Emergency Bankruptcy Filing

If you need to file for bankruptcy quickly, you can file several forms to start, and the rest within 14 days. This is called an emergency bankruptcy.

If you want to file for bankruptcy in a hurry to get an automatic stay, you can accomplish that (in most places) by filing Form 1—Voluntary Petition, the Mailing Matrix, and Form 21 (Statement of Social Security Number). This is often referred to as an emergency bankruptcy.

Some courts also require you to file a cover sheet and an Order Dismissing Chapter  7 Case, which will be processed if you don’t file the rest of your papers within 14 days. (Bankruptcy Rule 1007(c).) If the bankruptcy court for your district requires this form, you can get it from the court (possibly on its website), a local bankruptcy attorney, or a bankruptcy petition preparer.

Why You Might File an Emergency Bankruptcy

An emergency bankruptcy filing might be necessary if you need the protection of the automatic stay right away, and cannot wait to complete the majority of the bankruptcy forms. To learn more about the automatic stay, see Bankruptcy's Automatic Stay.

Filing the Rest of the Bankruptcy Forms

If you don’t follow up by filing the additional documents within 14 days, your bankruptcy case will be dismissed. You can file again, if necessary. You’ll have to ask the court to keep the automatic stay in effect once 30 days have passed after you file.

Steps in an Emergency Bankruptcy Filing

For an emergency filing, follow these steps:

Step 1: Check with the court to find out exactly what forms must be submitted for an emergency filing.

Step 2: Fill in Form 1—Voluntary Petition, including Exhibit D.

Step 3: On a Mailing Matrix (or whatever other form is required by your court), list all your creditors, as well as collection agencies, sheriffs, attorneys, and others who are seeking to collect debts from you.

Step 4: Fill in the Statement of Social Security Number and any other papers the court requires.

Step 5: File the originals and the required number of copies, accompanied by your fee (or an Application for Payment of Fee in Installments) and a self-addressed envelope with the bankruptcy court. Keep copies of everything for your records.

Step 6: File all other required forms within 14 days. If you don’t, your case will probably be dismissed.

Getting and Completing the Bankruptcy Forms

For a complete list of the forms required in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, see Forms You Must File in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. To learn more about each of those forms, including general information on completing the forms, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.

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