in which the debtor may be found guilty under § 522(q)(1)(A) or found liable for a debt in § 522(q)(1)(B), a discharge cannot be provided earlier than thirty (30) days after the filing of the statement.  If a related Motion to Delay Discharge is filed prior to the thirty (30) days, the discharge will not be entered pending direction to be provided via resolution of the motion.
    • There IS a pending proceeding in which the debtor may be found guilty under § 522(q)(1)(A) or found liable for a debt in § 522(q)(1)(B), the discharge will not be entered pending direction to be provided via the resolution of the pending proceedings and any related motions.

Credit Rating & Reports


The court is not responsible for credit reports or the information reported by credit bureaus.  Bankruptcy records are public record and the information contained in them can be retrieved by anyone.  Additionally, the Fair Credit Reporting Act allows credit bureaus to keep a bankruptcy on your credit record for up to ten (10) years from the date of discharge (not the date of the filing of the case).  Any disputes you have with a credit reporting agency must be resolved by you and that agency.


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.