When facing an emergency like a wage garnishment or home foreclosure, quickly getting the "automatic stay" in place is critical. It's the order that stops creditor actions and gives you room to breath. Using the streamlined "emergency" or "skeleton" bankruptcy procedure will help you get on track fast. Learn what you need to know about emergency filings, including:
Also, take a moment to learn how bankruptcy works and what you should know about bankruptcy. And don't forget our quick ten-question bankruptcy quiz–it can help you spot potential bankruptcy issues fast.
Filing a complete bankruptcy petition is a time-consuming endeavor. Here's how to proceed with a Chapter 7 emergency filing when you don't have time to waste.
It's essential to know a Chapter 7 filing will solve your financial problems and not create more because filers don't have an automatic right to dismiss a Chapter 7 case. Start by checking your ability to do the following things:
You won't have to file a full bankruptcy petition to get started. Here are the forms you'll need to file a Chapter 7 (or Chapter 13) emergency bankruptcy:
You must complete and file the remaining bankruptcy forms within 15 days. You'll also pay a $338 filing fee ($313 for Chapter 13) along with the skeleton petition unless you include a fee waiver application (check your court's requirements).
If you need more time, request a new deadline from the court. If you don't file the remaining forms, the court will dismiss your matter. You'll find links to fillable, downloadable bankruptcy forms at the end of the article.
Filing for Chapter 13 is even more labor-intensive than Chapter 7. The emergency Chapter 13 filing shortcut comes in handy when you've got to move fast.
Find out whether Chapter 13 will work for you by checking your ability to do the following things:
You'll file the same emergency bankruptcy forms used in Chapter 7, but the filing fee will be $313. The remaining Chapter 13 bankruptcy forms will also be due within 15 days. Be sure to make the first plan payment within 30 days of your initial emergency bankruptcy filing, even though the court won't have approved your plan by that time.
Bankruptcy is an unusual area of law because it's essentially a qualification process. The laws provide instructions for completing a 50- to 60-page bankruptcy petition, and because all rules apply in every case, you can't skip a step.
The forms and resources below will help you find more information. Also, you can use this list of Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy forms to see where this topic falls. And this handy bankruptcy document checklist will help you gather the things you'll need to complete the petition.
More Bankruptcy Information
We want to help you find the answers you need. Go to TheBankruptcySite for more easy-to-understand bankruptcy articles, or consider buying a self-help book like The New Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O'Neill.
We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by consulting with a local bankruptcy lawyer.
Updated January 10, 2022