FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

[ General ] [ Debtor ] [ Creditor ]

Disclaimer: While the information presented 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. Please also refer to the United States Code ( you will need to enter "11" under "Title" and the number of the section you want to see under "Section"), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado. Finally, if you do not understand terms used in these questions and responses, many of them are defined in Bankruptcy Basics issued by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Click here to view the Bankruptcy Basics Video in English.
Click here to view the Bankruptcy Basics Video in Spanish.

Please be advised that deadlines in bankruptcy are extremely important and the failure to observe them or to act timely can jeopardize your rights, claims or interests in the case.

Some of the responses to these questions vary depending upon whether your case was filed before October 17, 2005, the effective date for most of the changes to the Bankruptcy Code. Where there are notations of date specific responses, apply the response that corresponds to when your case was filed.

Please be aware that through January 20, 2006, 81% of the cases dismissed under the new provisions of the Bankruptcy Code were filed by debtors who did not have an attorney.

The Court staff cannot give legal advice under Title 28 U.S.C. Section 955.

The Clerk's office CANNOT

Debtor Frequently Asked Questions

1. Where can I get additional information before I file for bankruptcy?
2. Do I need an attorney to file for bankruptcy?
3. What are the different "Chapters" in bankruptcy?
4. What is a Joint Petition?
5. Does my spouse have to file if I file?
6. Where do I file my case?
7. What are the Court's hours of operation?
8. What documents do I need to submit to file bankruptcy?
9. What is the Creditor's Matrix?
10. What is the filing fee?
11. Where can I get the forms needed to file bankruptcy?
12. Are there forms for credit counseling and personal financial management instruction-and what is the difference between the two?
13. What is the means test?
14. How can I change or correct information in the petition, statements, and schedules I have filed?
15. What is a meeting of creditors? What happens there?
16. I live outside of the Denver metropolitan area. Where will my section 341 meeting of creditors be held?
17. How do I know if a debt is secured, unsecured, priority, or administrative, so I can fill out my schedules correctly?
18. What are Exemptions?
19. What happens after I file my bankruptcy case?
20. What is a discharge?
21. What is the difference between a denial of discharge and a debt being nondischargeable?
22. I Attended a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors before my case converted to another chapter. Do I have to attend another meeting?
23. What if my case is dismissed?
24. My case was dismissed because I failed to pay all of the installments of the filing fee. Can I file a new bankruptcy case? If so, can I pay the new filing fee in installments?
25. What is a Reaffirmation Agreement?
26. What is a Motion for Relief From Stay?
27. What can I do if a creditor keeps trying to collect money after I have filed a bankruptcy?
28. What if a creditor tries to collect money after I get a discharge?
29. How can I get another copy of my discharge?
30. How many years will a bankruptcy show on my credit report?
31. What services can a "Bankruptcy Petition Preparer" provide?
32. How can I get a case reopened?
33. How do I get my case dismissed?
34. Will the Judge advise me of my options during the bankruptcy case?
35. Why do I have to pay a fee to file for bankruptcy? Can the Court waive the fee?
36. Can I pay my filing fee by check or credit card?
37. If my case gets dismissed, or I change my mind about filing, can I get my filing fee refunded?
38. When am I under bankruptcy protection?
39. I cannot download your forms. What can I do?
40. Who has access to my bankruptcy file?
41. Will all my creditors be notified of my discharge?
42. When is my case complete?
43. How soon after I get my discharge can I file for bankruptcy again?
44. I can't afford an attorney. What should I do?
45. How do I get errors removed from my credit report?
46. May I receive e-mail notifications of actions in my bankruptcy case?

1. Where can I get additional information before I file for bankruptcy?

The Denver Bar Association presents free clinics on the second Tuesday of every month, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. to provide information for those who have filed bankruptcy without an attorney and those who are contemplating filing. The presenters are volunteers who are attorneys and trustees. They address issues such as credit implications, what to expect at the meeting of creditors, the role of the trustee, the duties of the debtor, and other important information. These meetings are held in Room 183 in the Bankruptcy Court Building, 721 Nineteenth Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-2508.

Read the responses to Frequently Asked Questions-General and those for Creditor and review the Bankruptcy Basics document issued by the Administrative Office of the Courts.
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2. Do I need an attorney to file for bankruptcy?

You may file a bankruptcy petition on your own if you are an individual, but not if you are a corporation or partnership. However, the relief available to you, the obligations imposed on you and the ramifications associated with the bankruptcy are EXTREMELY COMPLEX. It is difficult to have a successful bankruptcy case without the help of competent legal counsel. Therefore, hiring a competent bankruptcy attorney is highly recommended.

Should you have serious concerns about your attorney, the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Counsel may be contacted to look into the attorney's conduct. This document has more information about the process. There are also versions in Spanish and Russian viewable at http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/Regulation/Regulation.asp.
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3. What are the different "Chapters" in bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is the liquidation chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 cases are often referred to as "straight bankruptcy" or "liquidation" cases. They may be filed by an individual, a corporation, or a partnership. Under Chapter 7, a trustee is appointed to collect and sell all property that is not exempt and to use any proceeds to pay creditors. In the case of an individual, the debtor is allowed to claim certain property as exempt pursuant to federal bankruptcy law and Colorado law. An individual debtor gets a discharge, which means the debtor does not have to pay certain types of debts. Corporations and partnerships do not receive discharges. (Question 18 has more information on exemptions and Question 20 has more information on discharges.)

