What is a Bankruptcy Court?

3,339 families filed bankruptcy using Upsolve.

Written by Kristin Turner.  
Updated June 4, 2019

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What is a Bankruptcy Court?

Are you struggling with debts that you cannot pay? Have you wondered if the bankruptcy court can help you get rid of your debts? Are you considering filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case? If so, Upsolve may be able to help.

Overwhelming debt affects millions of people in America. Credit card bills, medical debts, student loans, income taxes, and personal loans are just a few of the debts that keep people awake at night. The bankruptcy court might be able to help.

If you are struggling with debt, filing a bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court can give you the debt relief you need to get a fresh start. Your bankruptcy case may get rid of all your unsecured debts so that you can truly have a fresh start to recover after a financial crisis.

However, the first step is to learn more about the bankruptcy court and how to file for bankruptcy relief.

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What Cases Does the Bankruptcy Court Handle?

The bankruptcy court handles all chapters of bankruptcy filed in the United States. There are bankruptcy courts in all 50 states. Some states are divided into several districts to make it more convenient for individuals to file bankruptcy cases and attend hearings.

The bankruptcy court administers and oversees the cases and maintains the records for each case. When you file your bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court, you file the bankruptcy forms with the Clerk of Court.

In most jurisdictions, the Clerk of Court assigns the trustee that administers your bankruptcy case and schedules the First Meeting of Creditors.

In some states, the bankruptcy hearing is held at the bankruptcy court. However, there are some jurisdictions that hold hearings at another location. The bankruptcy information provided by the bankruptcy court contains the hearing date and hearing location for the First Meeting of Creditors.

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Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases

Most bankruptcy cases filed with the bankruptcy court are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is a liquidation bankruptcy case while a Chapter 13 case is a repayment plan.

The bankruptcy court issues notices in the bankruptcy case. However, you may be required to mail some of the notices to creditors. Upsolve provides guidance if you file Chapter 7 without an attorney to help you understand if you need to mail any notices to your creditors. In most Chapter 7 cases, the bankruptcy court mails all required notices to creditors and other parties.

It is important to note that a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is much more difficult to file because it is a repayment plan. The bankruptcy forms for a Chapter 13 case are more complex than the bankruptcy forms for a Chapter 7 case.

Upsolve assists individuals with low income file for Chapter 7 relief. If you meet the income requirements for a Chapter 7 case, you can get rid of most, if not all, of your unsecured debts by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge prevents creditors from collecting any debts that are discharged in your bankruptcy case. In other words, you never have to worry about repaying a discharged debt.

If filing a Chapter 7 case with the bankruptcy court sounds like the solution for you, we want to help. Upsolve is a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist individuals file Chapter 7 without an attorney. Our services are provided to you at no cost.

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Will the Bankruptcy Court Take My Property?

The bankruptcy court does not take your property. In a Chapter 7 case, a Chapter 7 trustee is appointed by the bankruptcy court to administer your case. The Chapter 7 trustee analyzes your property to determine if any non-exempt equity exists that he can use to pay your unsecured creditors.

If any of your property has equity that is not exempt, the Chapter 7 trustee may sell the property and use the funds to pay your unsecured creditors. However, most debtors do not have any equity in property that is not protected by bankruptcy exemptions.

State and federal bankruptcy exemptions protect property from the Chapter 7 trustee and your creditors. Whether you use federal or state bankruptcy exemptions depends on the state in which you live.

Therefore, most Chapter 7 cases filed in the United States are no-asset cases. A no-asset case means that you keep all your property while getting rid of your debts.

The first step in determining if a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is the best way for you to protect your property and get out of debt is to begin the Upsolve process. If you need a fresh start, click here to begin Upsolve’s free bankruptcy process.

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How Many Times Will I Have to Go to Bankruptcy Court?

In a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you only need to attend the First Meeting of Creditors. If there are no issues in your bankruptcy case, your case should proceed to a discharge without you attending any other bankruptcy court hearings.

However, to receive your bankruptcy discharge, you must complete both bankruptcy courses and file certificates of completion with the bankruptcy court. The pre-bankruptcy course, the Credit Counseling Course, must be finished first. You must file the certificate of completion with your bankruptcy forms when you file the forms with the bankruptcy court.

The second bankruptcy course, the Debtor Education Course, is taken after you file your bankruptcy petition. If you do not complete the second course and file the certificate with the bankruptcy court before the deadline provided by the bankruptcy court, you will not receive your bankruptcy discharge.

If you do not receive a bankruptcy discharge, you still owe all the debt that you owed when you filed your bankruptcy forms. Therefore, it is very important that you complete the second bankruptcy course and file the certificate of completion with the bankruptcy court.

Upsolve works with a company that provides both bankruptcy classes for a minimal fee. Some debtors can waive the fee if they meet certain income requirements.

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Are You Ready to File Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case With the Bankruptcy Court?

If you are ready to get a fresh start, we want to help. We try to make the process as simple as possible. You can get started with Upsolve, a Harvard Law School-grown nonprofit, by providing your email address and clicking one button. We provide Chapter 7 bankruptcy services at no cost to low-income individuals. Watch past users who have started on the road to a debt-free life with the help of Upsolve.

You can stop creditor harassment and stop wage garnishment by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. There are many reasons why someone may need the help provided by the bankruptcy court. If you need debt relief, discover how filing a Chapter 7 case can help you.

Do not let the fact that you cannot afford an attorney stop you from seeking bankruptcy relief. While hiring a bankruptcy attorney is a good idea when you can afford an attorney’s help, we want you to know that you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case even if you cannot afford to pay a bankruptcy attorney for assistance.

You can do this! You can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. We can help!

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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. Spun out of Harvard Law School, 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.


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