While the information presented below is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from a bankruptcy attorney or legal association. For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules), and the Local Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
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General Frequently Asked Questions
Debtor Frequently Asked Questions
Creditor Frequently Asked Questions
A company has filed for bankruptcy and owes us money. What do we do?
If you have been listed as a creditor in a bankruptcy case, you may file a claim form. If you do not have a claim form, you may pick one up from any Clerk's Office location or download the claim form. Attach any documentation supporting your claim. If filing in person, bring an original plus one copy or two originals. A file-marked copy will be returned to you which should be retained for three (3) years after the case closes. If submitting by mail, include a self addressed, stamped envelope or retain a complete original for three (3) years after the cases closes.
Requests for information regarding when a claim will be paid should be directed to the trustee assigned to the case whose name and telephone number can be found on the 341(a) meeting notice.
Do I have to stand in line?
The Clerk's Offices are all open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. except the Terre Haute Office which is 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. All offices are closed Sat., Sun. and Legal Holidays. To avoid standing in line, it is suggested that you avoid our busiest times of the day, which are 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. and 3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Indianapolis: New Albany:
116 U.S. Courthouse
46 E. Ohio St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
110 U.S. Courthouse
121 West Spring Street
New Albany, IN 47150
Evansville: Terre Haute:
352 Federal Bldg.
101 Northwest Martin L. King Boulevard
Evansville, IN 47708
Terre Haute Federal Building
921 Ohio Street
Terre Haute, IN 47807
Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?
While it is possible to file a bankruptcy case 'pro se,' that is, without the assistance of an attorney, it is extremely difficult to do so successfully. Hiring a competent attorney is highly recommended. For information about referral programs, contact your local bar association.
Does the Court have an off-site copy service? / How do I get certified copies of documents?
The court does not offer an off site copy service.
You may mail a written request, with a photocopy fee of $ .50 cents per page if you know the exact number of pages of the document being requested. If the document number or number of pages is unknown, first you will need to send a written request with a $26.00 search fee. Once you know the docket number and /or the number of pages, then you may mail a written request with a photocopy fee of $0.50 per page.
The fee for certification is $9.00 plus $0.50 a page photocopy fee. The Clerk's office must make the copies in order to do the certification.
A written request should include the case name, case number, filing date, and the title of the specific documents which you wish to have copied. In addition, please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Mail your request to the appropriate Clerk's Office location at which the case was filed, along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for return mailing.
You may also obtain copies at the court for the photocopy fee of $ .50 cents per page or may use a public terminal in the Clerk's office for a printing fee of $.10 per page if the document is in electronic form.
The court accepts payment in the form of cash (exact change required); debit card; a bank cashier's check or money order made payable to: Clerk, United States Bankruptcy Court. No personal checks or credit cards will be accepted from Debtor(s) or Pro Se filers.
How do I file for Relief from the Automatic Stay?
In order for a party to continue a proceeding against the debtor that has been stayed because of the filing of the bankruptcy and the automatic stay, he/she must file with the Bankruptcy Court a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay, or an Agreed Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay.
A Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay is commenced by the filing of a motion. Local Bankruptcy Rule 4001-1 prescribes the procedures for filing a motion for relief from the automatic stay and noticing requirements for the filing party.
The filing fee for a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay is $150.00. The original Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay is required upon filing.
How do I get the Bankruptcy removed from my credit report?
The bankruptcy court has no jurisdiction over credit reporting agencies. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, 6 U.S.C. Section 605, is the law that controls credit reporting agencies. The law states that credit reporting agencies may not report a bankruptcy case on a person's credit report after ten years from the date the bankruptcy case is filed. Other bad credit information is removed after seven years. The larger credit reporting agencies belong to an organization called the Associated Credit Bureaus. The policy of the Associated Credit Bureaus is to remove chapter 11 and chapter 13 cases from the credit report after seven years to encourage debtors to file under these chapters.
You may contact the Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Education Division, Washington, D.C. 20580. The telephone number is (202) 326-2222. That office can provide further information on reestablishing credit and addressing credit problems.
How do I obtain Hearing Information?