Chapter 9 provides for bankruptcy relief for municipalities and governmental units. This chapter can be used by school districts, water districts, etc.

Chapter 12 is for use by those who qualify as "family farmers" under the Bankruptcy Code. There is a maximum debt a Chapter 12 debtor may have, and a certain portion of the debtor's income must come from operation of a farming business. Family farmers must propose a plan to repay their creditors from future income over a period of time. The plan must be approved by the Court. Plan payments are made through the Chapter 12 trustee, who also monitors the debtor's farming business operations while the case is pending.

Chapter 11 is the reorganization chapter available to businesses and individuals who have substantial debts or income to restructure and repay their debts. Creditors vote on whether to accept or reject a plan of reorganization, which must also be approved by the Court. In addition to the case filing fee, Chapter 11 debtors must pay a quarterly fee to the United States Trustee. There is no debt limit under Chapter 11. Debtors who qualify as "small businesses" may receive "fast track" treatment under Chapter 11. Effective October 17, 2005, the definition of "small business" debtor changed. A small business debtor is a person with not more than $2,490,925 million in aggregate, non-contingent, liquidated, secured and unsecured debt as of the date of the petition or order for relief (excluding debts owed to affiliates or insiders.)

Chapter 13 is the debt repayment chapter for individuals with regular income whose debts do not exceed $360,745 in unsecured debts and $1,081,400 in secured debts, including individuals who operate businesses as sole proprietorships. Corporations and partnerships cannot file under Chapter 13. Chapter 13 generally allows a debtor to keep property by repaying creditors out of future income. Each Chapter 13 debtor proposes a repayment plan which must be approved by the Court. The amounts set forth in the plan must be paid to the Chapter 13 Trustee, who distributes the funds for a small fee. Some nondischargeable debts can be paid over time in a Chapter 13 plan. After the completion of all the plan payments, over three to five years, Chapter 13 debtors receive a discharge of most debts.

It is extraordinarily difficult for debtors without counsel to develop and successfully prosecute plans of reorganization to obtain confirmation.

See Frequently Asked Questions--General Question 6 for explanation of the difference between the United States Trustee and a Chapter trustee.
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4. What is a Joint Bankruptcy Petition?

A joint bankruptcy petition is the filing of a single petition by a husband and wife. Only a couple who is married (including common law marriage) on the date of filing may file a joint petition. Unmarried people, corporations, and partnerships must file separate petitions. If you are an individual and have a business corporation, limited liability company or partnership, you may not file a single petition for yourself and that business. You must file a separate case for yourself and a separate case for the corporation, limited liability company or partnership.
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5. Does my spouse have to file if I file?

No. Married individuals can choose to file a joint petition, but one spouse can file alone. However, information about assets and wages of the non-filing spouse must appear in your statements and schedules, to give a complete picture of your financial situation.
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6. Where do I file my case?

You file your case at the United States Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Custom House, 721 Nineteenth Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-2508. See Question #7 below for the Court's hours of operations. Click here for a list of federal holidays. You may not fax pleadings to the Court and only electronic filing qualified attorneys may submit pleadings via the Court's Electronic Case Filing system. Click here for details about CM/ECF.
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7. What are the Court's hours of operation?

The Court is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 11:30 am and 12:30 pm to 5:00 pm, except for federal holidays. New petitions submitted for filing after 4:15 pm without any fee will be accepted for filing that day, but may not be processed until the following morning. We no longer accept payments in our office over the counter after 4:15 p.m. You will need to lodge your payment and/or any documents in our after hours secured box on the first floor after 4:15 and we will mail your receipt and any other applicable documents the following business day, this INCLUDES payments for copies.
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8. What documents do I need to submit to file bankruptcy?

The following documents must be filed in all bankruptcies. Most of the documents are available at the Court for a small fee or from the Forms section on our website, which includes our Local Bankruptcy Forms (L.B.F.); for the national forms, including Schedules, Statement of Financial affairs, and more visit http://www.uscourts.gov/FormsAndFees/Forms/BankruptcyForms.aspx. Additional documents may be necessary depending upon your chapter and your individual situation. Please consult with your attorney. Please clip (do not staple) the following forms together in this order for a petition packet:

  1. Voluntary petition - Form 1 and any necessary exhibits required by the Form.
  2. L.B.F. 1002-1.1
  3. Statement of Financial Affairs - Form 7
  4. Summary of Schedules A-J - Form 6-Summary
  5. Schedules A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J - Forms 6A through 6J
  6. Declaration Concerning Debtor's Schedules - Form B6
  7. Notice to Debtor by Non-Attorney Bankruptcy Petition Preparer - Form B19B (submitted only if debtor used the services of a bankruptcy petition preparer)
  8. For each debtor, copies of all payment advices, paycheck stubs, or other evidence of all salary, commissions or income received within 60 days before the bankruptcy case was filed, copied on 8 1/2 by 11 paper with the debtor's first and last name printed on top of each page (and bankruptcy case number, if a number has been assigned); or, if applicable, complete T.L.B.F. 1007-1 ("Statement Concerning Payment Advices Due") for each debtor.
  9. Attorney Fee Disclosure Statement - L.B.F. 102.1
  10. Verification of Creditors' Matrix - L.B. Misc. Form List
  11. Creditors' Matrix (on a computer floppy disk, CD/USB or Online) (see question #9 below or attachment to LBR 1007-2APP for instructions).
Additional Items due from Individual Debtors:

*The links for the updated Internal Revenue Service and Census Bureau Information that may be needed to complete Forms B 22 can be reached from the web site: http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/.

