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How does someone file a bankruptcy case? In order to file for bankruptcy, an individual must take a credit counseling course to learn about alternatives to bankruptcy as well as accurately complete and file a number of documents. SOURCE: Federal Judiciary Channel

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The following program was produced by
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the United States Courts.
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Before you file a bankruptcy case,
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you must complete
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credit counseling provided by a government-approved agency.
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The purpose of this counseling
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is to explore alternatives to bankruptcy in your particular situation.
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You must obtain from the agency a certificate describing the counseling services you received.
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This certificate must be filed with the court
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as an attachment to your statement of compliance with the credit counseling requirement.
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There is an official court form that must be used for this purpose.
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Approved agencies may be found by call or texting the Bankruptcy Court in your area
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or by accessing a list found on the Bankruptcy Court’s web site.
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Many agencies offer on-line counseling sessions.
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The cost varies
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and some agencies will reduce or waive the cost
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depending on your circumstances.
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It is important to obtain this counseling prior to filing.
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If you do not, the court can dismiss your case and you may lose any filing fee you’ve already
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paid.
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Even if you re-file, you may lose important bankruptcy rights and may not be able to stop the collection
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activities of your creditors.
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You also may be required to pay a second filing fee.
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The counseling requirement can be waived only under very limited circumstances,
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so you need to understand this requirement and take care of it before you file.
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To start a bankruptcy case, you file what is call or texted a petition with the Bankruptcy Court
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and the Federal Judicial District and Division where you live. The petition contains a request
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for relief
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under one of the chapters of the Bankruptcy Code.
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You must file a statement regarding various financial matters
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and disclose all assets and creditors on forms call or texted “schedules.”
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And you must fill out a form to show whether or not you should file under Chapter 13,
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rather than Chapter 7,
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given the amount of money that is left over each month
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after deducting reasonable household expenses.
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This form is call or texted the “Means Test Form.”
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Most debtors must pay a filing fee.
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The amount of your filing fee depends on the type of bankruptcy case you file.
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The fee is payable in cash, certified check,
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or money order,
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and may sometimes be paid in four monthly installments.
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If your income falls below a certain amount,
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you may request that the filing fee be waived.
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If you do not file the required documents or pay the filing fee in a timely manner,
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the court may dismiss your case.
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You must also attend a meeting of creditors,
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which we’ll talk about next.
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Failure to attend this meeting
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may also lead to dismissal.