The court calendars for each judge are posted weekly on this website. Go to Judges Calendars to view and print.
How do I obtain information (such as debtor's name, attorney, case number, judge assigned to the case and the status) on a case?
There are several ways to obtain case information:
1. Voice Case Information System (VCIS)
VCIS is a free service that allows callers to access case information 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from any touch tone telephone. VCIS can be accessed by calling 800-335-8003 or 317-229-3888. Just follow the voice instructions provided.
2. Internet Access
Electronic case information and documents may be retrieved using a computer on the internet, via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records web site (PACER). For registration information, please call the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856 or go to their web site at http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov. Registered agencies or individuals can access the PACER system for the Southern District of Indiana at http://ecf.insb.uscourts.gov. There is also a national U.S. Party/Case Index available at http://pacer.login.uscourts.gov. A fee of $.08 per page will be assessed.
3. In Person
Public access computers are available for use, at no charge, in the Lobby of Clerk's Office. Bankruptcy documents may be viewed in person and retrieved for printing or copying. There is a per page fee for printing ($0.10) and copy services ($0.50). Exact change is required.
How do I tell which Judge is assigned to my case?
A Bankruptcy case number consists of the location where the case was filed, the 2 digit filing year, type of case, five digit sequence number and the code for the judge assigned to the case.
BHL - Hon. Basil H. Lorch III
AJM - Hon. Anthony J. Metz III
FJO - Hon. Frank K. Otte
JKC - Hon. James K. Coachys
What does the case number tell me?
1 - Indianapolis Division
2 - Terre Haute Division
3 - Evansville Division
4 - New Albany Division
bk - Bankruptcy Case
ap - Adversary Proceeding
mp - Miscellaneous Proceeding
Example: Case 1:09-bk-00001-FJO is a Bankruptcy case filed in the Indianapolis Division in
2009 followed by the five-digit sequence number of 00001 and is assigned to the Honorable
Frank J. Otte.
If I file for bankruptcy, will it stop an eviction?
The Clerk's Office is prohibited by federal statute from providing legal advice. If you have any questions on how a bankruptcy filing affects enforcement of an eviction proceeding, please contact your local county sheriff's department or your legal advisor.
What are the consequences of filing for bankruptcy?
Depending on a debtor's financial situation and reasons for filing, the consequences of filing for bankruptcy protection may outweigh the benefits. Those considering bankruptcy should be aware of the following:
Additional information concerning bankruptcy and filing for bankruptcy may found at the following web site: http://www.uscourts.gov/bankruptcycourts.html
- Filing for bankruptcy protection is not free.
- Not all debts are dischargeable.
Example: Secured creditors retain some rights which may permit them to seize property, even after a discharge is granted. Spousal and child support obligations and most tax debts are not dischargeable.
- Within 14 days of the filing of a bankruptcy petition, schedules of the debtor's assets and liabilities must be filed. Failure to timely file the appropriate schedules will result in dismissal of the bankruptcy.
- If a case is not dismissed and a discharge is entered by the court, the debtor is restricted from obtaining a discharge in another case for a period up to eight years.
- Fraudulent information or acts by the debtor are grounds for denial of a discharge and may be punishable as a criminal offense.
What if I don't agree with an Order entered in a case?
A Notice of Appeal may be filed after an Order or Judgment has been entered in a case. In a Notice of Appeal, the party filing the appeal, the appellant, wishes to reverse the Order or Judgment granted in favor of the other party, the appellee. When an Appeal is filed, the matter is referred to the United States District Court. The filing fee for a Notice of Appeal is $255.00. More information regarding appeals is available by reviewing the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Part VIII.
What is a 341(a) meeting?
Debtors have a duty to appear, testify under oath, and to be questioned by creditors at the 341(a) meeting. This meeting is presided over by the trustee assigned to the case and is held approximately 40 days after the new petition is filed. Failure to appear may result in dismissal of the case. If a continuance or change in the hearing date, time, or location is sought, the trustee assigned to the case must be contacted. Such requests are not filed with the court.
What is a Motion?
