Most states have three districts that deal with US bankruptcy courts: a northern district, a middle district, and a southern district. People looking to file chapter 7 bankruptcy will need to file for bankruptcy in the district who handles cases for the county where you live. Decide which type of bankruptcy is needed by doing research on both types. Many people choose to file Chapter 7 when they have a limited income, along with plenty of unsecured debt and minimal assets. People with a regular income with a good portion of secured debt may often choose Chapter 13 as a way to repay part of their debts over time.

Check local and federal websites for free chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. The specific forms a person needs will be dictated by their specific situation and the chapter in which they want to file. Both chapters include a voluntary bankruptcy petition and a number of schedules that detail the person’s financial stability. Once the individual has determined which type of bankruptcy they want to file, he or she should hire a bankruptcy attorney so they can properly prepare his or her bankruptcy forms. Many sites offer instructions on how to choose the forms needed and how to fill them out properly. Individuals will also need to prepare a request for waiving the filing fee. While you file this application and other forms of bankruptcy with the clerk of court, a bankruptcy judge will make the final decision about whether or not you are eligible to have the fee waived.

Once all forms are filled out, make two copies of everything and take the originals and copies to the Clerk of the US District Court where you are filing the case. Once the case is filed, an automatic suspension begins immediately. Meanwhile, none of the creditors may contact the person until the judge makes a determination. The court may schedule a meeting with a bankruptcy trustee overseeing the case. They may have questions about the documents filed. The creditors are allowed to come to this meeting, but it is rare for them to show up unless the filer has assets to which they may be entitled to.

People will usually receive their official discharge within two to three months of filing and be sure to keep a copy of it for your records. Folks can file for a fresh start once every seven years. For a bankruptcy judge to waive the filing fee, the filer must prove that his or her income is below 150 percent of the poverty threshold for the size of your family.