Additional Items due from Chapter 11 debtors: Please file the original only. The debtor's name, telephone number and last four digits of the debtor's Social Security number must appear on the petition.

If you want to have a copy of any document bearing the Court's file stamp, you must include an extra copy of the document and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
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9. What is the Creditor's Matrix?

It is a list of the creditors in your case which must be filed in the proper format so that it can be used by the Court's automated noticing system. Any matrices which do not conform to requirements below will be considered deficient and will slow the progress of your case, and may even lead to its dismissal. On and after October 17, 2006, debtors are required to include the address supplied by a creditor within the 90 days before the case is filed with the address at which such creditor requested to receive correspondence. Please observe the following rules:

  1. The completed original/amended matrix shall be saved as a TEXT (.txt) file type and submitted to the court on a Compact Disk (CD), a Digital Video Disk (DVD) or a 3-1/2 inch 1.44 MB diskette* in lieu of a printed paper copy (Do NOT use 720 K Dual Density diskettes or MAC formatted diskettes). TEXT files, when saved properly will have a ".txt" extension after the file name. For example, if a matrix file is saved with the name of 'creditor', the full file name will be 'creditor.txt'. A HARD COPY (PAPER) OF THE COMPLETED MATRIX IS NOT REQUIRED.


  2. *You may also complete your creditor matrix online with our new creditor entry page by clicking here.

  3. All PCs having a WINDOWS Operation System have a package called NOTEPAD under Programs, Accessories, NOTEPAD. NOTEPAD is a basic word processor and will easily save a TEXT file as its basic file type. Also, word processing packages and petition preparation packages may have different descriptions for TEXT file types. For example, newer versions of MS WORD will use TEXT ONLY (.txt) as a file type. Similarity, newer versions of WordPerfect will have ASCII DOS TEXT as a file type. All of the above referenced word processing programs are acceptable, but you may find NOTEPAD the easiest to use when saving a TEXT file.
  4. The name and address of each creditor, including a box or street number, city, state and zip code shall be listed. If an assignment of the account or debt is known or if the debt is in the hands of an attorney or other agent for collection, the full names and addresses of both the original creditor and assignee or agent shall be listed. Do NOT list full account numbers, only the last four digits of the account number. Do NOT list the amount owed to the creditor on the matrix.
  5. The matrix must be prepared as follows-
    1. Do NOT include page titles, headers, or page numbers
    2. One single column per page
    3. Five (5) lines per address maximum
    4. Special characters such as @#$%^&*()_+? are not permitted
    5. City, state and zip code must be on one (1) line
    6. City, state and zip code must be on the last line of the address
    7. Triple space between each creditor's address (see example below)
    8. Maximum of forty (40) characters per line
  6. Do NOT include the names and addresses for the following people as they will be retrieved automatically by the system for noticing:
    1. Debtor and/or joint debtor
    2. Attorney for the debtor
    3. Any Chapter Trustee (Ch. 7, 12, 13)
    4. U.S. Trustee (See Frequently Asked Questions--General Question 6 for explanation of the difference between the United States Trustee and a Chapter trustee)
  7. The form, Verification of Creditor Matrix must be prepared and filed along with the CD/DVD or diskette
  8. A supplemental or amended creditor(s) matrix shall include ONLY new creditor(s) NOT PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED. DO NOT include creditor(s) submitted on a previous diskette. Refer to L.B.R. 109(a) for additional information on amending the Creditor Mailing Address Matrix.
  9. If you wish to change the address of a creditor already submitted, file a completed Change of Address form and DO NOT file an amended matrix.
For additional information, see General Procedure Order 2001-7 on the Court's web page.
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SAMPLE CREDITOR MATRIX (MAILING MATRIX)

Your matrix should look like the format below the line. Please remember that headings, titles, and page numbers are not necessary.

(Note: the samples below are not actual addresses)



Sears Credit
xxxx xx 1234
123 Main St.
Denver, CO 80202

Wells Fargo Bank
xxxx xxxx 7890
8000 W. Major Blvd.
Chicago, IL 12345

Bank of Denver
xxx 4567
1111 16th St.
Denver, CO 80202

BankOne
xxxx xxxx 3456
MasterCard Dept.
4567 Highway 85
Fargo, ND 11333	

Please refer to 11 U.S.C. § 342 for special provisions regarding notices that debtors mail to creditors.

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10. What is the filing fee?