A motion is a written formal statement in which the party who is requesting an action, the movant, sets forth the grounds for the action requested. The party against whom the action is requested is the respondent.
What is Electronic Case Filing (ECF)?
ECF was originally developed by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and supports electronic filing of documents and the viewing of case dockets and documents, via the Internet. Our first ECF case was entered on October 12, 2004.
ALL Southern District of Indiana bankruptcy case dockets can be viewed through the Internet with a PACER I.D. and password at http://ecf.insb.uscourts.gov. To register for a PACER I.D. and password, please contact the PACER Service center at 800-676-6856 or visit their web site at http://pacer.uscourts.gov.
If you are unable to utilize your PACER password, please call 1-800-676-6856 (Pacer Center).
If you are an attorney, seeking to file pleadings electronically via CM/ECF, you can request a filing password/account. All information concerning registration for CM/ECF , with the Southern District of Indiana, may found on our website: http://www.insb.uscourts.gov/ or by clicking HERE for a direct link.
What is the Automatic Stay?
An injunction that automatically stops almost all lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments, and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.
What is the Bankruptcy Code?
Created in 1979, the Bankruptcy Code provides help for businesses or persons in financial difficulty in the form of bankruptcy chapters. Chapter 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcies are the most commonly filed chapters. The Bankruptcy Code is available at legal libraries or on the web thru Cornell University Law School.
What is the difference among chapters?
Chapter 7: Often called the 'liquidation chapter,' Chapter 7 is used by individuals, partnerships, or corporations who have no hope for repairing their financial situation. In Chapter 7, the debtor's estate is liquidated under the rules of the Bankruptcy Code. Liquidation is the process through which the debtor's non-exempt property is sold for cash by a trustee and the cash is distributed to creditors.
Chapter 9: Chapter 9 is available only to municipalities, and is a form of reorganization, not liquidation.
Chapter 11: Often called the 'reorganization chapter', Chapter 11 allows corporations, partnerships, and individuals to reorganize, without having to liquidate all assets. In filing a Chapter 11, the debtor presents a plan to creditors which, if accepted by the creditors and approved by the Court, will allow the debtor to reorganize personal, financial or business affairs and again become a financially productive individual or business. Chapter 11 may also be used to sell an entire business....
Chapter 12: Chapter 12 is a reorganization bankruptcy and is similar to Chapter 13, but is available only to "Family Farmers" and "Family Fishermen."
Chapter 13: An individual with a regular income who is overcome by debts, but believes such debt can be repaid within a reasonable period of time, may file under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 13 permits the debtor to file a plan in which the debtor agrees to pay a certain percentage of future income to the Bankruptcy Court for payment to creditors. If the Court approves the plan, the debtor will be under the Court's protection while repaying some of the debts as treated under the plan.
Chapter 15: Chapter 15 is a reorganization bankruptcy and deals specifically with cross-border insolvency: foreign companies with debts in the United States.
Additional information may be found by going to:
What is the function of the U.S. Trustee's Office and where is it located?
The Office of the U.S. Trustee is an Executive Branch agency that is part of the Department of Justice. Its responsibilities include monitoring the administration of bankruptcy cases and detecting bankruptcy fraud. It is also responsible for appointing interim trustees to administer Chapter 7 cases lending support to and overseeing the Debtor-in-Possession in Chapter 11 cases, and appointing a standing trustee in Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 cases.
The individuals appointed by the U.S. Trustee to serve as interim or standing trustees in individual bankruptcy cases changes over time. A current list of trustees may be obtained by contacting the U.S. Trustee's office at the number below. If you wish any additional information regarding either the trustee program in general or interim trustees, you should contact the Office of the U.S. Trustee at:
101 W. Ohio St.. Ste. 1000
Indianapolis, IN 46204
What is the policy on refunds?
Pursuant to the Guide to Judiciary Policy, vol.4.ch.6, filing fees may not be refunded if the filing was in error or the case is dismissed.
The following filing fees may not be refunded if it later appears that the filing of the document incurring the fee was in error.
