Day 1: File Bankruptcy Petition with Court & Pay Filing Fees


Filing a bankruptcy petition is your official request to the court to open your bankruptcy case. The "bankruptcy petition package" refers to the complete set of court documents required to open a bankruptcy case.

For more information on the bankruptcy process you can visit the Don't Have a Lawyer page or you can visit the courthouse to attend a free Bankruptcy Clinic.* Employees of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court are not permitted to recommend or refer you to a lawyer or provide legal advice, including how to complete the bankruptcy forms or which forms may be required in your bankruptcy case. However, you may qualify for free or reduced legal assistance.

Once you complete your petition package, you can file it by bringing it to the intake window of the clerk's office at your divisional courthouse. At the time of filing, you will have to pay a filing fee in the exact amount since the clerk's office does not provide change. For additional information you can review the Filing Fees and Acceptable Forms of Payment page.

If you have trouble paying the filing fee, the court may grant you permission to pay in installments. If your income is below 150% of the poverty level and you are unable to pay the fees even in installments, the court may waive the fee requirement. Please see Local Rule 1006-1 (Installment Payments and Chapter 7 Fee Waivers) for more information.


You must complete your Credit Counseling Course within 180 days BEFORE filing your bankruptcy petition package.

* Visit Court Locations: Where do I file? to find the courthouse near you.