A bankruptcy case for a is started by filing a petition for bankruptcy relief under chapter 7 or chapter 13 with the Clerk of the United States Bankruptcy Court.  Chapter 11 is usually only used by businesses or very high income individuals.  Involuntary petitions are filed by creditors seeking to force a person or individual into bankruptcy.

Petition for Bankruptcy ReliefFile Bankruptcy Petition

Whether the bankruptcy case is filed under chapter 7 or chapter 13, the case is begun by the filing of a petition for relief with the United States Bankruptcy Court. In the bankruptcy petition, you are required to set forth your full name, any names you have used during the past eight years, including business names. You must also set forth your address, your mailing address, social security number, and marital status

Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs

Schedules A – J

Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, you are required to file schedules A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and J, and the “Statement of Financial of Affairs. ” Each schedule lists a different item, such as amount of assets, liabilities, income and expenses. These schedules must be fully and accurately completed and are signed under the penalty of perjury.

Statement of Financial Affairs

Under the Bankruptcy Code, you are also required to file a “Statement of Financial Affairs”. This form requires you to disclosure, fully and accurate, various information, including your recent yearly income from wages and business, transfers of property, gifts, pending lawsuit, ownership of businesses, closed bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, and accountants.

Form B22 or the “Means Test”

Form B22, often referred to as the “means test”  is also required to be filed. This form was added by the amendments to the Bankruptcy Code in 2005. This form performs various functions in a chapter 7 and a chapter 13 case.  The functions for a chapter 7 case are different from its function in a chapter 13 case.  Form B22 is a lengthy form which makes a calculation based on your income and expenses.

Form B22 in a Chapter 7 Case

The most important function of Form B22 in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case filed by a person with primarily consumer debt, is whether the case is subject to dismissal as a “presumptively abusive” case.  It is important to note, that even if one “passes” the means test, the case is still subject to possible to dismissal on other grounds, such as the “totality of the circumstances.”

Form B22 in a Chapter 13 Case

Form B22 performs various functions in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case.  Many of the line items completed the form are the subject of debate and are subject to ongoing case law, (including recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions) as Form B22 was just instituted in 2005.

One function is to determine whether the chapter 13 plan is required to be 3 or 5 years in length. Another function is to determine the amount that is required to be paid under the chapter 13 plan.