- Bankruptcy Petition Filing Fee
- Motion/Notice of Conversion Filing Fee
- Motion to Reopen Filing Fee
- Adversary Complaint or Notice of Removal Filing Fee
- Notice of Appeal Filing Fee
- Motion for Relief From Stay or to Modify Stay Filing Fee
- Motion to Compel Abandonment Filing Fee
- The fee for filing any paper where there is not a pending case, to include registering a judgment from another district
- Fee for de-consolidation of a joint case
The following are examples that may be refunded:
Motions for Refund
- The filing fee can be refunded when it is paid and receipted where there is no requirement that a filing fee be paid.
- A refund can be made when an overpayment is received for any of the required statutory filing fees. The court is only entitled to the prescribed amount.
Motions for refunds must be filed with the court, either electronically or in writing. Upon receipt of the motion, the order will be routed to the appropriate judge. If the refund is approved by the judge, a check will be mailed to the requestor, or a credit will be issued to the credit card account if the fee was paid by credit card.
Where can I obtain petition forms?
If hiring an attorney is not possible, debtors can obtain bankruptcy petition forms from legal stationery stores. Forms can also be downloaded online at:
Where do I file?
The Court has multiple divisional offices located throughout the District. Divisional Offices are located in Indianapolis. Terre Haute, Evansville and New Albany. The specific location for filing or reviewing bankruptcy petitions is determined by the debtor's county of residence. A map of the Southern District of Indiana Jurisdiction is available at http://www.insb.uscourts.gov/
Where do I get a copy of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules)?
A copy of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules) is available for review in any Clerk’s Office location and legal libraries. Bankruptcy Rules are not available for purchase from the Court. Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure may be viewed on the internet at: http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frbp/. Local Rules , for the Southern District of Indiana, of Bankruptcy Procedure are available on this web site.
Where do I get a copy of the Local Rules?
Local Rules for the Southern District of Indiana may be downloaded from this site.
Who do I notify about a possible fraudulent filing?
In order to expedite the handling of complaints of criminal violations in the bankruptcy system, the United States Trustee requires that your complaint be submitted in a signed letter, bearing your return address and telephone number to:
Office of the United States Trustee
101 West Ohio Street, Suite 1000
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Upon receipt, your complaint will be reviewed promptly. If the information furnished establishes a reasonable belief that a criminal violation has occurred, the matter will be referred to the United States Attorney. If the United States Attorney deems the matter to hold prosecutorial merit, it will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation. A clearly written statement containing copies of any available documentation will expedite this process.
Submit the following information:
- The bankruptcy case name and file number, together with copies of any pertinent court filings.
- A chronological summary of the matter.
- A narrative of what occurred.
- Names, addresses and telephone numbers (to the extent available) of the subjects and witnesses known to you.
Get more information regarding reporting suspected bankruptcy fraud from the U.S. Trustee's web site at: http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/index.htm
What is an Adversary Proceeding?
An Adversary Proceeding is a lawsuit arising in or related to a bankruptcy case, filed by a party called a "plaintiff" against a party called a "defendant." Adversary Proceedings are initiated by filing a document called a "complaint" with the court to resolve both federal and state law issues. Certain types of disputes cannot be handled by motion in the bankruptcy case, but instead require the commencement of an Adversary Proceeding. Federal Bankruptcy Rule 7001 lists certain types of actions that require an Adversary Proceeding. Adversary Proceedings are governed for the most part by Part VII of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. These rules incorporate most of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and are designed to make practice before the bankruptcy and district courts as similar as possible.
See also Filing an Adversary Complaint.
Is the Bankruptcy Court state or federal?
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court is part of the federal judiciary. Each of the 94 federal judicial districts handles bankruptcy matters, and in almost all districts, bankruptcy cases are filed in the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy cases cannot be filed in state court.
