1. Fill out court forms
To file an emergency bankruptcy, you will need to fill out the following documents:
- Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy: Begins the process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- A copy of the Certificate of Counseling and a copy of the payment plan: You should have received these after completing the required credit counseling course. See a list of approved list of Credit Counseling Agencies here
- A blank sheet of paper that includes the names and addresses of your creditors.
2. File the documents
There is a $335 bankruptcy filing fee.
If you do not have money to pay the court fees, you should also fill out one of the following applications:
- Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments: Asks the court to let you pay the filing fee in installments instead of all at once.
- Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived: Asks the court to waive the filing fee entirely.
Filing these forms should be enough for the bankruptcy clerk to start your bankruptcy case and issue you a case number. This will start the automatic stay, which should stop creditor harassment during your bankruptcy.
Note: You may be allowed to file without a Certificate of Counseling depending on the emergency situation. Make sure that if you file in an emergency situation, you still take steps to complete credit counseling and obtain the certificate of credit counseling after filing. This is risky, so you should Get Legal Help if you are considering it.
Updated: November 2017