Important Information You Must Know Before Filing a Bankruptcy Petition
BEFORE YOU FILE FOR BANKRUPTCY, YOU MUST OBTAIN CREDIT COUNSELING AND INCLUDE AN OFFICIAL CREDIT COUNSELING CERTIFICATE WITH YOUR PETITION. CLICK HERE TO VIEW APPROVED CREDIT COUNSELING AGENCIES.
It is very important that you comply with this provision of the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Your failure to obtain credit counseling BEFORE you file for bankruptcy will result in the dismissal of your case. If your case is dismissed, you may not be allowed to file another petition for 180 days. If you file another case within one year of the dismissal, the protection provided by the Bankruptcy Code may be limited. Please be aware that it is very difficult to obtain credit counseling after your petition is filed. There are specific exceptions to the credit counseling requirement as set forth in 11 U.S.C. §109(h)(4).
The legal term for a debtor in bankruptcy who is not represented by an attorney is “pro se”. If you still wish to proceed pro se, the following Question and Answer guide is meant to provide general guidance. It is not a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel and cannot be cited as legal authority. This guide should be read in its entirety so that you are aware of the many requirements and deadlines that arise in the bankruptcy process.
For descriptions of the four chapters of bankruptcy available to individual consumer debtors, click here for the Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Bankruptcy Form 101).
There are links throughout this document to information that may be needed during a bankruptcy case, including required forms and rules. All of the links are also available through our website at www.njb.uscourts.gov.