who file bankruptcy, and many of their
creditors, know very little about the
bankruptcy process. The following is
designed to assist the general public
by providing basic answers to some of
the most commonly asked questions. For
additional information, please view
the Court’s General
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process which
allows a person (a “Debtor”),
who owes more money than he or she can
currently repay, to either (1) repay
a portion of the money over time under
Chapter 11, 12, or 13, or (2) have the
entire debt forgiven (“discharged”)
under chapter 7. Under chapter 7, a
Debtor may be required to surrender
assets to a trustee. Bankruptcy is also
available to businesses, corporations,
and partnerships. Even municipal governments
can file bankruptcy (under Chapter 9).
After a Debtor has filed a case (i.e.,
“petition”), creditors must
stop all collection efforts against
the Debtor for a period of time, unless
they get permission from the bankruptcy
court to continue. This protection from
collection efforts is referred to as
the “automatic stay.”
The Bankruptcy Code and Federal Rules
of Bankruptcy Procedure determine which
chapter one is eligible to file, which
debts can be eliminated, how long repayment
must continue, which possessions can
be kept, etc. A Debtor must abide by
these federal laws and rules.
What is the Bankruptcy Code?
The Bankruptcy Code refers to Title
11 of the United States Code (11 U.S.C.
What does the Clerk’s
The Clerk’s Office provides clerical
and administrative support to the court
by processing filed legal documents,
maintaining case-related papers, collecting
authorized fees, sending notices, entering
judgments and orders on the docket,
informing parties of scheduled hearings,
and handling inquires from attorneys
and the general public.
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 of the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Middle
District of Florida.
1. What happens when
a bankruptcy petition is filed?
2. What does a case number
3. Do I need an attorney
to represent me in my bankruptcy case?
4. What is a Pro Se
5. Where can I obtain
the necessary forms for filing bankruptcy?
6. What are the filing
fees for filing bankruptcy?
7. Can the Court waive
the bankruptcy petition filing fee?
8. Why do I need exact
9. What will happen
to my case if I filed bankruptcy before
and failed to pay the entire filing
10. What Chapter is right
must I do before I file my case?
12. What is the difference
between a Chapter 7, 13 & 11?
13. Where can I
get more information about bankruptcy
and bankruptcy procedures? Is there
any place I can get free or inexpensive
legal advice before I file?
14. What services
can a bankruptcy petition preparer provide?
15. How is a debt
classified as secured, unsecured, priority,
do I receive a discharge of my debts?
17. What debts
18. How do I change
or correct information in the petition,
schedules, and statements I already
filed with the Clerk’s Office?
19. What is a bankruptcy
20. How do I obtain
a copy of my discharge?
21. Can a discharge
22. What is the
difference between a discharge being
denied and a debt being declared non-dischargeable?
23. How do I
obtain information about a case?
24. May I review
my case file?
25. Who can I
call if I have a question about a pending
26. Can I view
records through the Internet?
27. How do I
find out who is the trustee assigned
to a case?
28. What is the
role of a Trustee assigned in a chapter
7 or 13 case?
29. What is the
function of the U. S. Trustee?
30. What is a 341(a)
31. If I file for
bankruptcy, will it stop an eviction?
32. How long does
a bankruptcy filing remain on my credit
33. How do I
get a bankruptcy filing removed from
my credit report?
34. What can I
do if I disagree with an order entered
in a case?
35. What is an
adversary proceeding? What do I need
to file when filing an adversary proceeding
with the Court?
36. What can I
do if a creditor keeps trying to collect
money after I have filed bankruptcy?
37. What should
I do if I cannot make my Chapter 13
38. My ex-spouse
has filed bankruptcy. He/she has listed
me as a co-signer on a scheduled debt.
What can I do? Does my divorce decree
39. A company
has filed for bankruptcy and owes us
money. What do we do?
40. How do I access
court dockets by computer?
41. How do I get
admitted to practice before the bankruptcy
42. How do I get
transcripts of court hearings?