The current fee for filing a Chapter 7 petition is $335.00. The current fee for filing a Chapter 13 petition is $310.00. The Court does not accept personal checks or credit/debit cards from debtors for the payment of these fees. No Payment of any kind accepted after 4:15. In addition no change provided after 4:15 p.m. Click here for a list of all fees.
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11. Where can I get the Forms needed to file bankruptcy?

The forms are available at the Bankruptcy Court or from local stationery stores for a fee, or from the Court's website, http://www.cob.uscourts.gov/forms.asp.
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12. Are there forms for credit counseling and personal financial management instruction-and what is the difference between the two?

Credit counseling is the counseling that you obtain before you file bankruptcy from a credit counselor authorized by the United States Trustee. It is required for ALL individual debtors. When you complete your credit counseling from a credit counselor, the credit counselor will issue a certificate that must be filed with the Bankruptcy Court. If you are filing jointly with your spouse, both of you must complete credit counseling. The failure to timely file a properly issued credit counseling certificate will result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy case in almost all circumstances. The credit counselor may develop a proposed budget and repayment plan if it appears that you could afford such a plan (if one is prepared, it is to be filed along with the certificate).

Personal Financial Management Instruction is the instruction that you obtain after you file bankruptcy from an agency authorized by the United States Trustee. It is only required for Chapter 7 and 13 individual debtors. Once you complete the instruction you are to file Official Form B 23. In Chapter 7 cases, the certificate of completion of a course in financial management must be filed within 45 days of the first scheduled 11 U.S.C. § 341 Meeting of Creditors. In Chapter 13 cases, the certificate of course completion is due prior to the completion of all plan payments so that a discharge may be obtained. The failure to timely file the certificate of course completion in either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case could result in your case being closed without the issuance of a discharge. If this happens, you will need to pay a filing fee to reopen the case to file the certificate so that a discharge may be obtained.

Please visit http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/ for the most recent information on approved credit counseling agencies and approved personal financial management instructional course providers.


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13. What is the means test?

The means test is used in cases where the Chapter 7 individual debtor's(s') current monthly income exceeds the state's median family income. It is used to determine if a debtor has the ability to repay a minimum level of general unsecured debt after the payment of allowable monthly expenses. If the means test shows a debtor has such an ability to repay, there is a "presumption of abuse." In other words, if the debtor(s) receive(s) a Chapter 7 discharge, this would be an abuse of the bankruptcy process, because the debtor(s) may have the ability to repay debts outside of bankruptcy or through a Chapter 13 repayment plan over time. The analysis involves application of certain IRS guidelines for expenses in determining the ability to repay as well as a review of income from the previous six months to determine if the debtor(s) is/are above the median income for the state where they reside. The links to the IRS guidelines and median income information are found on the United States Trustee's website at http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/ under Means Testing Information.


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14. How can I change or correct information in the petition, statements, and schedules I have filed?

The information contained in your petition, statements, and schedules is submitted under penalty of perjury. Accordingly, one who intentionally submits such information that is inaccurate or misleading may have committed a serious crime. Therefore, you must be certain this information is correct when you sign these documents. If you later discover something is inaccurate, you must correct the documents by filing an amendment with the Clerk's Office. If a schedule is amended, an appropriate amended schedule must be filed showing the correction, along with an Amended Summary of Schedules. If you are adding a creditor or changing a creditor's address, you must also submit another diskette or new online matrix showing only the changes (see question on Creditor's Matrix for instruction on making a diskette or creating an online matrix). A fee of $30.00 must be paid to amend schedules of creditors or lists of creditors for the purpose of adding a creditor. The debtor must include the debtor's full taxpayer identification number in the notice mailed to the added creditor, but only include the last 4 digits of the identification number in the notice or certificate of service filed with the Court. The debtor must give notice to the creditor(s) impacted, changed or added by the amendments by mailing them a copy of (1) the amended schedule, (2) the Notice of Amendment to Schedule, L.B.Form 1009-1.1, (3) the Notice of Meeting of Creditors, and (4) any notice of possible dividend or notice of a bar date for filing proofs of claim, along with a proof of claim form. The debtor must file a certificate of service showing compliance with the L.B.R. with the amendment or not later than three (3) court days of filing the amendment. See L.B.R. 1009-1.1. See Frequently Asked Questions-General Question 12 for information about certificates of service. If you have questions about amendments, please consult an attorney.
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15. What is a Meeting of Creditors? What happens there?

The meeting of creditors is a hearing all debtors must attend in any bankruptcy proceeding. It is held outside of the presence of the judge and usually occurs between 20 and 40 days after the filing of the petition. In Chapter 7, 12, and 13 cases, the trustee assigned to the case conducts the meeting. In a Chapter 11 case, a representative of the United States Trustee's Office conducts the meeting.

The meeting permits the trustee or the representative of the U.S. Trustee to review the debtor's petition and schedules face-to-face with the debtor. The debtor is required to answer questions under penalty of perjury (swearing or affirming to tell the truth) about the debtor's conduct, property, liabilities, financial condition, and any other matter that may affect the administration of the case or the debtor's right to discharge. In addition, the trustee or U.S. Trustee's representative will ask questions to ensure that the debtor understands the bankruptcy process.

