Ready to say goodbye to student loan debt for good? Learn More
2020 Best Invention

4 things you should know about the bankruptcy court system

2 minute read Upsolve is a nonprofit tool that helps you file bankruptcy for free. Think TurboTax for bankruptcy. Get free education, customer support, and community. Featured in Forbes 4x and funded by institutions like Harvard University so we'll never ask you for a credit card. Explore our free tool

In a Nutshell

The bankruptcy court oversees bankruptcy cases filed in the United States. The court maintains the records for all bankruptcy cases.

Written by Attorney Jamie Lee Ruiz
Updated August 9, 2020

Odds are, if you have inquired about filing for bankruptcy, your research has included some mention of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and/or the U.S. District Court and may be wondering what the bankruptcy court does exactly. 

(1) Bankruptcy Court - A Definition

The bankruptcy court is a federal court that oversees all bankruptcy cases filed in the United States. Read a more in-depth definition here.

(2) How does bankruptcy court work?

The bankruptcy court hears both voluntary and involuntary bankruptcy court cases. Depending on the type of bankruptcy the debtor has filed, the bankruptcy court may serve merely an administrative purpose, with the filer, their creditors, and the case trustee moving the case along. The filer’s discharge is an order from the bankruptcy court. If a dispute arises in the case, either between the filer and the trustee or involving another party, the bankruptcy court hears the dispute and makes rulings. Oftentimes, this is accomplished through a “contested matter” handled as part of the administrative bankruptcy proceeding. 

Certain actions the trustee, a creditor, or other interested party may wish to take require the filing of a complaint and a separate lawsuit. This separate lawsuit is called an adversary proceeding. There are some common scenarios when an adversary proceeding would take place. For example, a filer may transfer money to someone, a friend or family member, before filing for bankruptcy so that money is not subject to the bankruptcy. The trustee can sue that family member or friend to get the money back and distribute it to the filer’s creditors. Another instance in which an adversary proceeding would be commenced is when a creditor took funds from a filer towards payment of a debt when the creditor knew that he had been stopped from collecting when the bankruptcy case was filed. In that case, the filer can bring the lawsuit against the creditor.

Upsolve User Experiences

2,192+ Members Online
Ingrid Brown
Ingrid Brown
★★★★★ 1 day ago
Upsolve has helped me so much!!! They saved me thousands of dollars using their services instead of an over priced attorney
Read more Google reviews ⇾
Brandi Bederka
Brandi Bederka
★★★★★ 2 days ago
Thank God for this company! It's not easy having to come to terms with filing bankruptcy, and it's safe to say leading on to making this decision that life hasn't been going your way. But with Upsolve this company shines that little light at the end of the tunnel with how helpful and easy it is to file bankruptcy on your own because truly with this company you are never alone. They are there every step of the way. I am beyond grateful to have discovered Upsolve.
Read more Google reviews ⇾
John Heffernan
John Heffernan
★★★★★ 6 days ago
easiest thing ive ever had to do with or for the governmet regarding paperwork. i was worried that it was going to take weeks and months and i had it all done within 4 days time from start to finish and filed. it was also a matter of 20 minutes at the federal courthouse to file quick and painless the lady at the window was actually thrilled that i used upsolve because she said the people who use it always have zero problems or far and few between... i highly recommend using this sevice.
Read more Google reviews ⇾

(3) Who are some of the bankruptcy court professionals?

In addition to the person filing bankruptcy, other individuals who will play an important role in your bankruptcy case are your case trustee, your bankruptcy judge, and - if you have one - your bankruptcy attorney. Read the full article on bankruptcy court professionals here.

(4) Special Considerations: Bankruptcy Court and the United States Trustee

The United States Trustee Program is a division of the Department of Justice. It’s mission is to promote efficiency and protect the integrity of the Federal bankruptcy system. Except in Alabama and North Carolina, the United States Trustee appointed for the region is notified of all bankruptcy proceedings filed in the bankruptcy court. 

The United States Trustee through its staff attorneys, can appear in any bankruptcy proceeding. They oversee the Chapter 7 panel trustees and organize the committee for unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 cases. However, the United States Trustee is limited to advocating for the interests it represents in front of the bankruptcy court. The ultimate decision making authority rests firmly with the bankruptcy judge. 


The bankruptcy court plays an important part in the bankruptcy system but it is not actively involved in every single case. Simple no-asset Chapter 7 cases often require no court involvement at all. In fact, unless they reaffirm a car loan, most Chapter 7 filers never even have to step foot in a courtroom. 

Written By:

Attorney Jamie Lee Ruiz


Jamie L. Ruiz, J.D., M.B.A. is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and the State of New Jersey. Ms. Ruiz is also admitted to the federal bar in both the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. Ms. Ruiz currently operates a solo law practice concentrating on traf... read more about Attorney Jamie Lee Ruiz

It's easy to get help

Choose one of the options below to get assistance with your bankruptcy:

Free Web App

Take our screener to see if Upsolve is right for you.

Take Screener
13,104 families have filed with Upsolve! ☆

Private Attorney

Get a free bankruptcy evaluation from an independent law firm.

Find Attorney

Learning Center

Research and understand your options with our articles and guides.

Go to Learning Center →

Already an Upsolve user?

Read Support Articles →

Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can't access their basic rights when they can't afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we're fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.