43. How do I obtain
a proof of claim form?
44. What is a reaffirmation
45. What is a Motion?
46. How do I obtain
copies or certified copies of documents?
47. How do I get
a hearing date?
48. Who do I notify
about a possible fraudulent filing?
I receive notice from the court via
electronic transmission (i.e.: internet
1. What happens when a bankruptcy
petition is filed?
The commencement of a bankruptcy case
creates an “estate.” The
estate technically becomes the temporary
legal owner of all of the Debtor’s
property. The estate consists of all
legal or equitable interests of the
Debtor in property as of the date the
case is filed, including property owned
or held by another person if the Debtor
has an interest in the property. Section
362 of the Bankruptcy Code governs the
applicability of the "automatic
stay" to the facts and circumstances
of your bankruptcy case. If it applies,
it prohibits creditors from taking collection
action against the Debtor or the Debtor’s
property without Bankruptcy Court approval.
The Court issues a notice of commencement
advising all interested parties of the
filing of the bankruptcy case. This
notice provides the case number, trustee,
date of the meeting of creditors, deadline
to file a proof of claim (if applicable),
and deadline to file an objection to
the discharge (if applicable).
More information can be obtained by
clicking here: General
Information. Local libraries may
also have bankruptcy reference material.
Further information about the federal
judiciary may also be found by clicking
States Courts website.
2. What does a case number indicate?
A case number indicates the office location
of the court, the year the case was
filed, the type of case, the number
assigned to the case and the assigned
judge. Example: 6:12-bk-00001-KSJ, 6
indicates the office in which the case
is filed (3 - Jacksonville, 6 - Orlando,
8 - Tampa, 9 - Ft. Myers); 12 is the
year filed, bk indicates a bankruptcy
case (ap indicates an adversary proceeding);
00001 is the case number assigned, KSJ
stands for Chief Judge Karen S. Jennemann.
For a complete list of judges presiding
over bankruptcy cases in the Middle
District of Florida click here: Bankruptcy
3. Do I need an attorney to
represent me in my bankruptcy case?
Each Debtor filing an individual bankruptcy
has a right to represent him or herself
(Pro Se Debtor); however, the use of
an attorney is recommended. Ignorance
of the law may cost an individual far
more than an attorney’s fee. By
law, a Corporation is required to have
an attorney. Note: Individuals who choose
to represent themselves will not be
able to obtain legal advice from court
personnel or from the trustee appointed
to their case.
4. What is a Pro Se Debtor?
A Pro Se Debtor is one who files bankruptcy
without an attorney. A Pro Se Debtor
is responsible for all proceedings of
his/her case. Failure to comply with
the Bankruptcy Code and Rules or with
court orders may cause dismissal of
the Debtor’s case. It is recommended
that all Debtors seek legal advice before
5. Where can I obtain the necessary
forms for filing bankruptcy?
The Court cannot supply forms. Forms
are available from office supply stores
or legal stationery stores. Forms are
also available for printing by clicking
6. What are the current filing
fees for filing bankruptcy?
Filing fees can be found on the Filing
Fees page or by clicking
7. Can the Court waive the bankruptcy
petition filing fee?
28 U.S.C. 1930(f)(1) provides that the
court may waive filing fee in a case
under Chapter 7 for an individual if
the Court determines that such individual
has income less than 150 percent of
the income official poverty line applicable
to a family of the size involved and
is unable to pay that fee in installments.
The Bankruptcy Rules do provide for
individuals to pay the filing fee in
installments. To pay the fee in installments,
you must submit an application, and
the application must be approved by
the Court. This form is available by
clicking here: Filing
Fee Installment form.
8. Why do I need exact change?
The policies of the Administrative Office
of the U.S. Courts do not allow the
Clerk’s Office to provide change.
9. What will happen to my case
if I filed bankruptcy in the past and
failed to pay the entire filing fee?
