Opening a Bankruptcy Case

OPEN A BANKRUPTCY CASE

This section demonstrates the steps necessary to open a Chapter 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcy case in CM/ECF.

For a detailed step by step process, begin with the Open BK Case Training Module and then view Steps 1 – 22 of this section.

For quick access to a particular step, the Court has included ‘Quick Links’ which allow the user to jump to that step in the process of opening a bankruptcy case (such as ‘Payment Process.’) HOWEVER, these quick links do not cover each topic related to opening a bankruptcy case. For complete step by step instructions, please consult Steps 1 – 22.

Quick Links
Opening a BK Case (step 1)
Finding and/or Adding Parties (step 4 – step 5)
Filing and Uploading a Matrix (step 8)
Schedules (step 9 – step 10)
Petition and Attached Documents Upload (step 13 – 14)
Payment Process (step 19)

STEP 1: Click on the 'Bankruptcy' link at the top of the CM/ECF menu bar.

STEP 2: When the ‘Bankruptcy Events’ menu displays, click on 'Open a Voluntary BK Case.'

STEP 3: Case Data Screen
1. Chapter: Click on the drop down arrow to select the appropriate chapter.

2. Joint Petition: Select 'y' to indicate this is a joint petition or 'n' to indicate this is not a joint petition. The default setting is 'n' for No, this is not a joint petition.

3. Deficiencies: Select 'y' if you will not be filing ALL the case opening documents today or 'n' if you are filing all the documents. The default setting is 'n' for no deficiencies.

4. Click 'Next' to continue.

STEP 4: Party Search Screen
In order to search for a debtor, you must enter, at a minimum, the first two (2) letters of their last name and the initial of the first name; or the social security number (with the hyphens). The search will not operate properly if the name and Social Security fields are both entered.

• If your party appears after you have searched:
Highlight your party by clicking on the party’s name
Click ‘Select Name From List’
Go to Step 5-2

• If your party is not found after you have searched:
Click on 'Create New Party'
Click 'Next' to continue

STEP 5: New Party Information Screen
1. Enter the information for your party as shown on the Petition. Please include your party’s:

First Name
Last Name (Use this box if entering a company name)
Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number
Mailing Address (Start with Address Line 1 and continue to Address Line 2)
County
Phone
E-mail (If available)

2. Alias: If your party has any aliases, click the 'Alias' button at the bottom of your screen. The Alias Information Screen will appear, please enter:

Last Name
First Name
Role: Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of options. Choose the appropriate role type for each alias.

NOTE: You may enter up to 5 aliases on a single Alias Information Screen. If you wish to enter more than 5, fill out the first 5 aliases on a single Alias Information Screen. Then click 'Submit.' Repeat the process, as necessary.

3. Corporate/Parent Affiliate: If your party has a corporate or parent affiliate, click the 'Corporate/Parent Affiliate' button. Type in the party's corporate or parent business name and click 'Submit.'

4. Review: Click the ‘Review’ button to review parties, aliases, and corporate/parent affiliates information.

5. Click ‘Submit.’ NOTE: A pop up window will appear notifying you of each section that has not been filled in or completed.

STEP 6: The Divisional Offices Screen will appear. The D.C. Bankruptcy Court has a single divisional office. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

For Chapter 11 petitions, go to Step 7A.

For Chapter 7 and 13 petitions, go to Step 7B.

STEP 7A: The Statistical Data Screen (Modified for Chapter 11)
Small Business: Click on the drop down arrow to see a list of options. Click ‘n’ to indicate the debtor is not a small business, or click ‘y’ to indicate the debtor is a small business.

Plans: You will be given a checklist with options. Check the box next to ‘Plan’ if a plan is being filed with the Petition. Check the box next to ‘Acceptance of Plan’ if you have already solicited acceptances to the plan.

Go to Step 7B.

STEP 7B: The Statistical Data Screen
1. Prior Filings:
If your party had any prior bankruptcy filings within the last 8 years:
Click on the ‘Prior Filings’ drop down arrow
Click ‘Yes’ to indicate any bankruptcy filings less than eight years ago.

If your party does not have any prior bankruptcy filings, skip this drop down as the default setting in ‘no’.

2. Fee Status: You must select your payment option.
Click on the ‘Fee Status’ drop down arrow to display the payment options.