The meeting is referred to as a "meeting of creditors" because creditors are notified that they may attend and ask the debtor questions pertaining to assets or any other matter pertinent to the administration of the case. It is also referred to as a "341 meeting" because it is mandated by Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code. Creditors are not required to attend these meetings and do not waive any rights if they do not attend. The meeting usually lasts only about ten to fifteen minutes and may be continued if the trustee or U.S. Trustee's representative is not satisfied with the information presented.

If the debtor fails to appear and provide the information requested, the trustee or U.S. Trustee's representative may request that the case be dismissed, or may seek other relief against the debtor for failure to cooperate. If the case involves spouses filing jointly, both spouses must appear at the meeting of creditors.
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16. I live outside of the Denver Metropolitan area. Where will my Section 341 Meeting of Creditors be held?

Click here for a list of locations assigned by county. The location of the meeting is scheduled based upon where you live.
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17. How do I know if a debt is secured, unsecured, priority, or administrative, so I can fill out my schedules correctly?

Secured Debt: A secured debt is a debt that is backed by a mortgage, pledge of collateral, or other lien, including a properly recorded judgment lien. It is a debt for which the creditor has the right to pursue specific pledged property upon default. Typically, things like a car or a house are used as collateral to secure consumer loans.

Unsecured Debt: If you have simply promised to pay someone a sum of money at a particular time and have not pledged any property, it is an unsecured debt. This may include a judgment that is not secured by a lien. Typically, things like medical bills and gas or electric bills are unsecured debts.

Priority Debt: Section 507 of the Bankruptcy Code lists certain debts that are entitled to be paid ahead of most other unsecured debts. These are called priority debts. Examples of priority debts are some taxes, wage claims of employees, debts related to goods and services provided to a debtor's estate during the bankruptcy case, and alimony, maintenance, or support or a spouse, former spouse, or child.

Administrative Debt: An administrative debt is a type of priority debt and arises when someone provides goods or services to the bankruptcy estate during the case. In some cases, attorney's fees are an example of administrative debt, as are trustee's fees and costs.

If you have questions about the nature of a debt, you should consult an attorney
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18. What are exemptions?

The Bankruptcy Code allows an individual debtor to hold back from the bankruptcy process certain property. Such property is called an exempt asset. Exempt assets are protected by state law from distribution to creditors. Examples of exempt assets include vehicles up to a certain value, equity in a home up to a certain value, and tools of your trade. Exemptions must be claimed or lost and they are claimed on Schedule C. If no one objects to the claimed exemptions within a specified time, the assets may not be part of your bankruptcy estate.

The Bankruptcy Code allows states to choose to use their own exemptions rather than the exemptions listed in 11 U.S.C. §522, and Colorado has done that. Colorado State Exemptions can be found in the Colorado Revised Statutes, which are available at law libraries. Many of the Colorado exemptions can be found at Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-54-102 and 38-41-201 et. seq. They can be viewed by following the prompts on the following link: http://www.michie.com/colorado/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&cp=

Deciding which assets are exempt can be one of the more important and complex parts of your bankruptcy case often requiring legal judgment as to your particular circumstances. It is extremely important to consult an attorney if you have any questions. The failure to list all property in which an exemption may be claimed and to properly claim an exemption may result in the loss of the right to claim the exemption.
It is extremely important to consult an attorney if you have any questions.
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19. What happens after I file my bankruptcy case?

When you file your petition, the "automatic stay" may take effect depending upon whether you have had more than one bankruptcy case pending and dismissed in the year before filing the current case. The automatic stay prohibits creditors from taking collection action against you or your property. The Court issues a notice to all creditors advising them of the filing, the case number, the automatic stay, and the name of the trustee assigned to the case (in Chapters 7, 12, and 13). The notice also tells creditors the date of the meeting of creditors (the "341 meeting") the deadline for filing objections to the debtor's discharge or to the dischargeability of certain debts, and whether and where to file claims. The information in the notice varies with the Chapter of the case. All debtors must appear at the meeting of creditors or the case may be dismissed. For more information about the discharge, see Questions 20 and 21.

In an individual's Chapter 7 case, creditors generally have 60 days from the first date set for the meeting of creditors to object to the debtor's discharge or the dischargeability of certain debts. If the deadline passes without any objections to the debtor's discharge being filed, the Court may issue the discharge order. Other matters that may prevent or delay the discharge are: certain pending reaffirmation agreements, if a hearing is required and has not been held, the failure to file the verification of completion of an Instructional Course in Personal Financial Management and other circumstances as listed under Section 522(q) of the Bankruptcy Code. If any objections to the dischargeability of debts are filed, they will be heard by the Court, but will not stop the entry of the discharge as to other debts. Only an individual debtor receives a discharge. Corporations and partnerships do not receive discharges. If there are no non-exempt assets with equity above the liens against the assets from which creditors can be paid, the Chapter 7 trustee will prepare a report of no distribution, and the case will be closed. If non-exempt assets exist, the Court will set claims deadlines and notify all creditors to file their claims. The Chapter 7 trustee will collect the assets, liquidate (sell) them, and distribute the proceeds to creditors. When the assets have been completely administered, the trustee files a final distribution report and the Court will close the case.