A Bankruptcy Judge may take any of the
following steps when the entire filing
fee has not been paid in a prior case
and the Debtor tries to file another
case within 180 days of the entry of
the dismissal order: (1) dismiss the
case being filed, (2) refuse to allow
the Debtor to pay the filing fee in
installments for the current case, (3)
make the Debtor pay the filing fee from
the previous case, or (4) take any other
action that is appropriate.
10. What chapter is right for
Your decision whether to file bankruptcy
and under which chapter to file depends
on your particular circumstances. In
general, Chapter 7 is appropriate when
the Debtor has insufficient income to
pay a portion of his/her debts, and
the Debtor is not seeking to keep non-exempt
property. Otherwise, if the Debtor has
an income or property and can afford
to repay at least some of his/her debts,
Chapter 11, 12 or 13 may be appropriate,
depending on whether the Debtor is an
individual, partnership, corporation,
or family farmer. The decision whether
to file a bankruptcy case and under
which chapter is an extremely important
decision and has tremendous financial
impact. Consequently, this decision
may require expert advice from a bankruptcy
attorney. You may contact The Florida
Bar, Legal Aid, or the local Lawyer
Referral Service found in your local
telephone directories to obtain legal
representation. You may also research
the Court’s website by clicking
11. What must I do before I
file my case?
Pursuant to section 109(h)(1) you must
complete and obtain a certificate from
an approved non-profit credit counseling
agency during the 180-day period proceding
the date of filing. A list of approved
Credit Counseling Agencies can be located
on the U.S. Trustee’s website
12. What is the difference between
a chapter 7, 13 and 11?
Chapter 7 – In a Chapter
7, Debtors are permitted to retain certain
“exempt” property, while
the remaining assets are liquidated
by the trustee. The trustee will distribute
the funds from the liquidation to holders
of claims (creditors) in accordance
with the provisions of the Bankruptcy
Code. Accordingly, potential Debtors
should realize that the filing of a
petition under chapter 7 might result
in the loss of non-exempt property.
Chapter 13 – Chapter
13 is designed for individuals with
regular income to repay a portion or
all of their debt over an extended period
of time. Chapter 13 may be appropriate
for Debtors who seek to retain certain
assets through a repayment plan.
Chapter 11 – Chapter
11 allows corporations, partnerships,
and certain individuals who do not qualify
under Chapter 13, to reorganize without
having to liquidate all assets. As in
a Chapter 13, the Debtor (called the
a trustee is not normally assigned)
is required to present a repayment plan.
If the plan is accepted by the creditors
and subsequently approved (“confirmed”)
by the Court, this allows the Debtor
to reorganize his/her/or its personal,
financial, or business affairs.
NOTE: For further information on these
Chapters, click here: General
13. Where can I get more information
about bankruptcy and bankruptcy procedures?
Is there a place I can get free or inexpensive
legal advice before I file?
The easiest way to get free or inexpensive
bankruptcy advice is to make an appointment
with a private attorney. Some attorneys
may offer a free initial consultation.
Visit our web site for a list of Lawyer
Referral Services. You may also consider
contacting Legal Aid for inexpensive
bankruptcy advice. They will send you
an application and schedule a session
with a bankruptcy attorney to assess
your financial situation to see if you
qualify for their services, and assist
you in deciding what chapter is appropriate.
Their fee is on a sliding scale based
on your income. In the Tampa area, they
can be contacted in Hillsborough County
at (813) 232-1343 or (813) 752-1335,
or in Pinellas County at (727) 821-0726
or (727) 443-0657; in Orlando at (407)
841-8310; and in Jacksonville at 904-356-8371.
Inexpensive help in typing your petition
and other forms is available from “bankruptcy
petition preparers.” “Paralegals”
and “typing services” are
considered bankruptcy petition preparers
and not attorneys. They are not employed
or supervised by attorneys and cannot
represent you in your bankruptcy. Only
a licensed attorney can give you legal
advice. Bankruptcy petition preparation
services are listed in the telephone
book. Click on General Information to
visit the Court’s website for
additional information about filing
bankruptcy, as well as a list of bankruptcy
terms and their meanings.
