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Motion to Reopen

Official Procedure Last Change November 12, 2020

Motion to Reopen Case

How to file:

Location of event: Bankruptcy > Motions, Applications & Briefs(link is external) > Reopen Bankruptcy Case, Motion to

Things to be aware of when filing: There is no need to reopen a closed bankruptcy case in order to file a reaffirmation agreement on that case, unless a court order and/or hearing will be needed, nor to redact a document already filed on the case (for example, by filing a Motion to Redact).

  • 11 USC 350(b); 28 USC 1930(a)
  • FRBP 4007(b), 5010

General Information

  • A case may be reopened to administer additional assets, to accord relief to the debtor, or for other cause.
  • In a chapter 7, 12, or 13 case, a trustee shall not be appointed by the U.S. Trustee unless the court determines that a trustee is necessary to protect the interests of creditors and the debtor or to insure efficient administration of the case.
  • Pleadings that set a deadline (or that can set a deadline depending on the circumstances) cannot be filed until the Motion to Reopen has been granted. View list of such events
  • There is no need to reopen a closed bankruptcy case in order to file a reaffirmation agreement on that case, unless a court order and/or hearing will be needed.
  • There is no need to reopen a closed bankruptcy case in order to care for an administrative matter, for example, redacting a document already filed on the case (for example, by filing a Motion to Redact), requesting payment of unclaimed dividends, or filing a Motion for Proceedings Supplemental.

Filing requirements 

Fee Information

  • A reopening fee applies, except for the instances listed below.
  • If the Motion to Reopen is denied, the Court may direct the refund of any fees paid with the Motion.
  • The trustee may defer the reopening fee.
  • There is no reopening fee:
    • if the case is reopened to file an action related to the debtor's discharge, for instance, to file a complaint to obtain a determination of dischargeability of a debt other than under 11 U.S.C. 523(c) (note that this exemption is inapplicable to cases closed or dismissed because the debtor failed to certify it underwent the required debtor education course);
    • if the petition to reopen seeks to correct an administrative error;
    • if the judge enters an order waiving the fee;
    • if an order has previously been entered waiving the initial filing fee on a Chapter 7 case (i.e., case is flagged IFP);
    • if the Motion is filed by a US Government agency e.g. the U.S. Trustee.


Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Log into CM/ECF.

2. Select Bankruptcy > Motions, Applications & Briefs.

3. Enter case number (in the format xx-xxxxx) and click Next.

4. Select Reopen Bankruptcy Case, Motion to from the event list and click Next.

5. Select appropriate radio button to indicate whether or not the Motion you are filing is amended.

6. Check box if jointly filing with another attorney. Click Next.

7. If you indicated that you are filing jointly with other attorney(s), select additional attorney(s) and click Next.

Note: You cannot add attorneys. Only attorneys who have previously entered an appearance will be available for selection.

8. Select the party filer. If the party is not listed, or cannot be selected, view instructions on adding a new party. ClickNext.

Note: The "Attorney/Party Association” screen may appear. If your party selection was correct, check the box to create an association and click Next.

9. Browse to select the document to be filed (pdf file). Click Next.

10. A message about filing fees is displayed.  If the fee is not necessary, the filing party must e-mail the court prior to paying the fee and ask that the fee be removed. If the case is a chapter 7 or 13 and the motion is filed by the trustee, the trustee may defer the fee. Click Next.

11. Fee amount is displayed. Click Next.

12. If the case was filed prior to October 12, 2004, a  message is displayed stating that the filing party may be charged a Retrieval of a record from the Federal Record Center Fee if the file must be retrieved from the Federal Archives. The judge determines if the file is needed. Click Next.

13. If you indicated in step 5 that you are filing an amended motion, all pending motions on the docket are displayed. Select the motion that is being amended and click Next.

14. Select prefix text, if applicable, and click Next.

15. Verify the final docket text; if correct, click Next to submit your document(s).

Note: The Notice of Electronic Filing displays giving you the document number. Copies of this notice are immediately e-mailed to all participants who receive electronic notification in the case.