For Chapter 7 petitions, your payment options should list:
• Paid (default setting) = I intend to pay the entirety of the filing fee.
• Installments = I intend to pay the filing fee in installments. You will need to submit the application to pay filing fees in installments and be representing an INDIVIDUAL DEBTOR.
• IFP Filing Fee Waived = I intend to file an application to waive the filing fee. This option is only available to INDIVIDUAL DEBTORS.

For Chapter 11 and 13 petitions, your payment options should list:
• Paid (default setting) = I intend to pay the entirety of the filing fee.
• Installments = I intend to pay the filing fee in installments. You will need to submit the application to pay filing fees in installments and be representing an INDIVIDUAL DEBTOR.

3. Nature of Debt: Select Business or Consumer, as appropriate.

4. Asset Notice: For Chapter 7 petitions, the default setting is ‘no.’ Leave as is. For Chapter 11 or 13 petitions, select ‘yes.’

5. Estimated Number of Creditors: Click the ‘Estimated Number of Creditors,’ drop down arrow to reveal the list of options. Click on the option displaying the appropriate number of creditors from the petition.

6. Estimated Assets: Click the ‘Estimated Assets,’ drop down arrow to reveal the list of options. Click on the option displaying the appropriate assets from the petition.

7. Estimated Liabilities: Click the ‘Estimated Liabilities,’ drop down arrow to reveal the list of options. Click on the option displaying the appropriate liabilities from the petition.

8. Type of Debtor: Select the appropriate type of debtor from the radio button list.

9. Nature of Business: Select Nature of Business if you are representing a debtor that is not an individual.

10. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 8: Filing A Matrix Screen
Type ‘y’ to indicate yes, you are filing a matrix with this petition or type ‘n’ to indicate no. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 9: Summary of Schedules Screen
If you are filing your schedules at the same time as your petition, you must complete the Summary of Schedules Screen now. Click within each text box to fill in the appropriate information. Once completed, click ‘Next’ to continue. Go to Step 10.

If you are not filing your schedules at this time, click ‘Next’ to continue. Go to Step 10.

STEP 10: Schedules Statistical Information Screen
If you are filing your schedules at the same time as your petition, you must complete the Schedules Statistical Information Screen now.

Once you have completed this screen, click ‘Next’ to continue.

For Chapter 7 and 11 petitions, go to Step 12.

For Chapter 13 petitions, go to Step 11.

If you are not filing your schedules at this time, click ‘Next’ to continue.

NOTE: A pop up window will appear to notify you that you have not completed the schedules section. Click ‘Okay’ to continue.

STEP 11: Summary of Deadlines Screen
For Chapter 13 filings, a summary of deadlines for filing specific documents will appear at this time. Please take note of these deadlines in your records.

Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 12: The Deficiency Checklist Screen
If, at the beginning of ‘Opening Voluntary BK Case’ you selected ‘y’ for Deficiencies, The Deficiency Screen will display a checklist of documents. If ‘n’ was selected, skip to Step 13.

Check the box to the left of each document you are not filing with your petition at this time. NOTE: There is a checkbox option for Schedules A - J, only select this option if you are not filing the entirety of Schedules A - J.

Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 13: Petition PDF Upload Screen
On this screen, you will be uploading your petition to the CM/ECF database.

CM/ECF only accepts documents saved as PDFs. For information on converting Word or Word Perfect files to PDF, visit Technical Tips.

CM/ECF can support up to 5 MB per file.

1. Click ‘Browse’ to open the browse pop-up window.

2. Find your petition in the browsing pop-up window.

3. Click on the petition to select it.

NOTE: The NEF will display the name of the petition PDF, as it appears at this time. For example, a petition that is saved as ‘Petition5.pdf’ on your computer will be displayed in the NEF as ‘Petition5.’ Please label petitions in an appropriate way.

4. Click ‘Open’ to select the petition.

If you are attaching any documents to your petition:
A. Click the ‘Yes’ radio button located directly below the ‘Browse’ button.
B. Click ‘Next’ to continue. Go to Step 14.

The following documents should NOT be filed as attachments to the voluntary petition: Statement of Social Security Number, Employee Income Records, Chapters 7 Statement of Monthly Income (Means Test) and Chapter 11 or 13 Plans.