14. What services can a bankruptcy
petition preparer provide?
Services of petition preparers are limited
to the typing of forms. Petition Preparers
are not authorized to practice law and
therefore cannot provide debtors with
15. How is a debt classified as secured,
unsecured, priority, or administrative?
A secured debt is a debt that is collateralized
by property. A creditor whose debt is
“secured” has a right to
foreclose or take property to satisfy
a “secured debt.” For example,
a mortgage loan is likely “secured”
by a Debtor’s home. This means
that the lender has the right to foreclose
upon and take the home if the Debtor
fails to make the loan payments.
An unsecured debt arises when you promise
to repay someone a sum of money at a
particular time, but you have not pledged
any property as collateral for the debt.
A priority debt is a debt entitled to
priority in payment, ahead of other
debts. Please refer to 11 U.S.C. §507
of the Bankruptcy Code for a listing
of such priority claims.
An administrative debt is a category
of priority debt. Generally, it is created
when someone provides goods or services
to your bankruptcy estate after you
file your petition. An example of an
administrative debt is the fee charged
by an attorney or other authorized professional
for services rendered after the bankruptcy
case has been filed.
16. When do I receive a discharge
of my debts?
The Notice of the Section §341
Meeting of Creditors reflects a date
by which all complaints objecting to
discharge or dischargability of debts
must be filed. If the debtor has complied
with all of the filing requirements,
paid the filing fee in full and pursuant
to section 727(a) (10) completed an
instructional course concerning personal
financial management, and has filed
the proper certification reflecting
completion, your discharge will be entered
in due course after the expiration of
the date stated earlier.
17. What debts are dischargeable?
Generally, all debts listed on the petition
are dischargeable. However, certain
types of debt listed in 11 U.S.C. §523
are not dischargeable. The non-dischargeable
debts listed in §523 include, but
are not limited to:
a. Certain taxes and fines;
b. Debts arising from certain fraudulent
c. Debts not listed in your bankruptcy
d. Alimony, child maintenance or support,
and certain other related debts arising
out of a divorce decree or separation
e. Debts caused by the Debtor’s
willful and malicious injury to another;
f. Government guaranteed student loans;
g. Debts caused by a death or personal
injury related to your operation of
a motor vehicle while intoxicated; and
h. Post-bankruptcy condominium or cooperative
owner’s association fees.
This list includes only examples of
non-dischargeable debts; see 11 U.S.C.
§ 523 for a complete list. Under
§ 523, a creditor or party in interest
may also file a complaint to have their
debt declared nondischargeable.
In a chapter 13 case, the discharge
is broader under 11 U.S.C. § 1328(a).
For more information on discharges under
chapters 7 & 13 click here: General
18. How do I change or correct
information in the petition, schedules,
and statements I already filed with
the Clerk’s Office?
The information contained in your petition,
schedules, and statement of affairs
is submitted under penalty of perjury.
Therefore, you must be certain that
it is correct when you sign these documents.
If, however, you later discover that
something is inaccurate, the documents
may be corrected by the filing of an
amendment with the Clerk’s Office.
New schedules or statements must be
filed showing the corrected information
along with a certificate of service.
A fee (click
here to view fee) must be paid when
amending schedules D, E, or F (or any
list of creditors or mailing matrix).
All amendments must be served upon the
United States Trustee and case trustee,
and certain amendments must be served
upon the creditors affected by the amendment.
The amendment must also contain an original
19. What is a bankruptcy discharge?
It releases the Debtor from personal
liability for discharged debts. Thus,
it prevents the creditors owed those
debts from taking any action against
the Debtor to collect the debts. Most,
but not all, types of debts are discharged
if they existed on the date the bankruptcy
case was filed and were listed on the
schedules. Some of the debts that are
not discharged are discussed in question
15. Bankruptcy law regarding the scope
of a discharge is complex, and Debtors
should consult competent legal counsel
prior to filing.