In a Chapter 13 case, a plan is filed, and creditors are given the opportunity to object to the plan. If no objection is filed by the creditors or the Chapter 13 trustee, the Court may confirm the plan. The debtor(s) then make payments to the Chapter 13 trustee under the plan for three to five years. The Chapter 13 trustee will distribute the proceeds of the plan payments to creditors until the debtor completes the plan or the Court dismisses or converts the case to another Chapter. Upon completion of the Chapter 13 plan, the Court issues a discharge order, the Chapter 13 trustee will prepare a final report, and the case will be closed. A discharge will not issue if the debtor(s) fails to verify that they have made all post-confirmation Domestic Support Obligation payments and filed the verification of completion of an Instructional Course in Personal Financial Management. The Chapter 13 process is very complicated and plans of reorganization are almost never successfull without the assistance of counsel.

A Chapter 12 case proceeds much like a Chapter 13 case. However, in a Chapter 12 case, the confirmation hearing must be concluded within 45 days of the filing of the plan. If a plan is not confirmed, the Court may consider dismissal of the case. The Chapter 12 process is very complicated and plans of reorganization are almost never successfull without the assistance of counsel.

In a Chapter 11 case, a debtor's conference with the United States Trustee's staff is held before the meeting of creditors. At the conference, the United States Trustee will go over the responsibilities of the debtor, called the debtor-in-possession, explain the quarterly fees and monthly operating reports, and discuss the debtor's financial situation and proposed reorganization. The Court may also hold an initial status conference at which such issues are discussed. A disclosure statement and plan of reorganization must be filed. A disclosure statement must be approved by the Court before it can be used to solicit votes from creditors in support of the plan. Once a plan has been confirmed, and the estate has been fully administered, the Court will enter a final decree closing the case. A Chapter 11 estate may be considered fully administered and closed before the payments required by the plan have been completed. The Chapter 11 process is very complicated and plans of reorganization are almost never successfull without the assistance of counsel.
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20. What is a discharge?

A discharge order issued by the Court permanently prohibits creditors from taking action against a debtor personally to collect debts incurred before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. The discharge does not prevent secured creditors from seizing collateral if payments are not kept up. The discharge does not prevent collection of debts incurred after the filing of the bankruptcy. Some debts are not dischargeable, and some debts are not dischargeable under certain circumstances. If you have questions about your discharge, consult with an attorney.

Some examples of debts that may not be discharged include: certain taxes and fines, debts not listed in your bankruptcy, alimony, child maintenance or support, debts from willful and malicious injury to another, debts created through fraudulent conduct or by providing false information to a creditor. For a complete list of non-dischargeable debts, review 11 U.S.C. §§ 523 (as it applies to all Chapters) and §1328 (for Chapter 13 cases).
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21. What is the Difference between a Denial of Discharge and a debt being nondischargeable?

Denial of discharge goes to the debtor's entire proceeding. It means that none of the debts will be discharged. See 11 U.S.C. § 727. A specific debt, however, can be found to be nondischargeable for various reasons under the Bankruptcy Code, and the discharge will apply to the debtor's remaining debts. See 11 U.S.C. § 523. If a debt is nondischargeable, the debtor is still obligated to pay that creditor. Issues about discharge and dischargeability can be complex, and you should consult an attorney if they arise in your case.
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22. I attended a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors before my case converted to another chapter. Do I have to attend another meeting?

Yes, a new trustee has been assigned to the converted case, and he or she is entitled to conduct an examination of you under oath.
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23. What if my case is dismissed?

A dismissal order ends the case. The automatic stay is terminated, and, if a discharge has not been entered, creditors may take action to collect on their debts.

Dismissal of a case has important consequences for cases filed on and after October 17, 2005. Pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362, the automatic stay protection in a case filed within the year of the dismissal of a prior case is limited or may not exist if two or more cases have been dismissed.
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24. My case was dismissed because I failed to pay all of the installments of the filing fee. Can I file a new bankruptcy case? If so, can I pay the new filing fee in installments or request a Fee waiver?

It depends. If your case was dismissed for failure to pay all of the installments of the filing fee, you are barred from payment of filing fees in installments in any subsequently filed case. In addition, the order dismissing your previous case may have placed other restrictions such as a 180 day bar to prevent you from filing a new case within that time. Please refer to the order of dismissal to determine whether there are additional restrictions against filing a new case. Consult an attorney if you have questions. Please review General Procedure Order (GPO) 2014-4(a) and GPO 2014-4(b).
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25. What is a Reaffirmation Agreement?

A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement between the debtor and a creditor by which a debtor becomes legally obligated to pay all or a portion of an otherwise dischargeable debt. Such an agreement must be filed within 60 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. A debtor who signs a reaffirmation agreement has 60 days after the agreement is filed, or until the discharge date, whichever occurs later, to change his mind and inform the creditor that the agreement is rescinded. Debtors entering into a reaffirmation agreement without counsel representing them will need to attend a hearing before a judge to determine if the agreement will be valid. Since a reaffirmation agreement takes away some of the effectiveness of your discharge, you are strongly advised to consult legal counsel before agreeing to a reaffirmation of a debt. NOTE: THE COURT WILL NOT SET A HEARING ON A REAFFIRMATION AGREEMENT FILED AFTER THE FILING DEADLINE REFERENCED ABOVE AND NO ACTION WILL BE TAKEN ON LATE FILED REAFFIRMATION AGREEMENTS.

