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Frequently Asked Questions
Who may file documents in CM/ECF?
Filing a document in CM/ECF requires a login and password. Each court sets its own policy as to who will be eligible to register for CM/ECF logins and passwords. Courts offering electronic filing generally provide CM/ECF access to attorneys, U.S. Trustees, and bankruptcy case trustees.
If you are an attorney or creditor who will be filing in the Northern District of Georgia on a regular basis, the ECF Registration Forms are available on this website. Choose Attorney or Creditor to access the forms.
What are the technical requirements for filing documents in CM/ECF?
• A personal computer with a current operating system and updated virus protection.
• An Internet connection. The faster the Internet connection, the easier CM/ECF is to use. It is recommended that participants obtain fast access to the Internet using DSL, cable or T-1 lines.
• A scanner. Documents that are not on a participant’s computer in the form of word processing files must be scanned to be filed electronically.
• A printer.
• A word processing application. The Court standard is Microsoft Word which allows documents to be converted to the PDF format. Other word processors, such as WordPerfect, have this capability as well.
• Adobe Acrobat.
• An Internet browser. CM/ECF has been tested with Firefox and Internet Explorer 8 and 9.
• Petition Preparation software with the case upload feature. Even though it is not required, the increased productivity of professional Petition Preparation software with the case upload feature may justify the additional cost.
• A PACER account to access reports and documents in the CM/ECF database, in addition to a login and password issued by the Court.
• A valid credit or debit card acceptable for payment of filing fees via CM/ECF.
Do documents that will be filed in CM/ECF need to be in a particular format?
CM/ECF is designed to accept only documents in PDF format. This format was chosen because it allows a document to retain its pagination, formatting, and fonts no matter what type of computer is used to view or print the document. Adobe developed the format, and offers software that allows conversion to PDF of documents created in most word processing systems. Several word processing and other programs contain features that convert documents created in those programs into PDF. (To improve security and archiving capabilities, plans are underway to require that all filers use the new PDF/A format.)
Are there fees associated with CM/ECF?
There are no additional fees for filing documents over the Internet using CM/ECF. Only standard court document filing fees apply. Electronic access to individual case docket sheets and filed documents is available through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) program. Litigants receive one free copy of documents filed electronically in their cases through a link in the e-mailed Notice of Electronic Filing; additional copies are available to attorneys and to the general public for viewing or downloading through PACER. There is no charge to view court opinions and court calendars. As directed by Congress, the judiciary's electronic public access program is funded entirely through user fees set by the Judicial Conference of the United States.
How will users learn how to file documents in CM/ECF?
Filing documents in CM/ECF is easy; generally only a minimal amount of training is needed. More information about training in the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia will be provided after you submit your registration form.
A participant must complete the training provided by the Court and learn the basics using the training database before the Clerk will issue a login and password to the LIVE database. The CM/ECF Live password will not be assigned until a participant has demonstrated sufficient aptitude in using CM/ECF, based on testing conducted by Court personnel. Training requirements may be waived for current CM/ECF participants in another Bankruptcy Court.
The PACER Service Center website also has computer-based training modules and FAQs.
How do I sign up to file electronically?
How do I add additional email addresses to my CM/ECF account?
Any email address changes need to be made by the Clerk's Office. Please email the change(s) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a set of federal laws and rules that can help individuals and businesses who owe more debt than they can pay. Federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. This means that a bankruptcy case cannot be filed in a state court.
Bankruptcy laws help people who can no longer pay their creditors get a fresh start by liquidating their assets to pay their debts, or by creating a repayment plan. Bankruptcy laws also protect troubled businesses and provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation. These procedures are covered under Title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code). The vast majority of cases are filed under the three main chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, which are Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13.
Bankruptcy Basics is a publication of the Bankruptcy Judges Division of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. It provides basic information to debtors, creditors, court personnel, the media, and the general public on different aspects of federal bankruptcy laws. It also provides individuals who may be considering bankruptcy with a basic explanation of the different chapters under which a bankruptcy case may be filed and answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the bankruptcy process.
Who can file a bankruptcy?
Almost anyone can file a bankruptcy case, though there are restrictions. For instance, there are specific debt levels for filing under Chapter 13 and if you file under Chapter 7, in certain situations your case may be converted to Chapter 13 if it appears you have sufficient income (or means) to repay some of your debts. Further, if you have been in a previous bankruptcy case that was dismissed, your eligibility to file another bankruptcy case or obtain the benefit of the automatic stay in a subsequent case could be affected. In all cases, it is advisable to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in making this decision so that you understand your rights and obligations.
Should I file? and Which chapter is right for me?
Deciding whether to file bankruptcy and under which chapter is an extremely important decision and should be made only after a review of all the relevant facts. This is a decision greatly influenced by the amount of debt and the ability to make payments to creditors. Anyone considering filing for bankruptcy protection should investigate all possible options, and should speak with an attorney who is familiar with bankruptcy for an explanation of the law specfic to their circumstances.
Bankruptcy Basics is a publication of the Bankruptcy Judges Division of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. It provides individuals who may be considering bankruptcy with a basic explanation of the different chapters under which a bankruptcy case may be filed and answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the bankruptcy process.