How to Get and File the Bankruptcy Forms

Learn where to find the official bankruptcy forms, how to find out about local forms and requirements, and where to file your forms.

By , Attorney · University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

You can find copies of the official bankruptcy forms needed to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy on the United States Courts Bankruptcy Forms webpage. You can print out blank copies or fill out and download the forms.

The complete forms package is known as the "bankruptcy petition" and consists of a "voluntary petition," financial "schedules," a course completion certification, and more.

Which Bankruptcy Forms Do I Need?

You'll notice the bankruptcy court lists all the bankruptcy forms on a single page without organizing them by bankruptcy chapter. Here's where you'll find listings of the forms you'll need in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the forms you'll use in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Local Bankruptcy Forms and Requirements

In addition to the official forms that every bankruptcy court uses, your local bankruptcy court might require you to file local forms. Your local bankruptcy court might also have special requirements or rules for filing your petition.

You can get local bankruptcy form information from the bankruptcy court clerk, a bankruptcy attorney near you, or your local bankruptcy court's website. Many courts provide guidelines on the navigation bar under "Forms" or "Filing Without an Attorney."

Use the Federal Court Finder tool to find your local bankruptcy court's website or location.

Filing the Bankruptcy Forms

If a bankruptcy lawyer represents you, your attorney will prepare the bankruptcy petition for your review and signature before filing it electronically with the court.

If you represent yourself, you should contact your local bankruptcy court for filing instructions or consult the court's website. You might need to file the bankruptcy forms in person, by mail, or through a court dropbox. Also, some courts have a pilot project that allows debtors to file electronically. More courts might be adding this feature in the future.

You'll also want to find out how many copies you'll need to file along with the original, the order the forms should be in, and other requirements, such as whether you should staple, hole-punch, or paperclip your documents, and if you'll need to include a stamped, self-addressed return envelope.

Filing in the Right Bankruptcy Court

Federal bankruptcy courts are all over the country and divided into judicial districts. Every state has at least one judicial district but most have more. You can file in either:

  • the district where you have been living for the greater part of the 180-day period before you file, or
  • the district where you are domiciled, that is, where you maintain your home, even if you have been living elsewhere temporarily (such as on a military base).

You might have additional filing options if you own a business or have substantial assets somewhere other than where you live. In both situations, you'll want to consult with a local bankruptcy attorney.

For specific information about bankruptcy filing and procedure, see Bankruptcy Information for Your State.

Need More Bankruptcy Help?

Did you know Nolo has been making the law easy for over fifty years? It's true—and we want to make sure you find what you need. Below you'll find more articles explaining how bankruptcy works. And don't forget that our bankruptcy homepage is the best place to start if you have other questions!

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Helpful Bankruptcy Sites

Department of Justice U.S. Trustee Program

United States Courts Bankruptcy Forms

We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer.

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