Please review the Reaffirmation Agreement form, Official Form B240, on the Court's website. The form contains a lot of useful information about reaffirmation agreements.
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26. What is a Motion for Relief From Stay?

Under certain circumstances, a creditor or a party seeking to continue an action outside of the bankruptcy will file a motion for relief from stay. Typically, the creditor is seeking to foreclose on property, sell it and apply the proceeds to the debt. The motions are most common in cases where there is no value in the property for the bankruptcy trustee to administer in excess of valid liens and claims of exemption. If you want to object to a motion for relief from stay, you must do so in writing by filing your objection with the Court on or before the objection date listed in the notice sent to you and appearing at the preliminary hearing scheduled in that notice. Do not simply appear on the hearing date to state your objection, because relief will be granted and the hearing will not be held unless an objection has been filed. If a motion for relief from stay is filed in your case, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney.
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27. What can I do if a creditor keeps trying to collect money after I have filed a bankruptcy?

You should immediately contact your bankruptcy attorney, and ask him or her to take appropriate action on your behalf. If you do not have an attorney, you can write the creditor and provide them your case name and number or a copy of your petition and your discharge order. If the collection efforts continue, you may be entitled to take further legal action, which would normally require representation by a qualified bankruptcy attorney.
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28. What if a creditor tries to collect money after I get a discharge?

The best thing to do will depend upon the specific facts of your case. If you have questions, contact an attorney. Make sure the creditor is aware that you received a discharge by mailing a copy of the discharge order to the creditor.

In general, if a creditor does not cease collection efforts after you have provided notice of the discharge, or if the creditor has commenced legal proceedings against you, you likely will need the assistance of an attorney to enforce the protection to which you are entitled once you have a bankruptcy discharge.
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29. How can I get another copy of my discharge?

Mail to the Court a written request with your name, case number and a stamped self-addressed envelope or call our main line at 720-904-7300 and select the option from the mailbox menu regarding copies of your discharge.
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30. How many years will a bankruptcy show on my credit report?

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §1681, a bankruptcy can remain on a credit report for ten years. If you have additional questions, contact a bankruptcy attorney or visit the website of the Federal Trade Commission, at http://www.ftc.gov/index.shtml. The Bankruptcy Court is not involved in ensuring the accuracy of information appearing on credit reports.

You may be able to obtain a free credit report with information found at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp.
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31. What services can a "Bankruptcy Petition Preparer" provide?

A "bankruptcy petition preparer" is a person or firm which is not authorized to act as an attorney, but who fills out your bankruptcy petition and related forms for a fee. Bankruptcy petition preparers can only provide and type the forms. They may not give you legal advice. Their services are subject to restrictions and limitations under the Bankruptcy Code. Bankruptcy petition preparers sign all documents they prepare for you, but they are not authorized to sign any document on your behalf. Therefore, you must also sign all documents yourself if they require your signature. Bankruptcy petition preparers are prohibited by law from collecting or receiving any Court fees connected with your case. Consequently, if you use a petition preparer you are required to pay all Court fees directly to the Court, including the filing fee and any other fees. You should immediately notify the United States Trustee and any trustee appointed in your case if you think a bankruptcy petition preparer fails to comply with the law.

To view more information about the unauthorized practice of law please view http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/Regulation/UPL.htm or to see a list of persons ordered to stop engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (some of whom were bankruptcy petition preparers) please view http://www.coloradosupremecourt.com/Regulation/UPL_Injuction_Listing.htm.
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32. How can I get a case reopened?

You may file a Motion to Reopen stating the grounds for reopening the case, and pay the appropriate filing fee in full. A filing fee is not required when the purpose of reopening the case is to enforce the discharge. The Judge will determine whether to reopen the case and may hold a hearing.
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33. How do I get my case dismissed?

If you change your mind about your need for a bankruptcy discharge, you may seek to have your case dismissed. Typically, you must file a motion with the Court and give notice and an opportunity to object to all creditors and other parties in interest. If no objections are filed, the Court may dismiss the case.
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34. Will the Judge advise me of my options during the bankruptcy case?

No. The Court cannot act as your counsel.
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35. Why do I have to pay a fee to file for bankruptcy? Can the Court waive the fee?

Federal law, 28 U.S.C. §1930, requires a fee to file a bankruptcy petition. If you cannot pay the full fee at the time of filing, you may apply to pay the fee in installments. A form, which is available from the bankruptcy clerk's office, must be completed to make that application. If your application to pay in installments is approved, you will be permitted to complete paying the fee over the course of four months. See Fed.R.Bankr.P. 1006 and General Procedure Order (GPO) 2014-4(a).