20. How do I obtain a copy of
You can obtain a copy from the Clerk’s
Office by either coming in person or
sending in a written request. There
is a per page charge (click
here to view fee), plus an additional
charge if you desire a certified copy.
Payment must be in the exact amount
payable either by money order or cashier’s
check. You must include a self-addressed,
stamped envelope. You may also contact
the Court’s contracted photocopying
service, Judicial Research and Retrieval
Service in Tampa at (813)-228-7200,
Orlando at (407) 999-7717, and Jacksonville
at (813) 228-7200. You can also obtain
additional information concerning their
services by visiting Judicial
Research & Copy Service.
21. Can a discharge be denied?
Under certain circumstances, 11 U.S.C.
§ 727 provides the Debtor’s
discharge may be denied in a chapter
7 case. Grounds for denial exist when
the Debtor: (1) failed to keep or produce
adequate books or financial records,
(2) failed to satisfactorily explain
any loss of assets, (3) committed a
bankruptcy crime such as perjury, (4)
failed to obey a lawful order of the
bankruptcy court, or (5) fraudulently
transferred, concealed, or destroyed
property that would have become property
of the estate. Refer to § 727 for
a complete list.
22. What is the difference between
a discharge being denied and a debt
being declared nondischargeable?
The court can deny the Debtor’s
discharge of all debts, or determine
that a particular debt or debts are
nondischargeable. If the court denies
the discharge of all debts, then the
Debtor will still be legally responsible
for all the debts as if no bankruptcy
petition had ever been filed. If only
certain debts are ruled nondischargeable,
the Debtor will still receive a discharge
order. However, the Debtor will remain
legally responsible for those nondischargeable
debts. For a discharge to be denied,
either as to a particular debt or as
to all debts, someone must file an adversary
proceeding (lawsuit) with the court.
That party must then prove one of the
grounds for denial of the discharge
or for a debt to be declared nondischargeable.
See Question No. 19 (for discharge)
and Question No. 15 (for dischargeability
of a particular debt). If your discharge
is not withheld or none of your debts
is declared to be nondischargeable,
then all the debts listed in your petition
will be discharged upon the entry of
the order granting your discharge (meaning
your personal liability for the debts
will be eliminated).
23. How do I obtain information
about a case?
You can visit the courthouse and view
a file between the hours of 8:30am and
4:00pm, Monday through Friday. You can
also access information for the Middle
District of Florida, toll-free at 1-866-222-8029
# 91. Information about a case may be
obtained by providing the Debtor’s
social security or tax identification
number or the Debtor’s name. The
following information is available:
whether a case has been filed, when
it was filed and under which chapter,
the judge assigned to the case, Debtor’s
attorney and phone number, trustee and
phone number, and date and time of the
meeting of creditors required under
Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code.
For further information on the VCIS,
click here Voice
Case Information System.
NOTE: Case information
may not be available for cases filed
prior to a certain date. Information
for such older cases can only be obtained
through the Archive’s Center in
Atlanta, Georgia. Copies can be requested
directly from the Archive Center, but
certain information will be needed from
the Court. Please contact the Clerk’s
Office where the case was filed for
availability of the file or for instructions
on ordering archived information, Tampa
at (813) 301-5065, Orlando at (407)
237-8000, and Jacksonville at (904)
24. May I review my case file?
Yes, files maintained by the Clerk’s
Office are public records. You may review
your case, but you may not remove original
documents from the Court files nor take
the files from the Clerk’s Office.
Copies of documents can be made by the
Court up to five pages (click
here to view fee). Anything over
five pages must be copied by the Court’s
contract copy service. Contact Judicial
Research and Retrieval Service, Inc.,
in Tampa at 813-228-7200; Orlando at
(407) 999-7717; and Jacksonville at
(813) 228-7200. For further information
concerning the photocopying service,
click here: Judicial
Research & Copy Service.
