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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a bankruptcy trustee?
In all Chapter 7, 12, 13 and in some Chapter 11 cases, a case trustee is assigned. In Chapter 7 cases they are called “Panel Trustees.” In Chapter 12 and 13 cases they are called “Standing Trustees.” The Trustee’s job is to administer the bankruptcy estate, to make sure creditors receive as much money as possible, and to preside over the first meeting of creditors. The Trustee either collects and sells non-exempt estate property and distributes the sale proceeds to creditors as in a Chapter 7 case or collects payments from the debtor and pays out money on a repayment plan, as in Chapter 13 cases. In some Chapter 11 cases, the debtor-in-possession is replaced by a Chapter 11 Trustee who administers the estate. The Trustee is not your attorney.
What is the role of the US Trustee?
The United States Trustee (“U.S. Trustee”) is an officer of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates, and case trustees, and for monitoring plans and disclosure statements, monitoring Chapter 11 creditors’ committees, monitoring fee applications, and performing other statutory duties. The U.S. Trustee is not a case trustee and does not administer any debtor's estate. For more information, visit www.justice.gov/ust/
How can I get information about a bankruptcy case?
Generally, all documents filed with a court are public records and are available through the Clerk's Office. By way of exception, some documents are sealed by special court order.
As the keeper of court records, the Clerk's Office responds to most inquiries on the status of a case once given the case number. In many courts, inquiries for information and requests to examine dockets, case files, exhibits, and other records are made at the intake area in the clerk's office. Inquiries often are made by phone. For more information, see Case Information.
I received a notice that I filed a “deficiency pleading”, what does that mean?
A Notice of Deficiency or a Miscellaneous Deficiency is a notice generated by the Clerk’s Office to notify filers of a requirement(s) not met by a filing.
May Court staff give legal advice?
No. A bankruptcy case is a legal proceeding affecting the rights of debtors, creditors and other parties in interest. Judges’ staff and Clerk’s Office staff cannot engage in the practice of law or provide legal advice. Court staff will offer no opinion on the probable disposition of any pending matter before the Court and can only answer procedural questions.
What are the legal holidays?
The legal holidays prescribed by 5 U.S.C. § 6103. Holidays, occur on the days and dates in the following table. If the date on which any order, process, pleading or other matter due or made returnable on any of these holidays, the date is extended and continued to the following business day. This Court and the Clerk’s Office will be closed on these holidays:
Where can I find bankruptcy forms?
Where do I file my bankruptcy case?
The Northern District of Georgia has four divisions, each with a staffed Clerk’s Office. All four divisional Clerk’s Offices are open from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (except legal holidays). Refer to the Court's website for the street addresses, public telephone numbers, and mailing addresses for each divisional office and directions to each office.
What is an automatic stay?
The filing of a voluntary, joint, or involuntary petition under any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code automatically operates as a stay against the commencement or continuation of most judicial, administrative, or other proceedings against the debtor or property of the debtor's estate. The stay gives the Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 debtor "breathing time" for rehabilitation and gives the Chapter 7 Trustee the protection necessary for administering the assets of the estate and relieves the Chapter 7 debtor from the pressure of creditor collection efforts. During this time, creditors should not contact a debtor about debts or take action to recover property in which they claim a security interest.
There are also some limitations on the automatic stay if the debtor has had a previous case or cases dismissed under certain circumstances within the preceding twelve months. If a second case under these circumstances is filed, the stay as to some property will only be good for 30 days. If a third case is filed, then the automatic stay may not apply.
What does the case number tell me?
Case numbers are assigned to each case when the case is filed. This number begins with the year it is filed and is used to identify the case. This is placed on every document filed in the case and will be needed to retrieve case information.