The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition

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If you want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must complete a lengthy petition that includes multiple forms and schedules. However, if you are willing to put in the necessary time and research, you can complete a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition on your own. Read on to learn more about what is included in a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.

For more information on bankruptcy forms and filing requirements, see our topic area on Filing for Bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition Forms and Schedules

Most of the paperwork you must complete in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition involves your assets, debts, income, and expenses. Below, we discuss some of the most important forms you will need to fill out. But keep in mind that each bankruptcy district may have its own additional local forms that are required.

To learn more about the forms required, including examples, for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, see How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Voluntary Petition. This form is where you disclose personal and filing information such as your name, address, type of bankruptcy you wish to file, and prior bankruptcies. You also attach your credit counseling certificate as an exhibit to the Voluntary Petition.

Schedule A. You must disclose all of your real property interests on Schedule A.

Schedule B. Schedule B is where you list all of your personal property. There is a specific section for most types of assets such as cash, bank accounts, cars, and household goods. If an asset doesn’t fit into a particular category, there is a section at the end of the form for all other kinds of personal property.

Schedule C. Schedule C is one of the most important forms in your Chapter 7 paperwork. This is where you list and claim your exemptions to protect your property from being taken by the bankruptcy trustee. Prior to filing your case, check your state’s exemption laws (or talk to a bankruptcy attorney) to make sure you can exempt all of your assets. If you can’t exempt an asset, then the trustee can sell it to pay your creditors.

Schedule D. If you have any secured debts (such as a mortgage or car loan), you must list them on Schedule D.

Schedule E. This is where you list any priority debts such as certain tax obligations and back child support and alimony.

Schedule F. This is where you list all of your general unsecured debts such as credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans.

Schedule G. If you have any executory contracts (where the parties still have further obligations to perform) or unexpired leases, you list them on Schedule G.

Schedule H. If you have any codebtors on any of your debts, they must be disclosed here.

Schedule I. Schedule I is where you disclose your employment information and current income.

Schedule J. Schedule J is where you disclose all of your current expenses. Don’t include payments for any debts that will be wiped out by your bankruptcy (such as credit card bills). When looked at together, Schedules I and J make up your current budget information in bankruptcy.

Statement of Financial Affairs. This is a lengthy form where you must disclose information about your financial affairs including gross income from prior years, recent payments to creditors, lawsuits, repossessions, foreclosures, property transfers, and information about your business (if any).

Statement of Intention. If you have any secured debts, this is where you tell the court whether you intend to keep the asset and continue making payments on it or surrender it to the creditor.

Creditor Mailing List (Creditor Mailing Matrix). As part of your bankruptcy petition, you must prepare a list of all your creditors and their mailing addresses. The court uses the Creditor Mailing List to send notice of your case to your creditors. Each bankruptcy court has its own rules and required formatting for the Creditor Mailing List. Contact your local bankruptcy court to learn the requirements in your district.

Statement of Social Security Number. This is the form where you disclose and verify your social security number.

Chapter 7 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation. This form determines whether you qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When you complete this form, you must disclose your average monthly income for the six-month period preceding your bankruptcy as well as the size of your household.

Follow the instructions on the means test to calculate your income and compare it against the median income for a similar household in your state. If your income is below median, you automatically qualify and don’t need to complete the expense portion of the form. But if your income is above median, you must follow further directions and complete the expense portion of the form to see if your disposable income is low enough to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

To learn more, see our topic area on The Means Test and Other Eligibility Issues in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Get Help If You Are Not Comfortable Filing on Your Own

If you don’t understand any of the forms or procedures associated with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, talk to a knowledgeable attorney or legal help clinic in your area. Keep in mind that while you are not required to have an attorney to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must be willing to put in the necessary time and research to file on your own. Not properly researching exemption laws or other bankruptcy requirements can result in the loss of your property or dismissal of your case.

For more information on how to find the right attorney, see Hiring and Working With a Bankruptcy Lawyer.

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