A bankruptcy case number (sometimes referred to as a docket number) identifies a particular case. It’s assigned when the debtor files the initial paperwork with the court.
The case number allows you, your creditors, the court, or anyone else to access the electronic version of your court file on Pacer (bankruptcy documents are public records). Pacer is the online filing system used by the bankruptcy court.
The first series of numbers will include the year in which you file your case. The clerk assigns the remaining portion of the number in sequential order. For instance, the number will be low if you file early in the year. Letters that designate the assigned judge or the local filing jurisdiction might be assigned, as well.
The case number appears on all documents filed with the court. Not only will it be in the caption (the box at the top of the first page), but the clerk will stamp it in the top margin of the document, too. You can also find it on all notices mailed out by the court.
Once you receive your number, you can complete the post-filing counseling course (debtor education) required of all bankruptcy filers. You won’t be able to take the course without it.