25. Who can I call if I have
a question about a pending case?
Call the Clerk’s Office or the
case manager. Phone numbers for all
offices are available by clicking on
one of the following:
Tampa/Fort Myers phone list
26. Can I view records through
Yes. Access to electronic court records
via the Internet or by direct dial-up
modem is available by registering with
PACER. To obtain a password contact
the PACER Service Center at 1-800-676-6856
or click here Pacer
27. How do I find out who is
the trustee assigned to a case?
You may obtain the trustee’s name
by visiting the clerk’s offices,
or through the Voice Case Information
System (VCIS). The VCIS telephone number
is 1-866-222-8029. For Chapter 11 cases,
you can also call the United States
Trustee’s Offices: Tampa at (813)
228-2000; Orlando and Jacksonville at
(407) 648-6301. (If you received a “Commencement
of Case/341 Meeting Notice,” the
assigned trustee, along with other contact
information, is printed on that notice.)
28. What is the role of a Trustee
assigned in a chapter 7 or 13 case?
Under Chapter 7, an impartial trustee
is appointed to administer the case
by collecting and liquidating the Debtor’s
non-exempt assets in a manner that maximizes
the return to the Debtor’s unsecured
Under Chapter 13, an impartial trustee
is also appointed to administer the
case. The primary roles of the chapter
13 trustee are to determine the feasibility
of a Debtor’s repayment plan for
the court and to serve as a disbursing
agent, collecting payments from Debtors
and making distributions to creditors.
29. What is the function of
the U. S. Trustee?
The office of the U. S. Trustee is an
agency of the Department of Justice,
with responsibilities that include monitoring
the administration of bankruptcy cases
and detecting bankruptcy fraud. It is
also responsible for appointing and
supervising interim trustees to administer
Chapter 7 cases, overseeing the Debtor-in-Possession,
and appointing a standing Trustee in
Chapter 13 cases.
30. What is a 341 meeting?
This meeting is referred to as the “meeting
of creditors.” All creditors are
notified so that they may attend, but
their attendance is not required. Debtors
have a duty to appear and testify under
oath and answer questions by creditors.
This meeting is presided over by the
trustee assigned to the case and is
held approximately 40 days after the
petition is filed. Debtors are required
to provide photo identification and
proof of social security number to the
assigned trustee. A Debtor’s failure
to appear may result in dismissal of
the case. If a continuance or change
in the hearing date is sought, the trustee
assigned to the case must be contacted.
31. If I file for bankruptcy, will it
stop an eviction?
The Clerk’s Office is prohibited
from providing legal advice. Questions
pertaining to how a bankruptcy filing
affects enforcement of an eviction proceeding
should be directed to a bankruptcy attorney.
32. How long does a bankruptcy
filing remain on my credit report?
A maximum of ten years under provisions
of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
33. How do I get a bankruptcy
filing removed from my credit report?
The Bankruptcy Court has no jurisdiction
over credit reporting agencies. The
Fair Credit Reporting Act, 6 U.S.C.
§ 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. You
may contact the Federal Trade Commission,
Bureau of Consumer Protection, Education
Division, Washington, D.C. 20580; their
phone number is (202) 326-2222. That
agency can provide further information
on reestablishing credit and addressing
credit problems. You can also directly
contact the credit bureau(s) reporting
the information – e.g., Equifax,
Experian, and TransUnion.
34. What can I do if I disagree with
an order entered in a case?
You can either file a motion for reconsideration
of the order or file a notice of appeal.
The person filing the notice of appeal
becomes an “Appellant” and
the other party, the “Appellee.”
When an appeal is filed, the matter
is referred to the United States District
Court. There is a filing fee to Docket
the Appeal and a fee for the Notice
of Appeal. Click
here to view fee.
35. What is an adversary proceeding?
What do I need to file when filing an
adversary proceeding with the Court?