If you are not attaching any documents to your petition, click ‘Next’ to continue. Go to Step 15.

STEP 14: Attached Files Upload Screen
If you selected ‘Yes’ to attachments, you will now be prompted to upload the additional file you wish to attach to your petition.

1. Click the ‘Browse’ button to open the browse pop-up window.

2. Find your additional file in the browsing pop-up window.

3. Click on the additional file to select it.

4. Click ‘Open’ to upload the additional file.

5. Category: Click the ‘Category’ drop down arrow to reveal the list of options. Select the appropriate category for the additional file.

6. Description: Click in the ‘Description’ text box and type a description of the additional file if desired.

Note: You may complete one field or both fields. HOWEVER, you cannot leave both fields blank.

7. Click the ‘Add to List’ button once you have completed the Category and/or Description fields.

8. Repeat this process for each additional document you wish to file with your petition.

9. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 15: Summary of Deadlines/Proof of Claim Screens
For Chapter 7, 11, and 13 petitions, a summary of deadlines for filing specific documents will appear at this time. Please take note of these deadlines in your records.

Click ‘Next’ to continue.

• For Chapter 7 and 11 filings, an additional screen will now appear. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 16: Filing Fee Information Screen
The filing fee information screen will now appear.

If you selected ‘Paid’ in Step 7, you will be notified that the entirety of the filing fee is due upon completing your petition filing.

If you selected ‘Installments’ in Step 7, you may now change your installment payment amount in the text box available. Click in the text box and type the amount of your installment payment.

Click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 17: Modifying Docket Text Screen
If you would like to enhance the text:
Click in the text box and begin typing.
Click ‘Next’ to continue.

If you do not wish to add to the text, click ‘Next’ to continue.

STEP 18: Final Docket Text Screen
You will now have the opportunity to look over and verify the final docket text. If your filing looks good, click ‘Next’ to continue; otherwise click the back arrow at the top of the browser screen to go back and correct any information.

STEP 19: Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing Screen & Payment Screen
At this time, two screens will appear: The Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing Screen and the Filing Fee Payment Screen.

The Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing Screen with the case number will be displayed in the background. Click on this screen and print it as a confirmation if desired.

The Filing Fee Payment Screen will be displayed as a pop-up window in the foreground. NOTE: If you do not see a pop-up payment window at this time, please disable your pop-up blocker and see the directions below in the section 'If you have additional filings to complete' for directions on how to pay the fee.

To pay your filing fees now: click the ‘Pay Amount Due Now’ button on the pop-up window. Go to Step 20.

If you have additional filings to complete: click ‘Continue Filing’ and pay your filing fee after you have completed all your electronic filing for the day. You can pay your filing fees by clicking the ‘Utilities’ link at the top of the CM/ECF menu bar, 'Internet Fees Due,' and follow Steps 20 – 23. You have 24 hours from the time of filing to pay all filing fees. If payment has not been received after 24 hours, you will be locked out of filing until the sum is paid.

STEP 20: Payment Screen Continued
A summary of current charges appears, displaying the date incurred, description, and amount of each filing fee.

1. Check the box for the fees you wish to pay at this time.

2. Click ‘Next’ to continue.

3. Click ‘Pay Now’ to continue.

STEP 21: Enter Payment Information Screen
You will now be prompted to enter your payment information. Payment can be completed by check, debit card, or credit card. NOTE: For check payments, you will need your bank routing and account numbers.

The cardholder name, address, and zip code will be retrieved from your CM/ECF account and copied into the appropriate fields. These fields are mandatory. If they are not correct, please visit the Maintain Your User Account section to learn how to modify your CM/ECF account information.

Click 'Continue With Plastic Card Payment' or 'Continue With ACH Payment' as appropriate.

STEP 22: Payment Summary and Authorization Screen
For an email confirmation and receipt, click in the email text box and type the email address where you wish to send a confirmation of payment.

Check the ‘Authorizing Payment’ checkbox located directly above the ‘Submit Payment’ button. NOTE: You will not be able to submit your payment until you have checked the box authorizing the payment.

Click ‘Submit Payment’ to complete the transaction.

When the transaction is complete, you will have the opportunity to print a receipt of the transaction.