United States Courts
Bankruptcy helps people who can no longer pay their debts get a fresh start by liquidating assets to pay their debts or by creating a repayment plan. Bankruptcy laws also protect financially troubled businesses. This section explains the bankruptcy process and laws.
Filing bankruptcy can help a person by discarding debt or making a plan to repay debts. A bankruptcy case normally begins when the debtor files a petition with the bankruptcy court. A petition may be filed by an individual, by spouses together, or by a corporation or other entity.
All bankruptcy cases are handled in federal courts under rules outlined in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
There are different types of bankruptcies, which are usually referred to by their chapter in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Bankruptcy Basicsprovides detailed information about filing.
Seeking the advice of a qualified lawyer is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences. Individuals can file bankruptcy without a lawyer, which is called filing pro se.Learn more.
Use the forms that are numbered in the 100 series to file bankruptcy for individuals or married couples. Use the forms that are numbered in the 200 series if you are preparing a bankruptcy on behalf of a nonindividual, such as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). Sole proprietors must use the forms that are numbered in the 100 series.
If you need help finding a bankruptcy lawyer, the resources below may help. If you are unable to afford an attorney, you may qualify for free legal services.