An adversary proceeding is a lawsuit
arising in or related to a bankruptcy
case. It is commenced with the filing
of an adversary proceeding cover sheet,
complaint, summons, and a filing fee,
if applicable. Click
here to view fee.
36. What can I do if a creditor keeps
trying to collect money after I have
You should immediately notify the creditor
in writing that you have filed bankruptcy,
and provide them with the case name,
case number, and filing date, or a copy
of the petition that shows it was filed.
If a creditor continues to attempt to
collect, the Debtor may be entitled
to take legal action against the creditor
to obtain a specific order from the
court prohibiting the creditor from
taking further collection action. However,
a formal motion must be filed, in accordance
with the Bankruptcy Code and applicable
Rules. If the creditor is willfully
violating the automatic stay, the Court
can hold the creditor in contempt of
court and fine the creditor. Any such
legal action brought against the creditor
will be complex and will normally dictate
representation by a qualified bankruptcy
37. What should I do if I cannot
make my Chapter 13 payment?
If the Debtor cannot make a chapter
13 payment on time pursuant to the terms
of the confirmed plan, the Debtor should
contact the chapter 13 Trustee by phone
and by letter advising the Trustee of
the problem and whether it is temporary
or permanent. If it is temporary, the
Debtor should advise the Trustee of
the time and manner in which the Debtor
will make up the payments. So long as
the Trustee agrees, the payments can
be made up over time. If the problem
is permanent and the Debtor is no longer
able to make payments under the plan,
the Trustee will request that the case
be dismissed or converted to another
chapter, or the Debtor may seek to modify
his or her plan. The determination of
whether to modify the plan or dismiss
or convert a case requires legal analysis.
The Debtor should seek counsel from
a qualified bankruptcy attorney before
attempting to make a decision how to
proceed in their case.
38. My ex-spouse has filed bankruptcy.
He/she has listed me as a co-signer
on a scheduled debt. What can I do?
Does my divorce decree protect me?
If you are a co-debtor with your ex-spouse
on a debt, the creditor can require
the entire payment of that debt from
your share of the marital property,
even though the divorce decree assigns
the debt to your ex-spouse. Depending
on the terms of your divorce decree,
you may be able to have certain support
obligations determined to be nondischargeable
by the bankruptcy court or in state
court. You should seek legal advice
for a thorough explanation of your rights
and obligations in this area as soon
as you find out that your ex-spouse
has filed bankruptcy.
39. A company has filed for
bankruptcy and owes us money. What do
If you have been listed as a creditor
in a bankruptcy case and you received
a proof of claim form from the bankruptcy
court, make sure to complete the form
and file it with the court by the required
date. You must attach any documentation
that supports your claim. If you wish
to have a conformed copy returned to
you, please enclose an extra copy and
self-addressed, stamped envelope. If
you were not listed as a creditor, you
may obtain a claim form from the bankruptcy
court or you can download a claim form
by clicking on Proof
of Claim form (pdf). You may also
submit a claim using our court's Electronic
Filing of Proof of Claim Form.
NOTE: 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 meeting notice.
40. How can I access court dockets
The PACER system allows you to access
docket sheets for bankruptcy case proceedings
if you have a computer and modem. There
is a fee for accessing the PACER service
via the Internet (Web PACER). Click
to view the fee. To register for
PACER, contact the PACER Service Center
at 800-676-6856. For further information
on PACER, click here PACER.
41. How do I get admitted to
practice before the Bankruptcy Court?
An attorney must be admitted to practice
before the District Court. You may contact
the United States District Court, Middle
District of Florida, on their website
by clicking here: United States District
Courts or call their office: Tampa (813)
301-5400; Orlando (407) 835-4200; and
Jacksonville (904) 549-1900. An out-of-state
attorney who desires to appear in a
particular bankruptcy case is required
to file a motion for permission to appear
“pro hac vice.” For admission
requirements and forms for admission
to the District Court Bar, also contact
the United States District Court.