Chapter 7 debtors in certain specific circumstances may request a waiver of the initial filing fee upon showing that they meet the criteria in 28 U.S.C. § 1930 and GPO 2014-4(b). If the Court denies the request, you may be required to pay the fee in installments.
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36. Can I pay my filing fee by check or credit card?

No. The only acceptable forms for paying fees are money orders, cashiers' checks or cash. Cash should not be sent by mail. Exceptions are made for attorneys filing in paper and paying fees from a law firm checking account or filing electronically and paying through the electronic payment process. No change provided after 4:15 p.m.
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37. If my case gets dismissed, or I change my mind about filing, can I get my filing fee refunded?

No. By statute, filing fees cannot be refunded.
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38. When am I under bankruptcy protection?

Please refer to questions 19, 20, 27 and 28.
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39. I cannot download your forms. What can I do?

Come to the Bankruptcy Court during operating hours and you can purchase a copy of the forms for a nominal copy fee. The Bankruptcy Court cannot accept personal checks or credit/debit cards, so please have cash or money orders.
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40. Who has access to my bankruptcy file?

All of the Court's files are public records. However, all petitions filed now contain only the last four digits of a debtor's Social Security number. The debtor then submits to the Court a Statement of Social Security Number (Official Form 21) which contains the entire number, for the Court's reference. However, this form is not part of the public record. (If debtors inadvertently add their Social Security Number to other documents, the number will appear in the public records).
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41. Will all my creditors be notified of my discharge?

All creditors who were listed in your schedules and on your creditors' matrix or added to your schedules and creditors' matrix by amendment will receive notice of your discharge.
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42. When is my case complete?

Your case is complete when the case has been closed. No separate order is issued and unless you pay a search fee, the Court will not research your case to see if it has been closed. You should expect that a case will be closed within a reasonable time after a discharge issues in no asset cases or when the trustee files the final distribution report in asset cases.
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43. How soon after I get my discharge can I file for bankruptcy again?

The Court cannot grant a discharge to an individual Chapter 7 or 11 debtor if he or she has been granted a discharge within eight years of the date of filing the previous Chapter 7 petition.

The Court cannot grant a Chapter 13 debtor a discharge if the debtor received a prior discharge in a prior Chapter 7, 11 or 12 case filed four years before the current case or in a prior Chapter 13 case filed two years before the current case.

It is strongly suggested that you seek legal advice from a competent bankruptcy attorney on this matter.
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44. I can't afford an attorney. What should I do?

If you cannot afford an attorney, Colorado Legal Services may be able to recommend an attorney who will take your case for a reduced fee or for no fee, if you meet certain financial qualifications. In Denver, contact Colorado Legal Services, 1905 Sherman Street, Suite 400, Denver, Colorado 80203, telephone: (303) 837-1313. For Boulder area residents, the office is Colorado Legal Services, 1790 30th Street, Suit 430, Boulder, Colorado 80301, telephone: (303) 449-7575. Be sure to tell the office that you are calling about a bankruptcy matter, so they can direct your inquiry to the correct attorneys.

The Denver Bar Association presents free clinics on the second Tuesday of every month, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. to provide information for those who have filed bankruptcy without an attorney and those who are contemplating filing. The presenters are volunteers who are attorneys and trustees. They address issues such as credit implications, what to expect at the meeting of creditors, the role of the trustee, the duties of the debtor, and other important information. These meetings are held in Room 183 in the Bankruptcy Court Building, 721 Nineteenth Street, Denver, Colorado 80202-2508.

The Bankruptcy Pro Bono Program, sponsored by the Faculty of Federal Advocates, does not handle petitions and initial filings. However, if you are a debtor and you are sued in the bankruptcy court concerning your discharge or dischargeability of a debt, and meet the financial guidelines, the Bankruptcy Pro Bono Program may be able to locate an attorney to assist you without charge. Contact Peggy Lord, Administrator, Bankruptcy Pro Bono Program, 1200 17th Street, Suite 3000, Denver, Colorado 80202, Telephone: (303) 628-9669, fax: (303) 623-9222, e-mail: plord@rothgerber.com. Contact the Program as soon as you receive notice of the case filed against you, as the proceeding has deadlines for which you are responsible even if you do not have an attorney. You may lose your case if you fail to meet the deadlines.
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45. How do I get errors removed from my credit report?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1681, is the law that controls credit reporting agencies. If you believe there is an error in your credit report and want to correct it, you should contact the credit reporting agencies.

You may obtain further information from the Federal Trade Commission. See "How to Dispute Credit Report Errors" at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre21.htm. Also, refer to their pages on credit issues at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/menus/consumer/credit.shtm.
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46. May I receive e-mail notifications of actions in my bankruptcy case?

If you are not represented by an attorney, you may sign up for e-mail notification of filings made in a case by completing and submitting the attached form to the Bankruptcy Court. Please note that by submitting the completed form, you are consenting to receive all notices required to be sent to you by the Bankruptcy Court by e-mail ONLY and you acknowledge and agree that such notices will NOT be sent to you by regular mail. You must keep the court notified of any changes in your e-mail address, which you may do by completing the form again and sending it to the court.
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U.S. Bankruptcy Court - District of Colorado - Debtor FAQs