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a set of federal laws and rules that can help individuals and businesses who owe more debt than they can pay. In bankruptcy, the person, corporation, or partnership that owes money is called the debtor. Bankruptcy permits the debtor to work out a plan to repay some or all of the debt, to liquidate assets, or to have some of the debt forgiven (“discharged”) in an effort to obtain a “fresh start”. The bankruptcy laws give the debtor protection and benefits not available outside of bankruptcy, such as requiring that creditors stop all collection efforts while the debtor is in bankruptcy, unless otherwise ordered by the Bankruptcy Court. In bankruptcy, a debtor must make full disclosure of all assets, liabilities, and other financial information, and must either (1) surrender non-exempt (protected) property for liquidation and distribution to creditors, or (2) formulate a plan providing creditors at least as much as they would receive if the assets were liquidated.
May I speak directly with Bankruptcy Judges?
No. Federal law prohibits any "ex parte" contact with the Court in order to preserve the integrity of the Court and to prevent the appearance of any impropriety or allegations of preferential treatment for any party.
What is a certificate of service?
When you file a motion or pleading with the Court, you must file a written statement that you have mailed or delivered a copy of the motion to all interested parties. This is called a certificate of service. You must list the name and address of each person and attorney being served with the motion, and the name of the party each attorney represents, and you, your attorney, or an employee of your attorney must sign the certificate. It is very important to file a certificate of service with your pleadings. The Court may deny your relief if you do not file a certificate of service. Because the service of a pleading is critical to obtain the relief that you request, you are strongly urged to consult a bankruptcy attorney.
What is Credit Counseling?
Credit counseling generally refers to the "individual or group briefing" from a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency that individual debtors must attend prior to filing under any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. There are exceptions to the requirements for certain categories of debtors or exigent circumstances.
The U.S. Trustee's Office provides a list of Approved Credit Counseling Providers.
What is Financial Management?
The "instructional course in personal financial management" in chapters 7 and 13 that an individual debtor must complete before a discharge is entered. There are exceptions to the requirements for certain categories of debtors, exigent circumstances, or if the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator have determined that there are insufficient approved credit counseling agencies available to provide the necessary counseling.
The U.S. Trustee's Office provides a list of Approved Financial Management Course Providers.
What is a discharge?
A discharge is a release of a debtor from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code. (A discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for certain debts known as dischargeable debts and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor to collect the debts. The discharge also prohibits creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the debt, including telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.)
What is a Means Test?
U.S.C. Title 11 Section 707(b)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code applies a “means test” to determine whether an individual debtor’s chapter 7 filing is presumed to be an abuse of the Bankruptcy Code requiring dismissal or conversion of the case (generally to chapter 13). Abuse is presumed if the debtor’s aggregate current monthly income over 5 years, net of certain statutorily allowed expenses is more than (i) $10,000, or (ii) 25% of the debtor’s nonpriority unsecured debt, as long as that amount is at least $6,000.
What is a Reaffirmation Agreement?
An agreement by a chapter 7 debtor to continue paying a dischargeable debt (such as an auto loan) after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral (i.e. the car) that would otherwise be subject to repossession.
Reaffirmation Agreement form.
How do I request copies from an old bankruptcy file? What if a case I am interested in has been sent to the National Archives?
Please contact the Clerk's Office for the Southern District of Indiana at 317-229-3800 for determination of the case's present location and status. If the case was filed electronically, you will be directed to visit the PACER website for viewing and printing Court documents at www.pacer.psc.uscourts.gov. If a case was manually filed and has been sent to the National Archives, the Clerk's Office will give you the Bankruptcy file location numbers. Once you have obtained the file location numbers, you can telephone the National Archives at 773-948-9030 and follow their instructions to get copies of the documents you wish to obtain. You may also visit the web site for the Great Lakes Region at http://www.archives.gov/great-lakes.
Change of address, how do I do it?
The Change of Address must be signed by the filing party. The prior address as well as the corrected address should be included. Without the inclusion of the prior/incorrect address, it may be impossible for the court to determine which address should be changed, in which case the old address will continue to receive notices from the court in addition to the new address.
A Change of Address of a creditor (unless filed by the creditor themselves) must be accompanied by a Certificate of Service showing service of the Notice of Meeting of Creditors and all other documents previously served on all creditors, to the creditor at the new address. If the creditor has already received the Notice of Meeting of Creditorsat their old address, a Statement in Lieu must be filed instead of the Certificate of Service.