42. How do I get transcripts
of court hearings?
Official transcripts of court hearings
are produced by certified court reporters.
Information on how to order transcripts
for Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville
can be obtained by clicking here Court
43. How do I obtain a proof
of claim form?
Proof of claims may be submitted
using our court's eProof
of Claim link located on the Court's
main webpage. You may also download
a proof of claim form now by clicking
of Claim form or you may obtain
a proof of claim form from the Bankruptcy
Clerk's Office by sending a written
request with a stamped, self-addressed
envelope to the Clerk’s Office.
44. What is a reaffirmation
A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement
between the Debtor and a creditor that
the Debtor will pay all or a portion
of the money owed, even though the Debtor
has filed bankruptcy. In return, the
creditor promises that, as long as payments
are made, the creditor will not repossess
or take back its collateral. This means
that the Debtor will remain personally
liable on that debt.
Refer to 11 U.S.C. § 524 Bankruptcy
Code for detailed information. Information
is also available by clicking here Reaffirmation
45. What is a Motion?
A motion is a written formal document
in which the party, the movant, who
is requesting an action, sets forth
his grounds for the action requested.
The party against whom the action is
requested is the respondent.
46. How do I obtain copies or
certified copies of documents?
Copies may be obtained directly from
the Court for a per page fee (maximum
of 5 pages at one time) as well as certified
copies for a per page fee (maximum of
5 at one time) and a certification fee
here to view fees). For copy requests
exceeding these limits, customers are
referred to contract copy services vendor,
Research and Retrieval Services, Inc.
A list of their services and fees can
be found by clicking here: Judicial
Research & Copy Service or by calling:
Tampa (813) 228-7200; Orlando (407)
999-7717; and Jacksonville (813) 228-7200.
(Note: Judicial Research also has staff
on site in Tampa’s intake office.)
Files that are no longer housed in our
courthouse facilities are archived at
the Archive Center in Ellenwood, Georgia
to retrieve files through the mail;
the requestor must include the case
name, case number, and search fee for
the archived information. Click
here to view fee.
However, there is no charge for this
information to customers who come to
the Clerk’s office. The Clerk’s
office will first verify the case was
filed in that particular division. The
clerk’s office will then provide
the “Request for Bankruptcy Case
File” form, with the accession
number, box number, and location number.
Once you receive this information, you
may contact the Archive Center in Atlanta,
Georgia, for copies. The telephone number
for the center is (404) 763-7474, fax
number is (404) 763-7815, and their
website is: National
Archives Center. Please note that
the Archive Center requires a fee for
47. How do I get a hearing date?
It is not necessary to contact the Court
for a hearing date. Upon receipt of
properly filed documents, a hearing
will be set automatically, and proper
notice of the hearing date and time
will be given to interested parties.
48. Who do I notify about a possible
The office of the United States Trustee
reviews complaints about possible fraudulent
filings and, if appropriate, notifies
the U.S. Attorney for further investigation.
The U.S. Trustee’s telephone number
for Tampa cases is 813-228-2000, and
for Orlando and Jacksonville cases is
49. May I receive notice from
the court via electronic transmission
(i.e.: internet e-mail)?
Only debtors filing bankruptcy
without representation (pro se) may
elect to receive electronic notice by
e-mail whenever a filing is made with
the Court. Please refer to Request
(Pro Se Debtor) to Receive Electronic
Notification for additional information.
DISCLAIMER: The links
on this webpage contain information
created and maintained by other public
and private organizations. These links
are provided for the user's convenience.
The United States Bankruptcy Court for
the Middle District of Florida does
not control or guarantee the accuracy,
relevance, timeliness, or completeness
of this outside information nor does
it control or guarantee the on-going
availability, maintenance, or security
of these Internet sites. Further, the
inclusion of links is not intended to
reflect their importance or to endorse
any views expressed, or products or
services offered, on these outside sites,
or the organizations sponsoring the