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Frequently Asked Questions
Will bankruptcy stop eviction?
The Clerk's Office is prohibited from providing legal advice. Please contact the sheriff's department or an attorney with questions on how a bankruptcy filing affects eviction proceedings.
How can I find a case number?
You can find case number and other case information anytime of the day or night from the “Public Access to Court Electronic Records” (PACER) website. The website may be found at the following link:
If the case has been filed in the Northern District of Oklahoma, the case number and limited case information is also available by calling the Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (McVCIS) at (866) 222-8029.
What happens after I file my bankruptcy case?
A general explanation of the bankruptcy process may be found at:
What are exemptions?
The law allows debtors to keep or “exempt” certain assets; this is an “exemption” and such property is called an “exempt asset,” which means that it is protected from distribution to your creditors. Exemptions are defined by Oklahoma state laws. Examples of exempt assets may include: vehicles up to a certain value, a certain amount of equity in a home, and tools of your trade. Debtors are required to list the items they claim as exempt on Schedule C (Official Bankruptcy Form B106C).
Deciding which assets are exempt can be one of the more important and complex parts of your bankruptcy case. The failure to properly claim an exemption may result in the loss of your right to claim the exemption. It is extremely important to consult an attorney if you have any questions.
Oklahoma State exemptions can be found in the Oklahoma Statutes at the following link:
How do I know if a debt is secured, unsecured, priority, or administrative?
A secured debt is a debt that is backed by collateral (i.e. property). Typically, things like a car or a house are collateral to a secured loan. For example, when people obtain a loan to buy a car, they give the lender a "security interest" in the car. Such a loan would be a "secured debt" because the lender could take the car if the borrower failed to make the loan payments.
A debt is unsecured if you have simply promised to pay someone a sum of money at a particular time, and you have not pledged any real or personal property as collateral for that debt. Typically things like medical bills, utility bills, and credit card bills are unsecured debts.
A priority debt is a debt entitled to be paid ahead of most other debts in a bankruptcy case. The Bankruptcy Code defines what debts are entitled to priority. Some examples of priority debts are: claims for domestic support obligations, some taxes, and wage claims of employees.
If you have questions deciding which of your debts are entitled to priority status, you should consult an attorney.
An administrative debt is a type of priority debt created when someone provides goods or services to the bankruptcy estate during the case. Attorney fees, trustee fees, and other authorized professional fees are examples of administrative debt.
If you have questions about the nature of a debt, you should consult an attorney
Where will my section 341 meeting of creditors be held?
Generally, the 341 meeting of creditors is conducted at the Bankruptcy Court at 224 S. Boulder, Room B04, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74103. However, during the National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the meetings of creditors are being held telephonically. The exact date, time, and location of your meeting will be mailed to you within a few days of your initial filing on Official Bankruptcy Form B309 titled “Notice of Bankruptcy Case.” Be sure to read your “Notice of Bankruptcy Case” document (Official Bankruptcy Form B309) for specific dial in and access code information.
What is a meeting of creditors? What happens there?
The meeting of creditors, which is also sometimes referred to as a "341 meeting," is a meeting all debtors must personally attend. If the case involves spouses filing jointly, both spouses must appear at this meeting. The primary purpose of this meeting is to provide an opportunity for creditors and the trustee to question the debtors under oath about their bankruptcy petition and schedules.
At the meeting of creditors, the trustee reviews the debtor's petition and schedules face-to-face with the debtor. The debtor is required to answer questions under penalty of perjury (swearing or affirming to tell the truth) about the debtor's conduct, property, liabilities, financial condition, and any other matter that may affect the administration of the case or the debtor's right to discharge.
How can I change or correct information in the petition, statements, or schedules I have already filed?
The information contained in your petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs is submitted under penalty of perjury. Therefore, you must be certain that it is correct when you sign these documents. If, however, you later discover that something is inaccurate or incomplete, the documents may be corrected by filing either an “amendment” or an “amendment to” the documents with the Clerk's Office. Any amendment to schedules or statements must be signed and verified by the debtor(s), and a fee of must be paid in certain situations. A link to the fee schedules is provided below.
When creditors are added after case filing, the debtor also has certain noticing duties and deadlines according to federal and local rules.
If you have questions about amendments, please consult an attorney.
What is the means test?
The means test is a statement on an official form that must be completed by individual debtors filing for bankruptcy relief. Joint debtors may generally complete a single form. Official Bankruptcy Form B122A-1 is the form Chapter 7 debtors will complete for "means testing" purposes; Official Bankruptcy Form B122C-1 is the form Chapter 13 debtors will complete. A link to the Official Bankruptcy Forms is provided below:
A debtor must enter income and expense information on the appropriate Form B122, and then make calculations using the information entered. Some of the data needed to complete these forms, such as a debtor's current monthly income, comes from the debtor's own personal records. Other information needed to complete the forms comes from the Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standards.
A link with more in depth information from the U.S. Trustee program is provided below.
What is credit counseling? What is personal financial management instruction? Are there required forms?
"Credit counseling" is a class session taken from a provider approved by the U.S. Trustee. It is a requirement for all individual debtors filing bankruptcy, and must be completed in the 180-days before filing bankruptcy. When filing jointly, each spouse must complete credit counseling. When the counseling session has been completed, the counselor will issue a certificate that must be filed with the court. The failure to file a properly issued "Certificate of Credit Counseling" will result in the dismissal of your bankruptcy case in almost all circumstances.
"Personal financial management" instruction, also called "debtor education," is obtained after your case has been filed. It is required of each individual debtor, including both spouses in a joint case. Each debtor must file a "Certificate About A Financial Management Course" (Official Bankruptcy Form B423).
Approved credit counseling agencies and debtor education providers are available from the U. S. Trustee at the following link:
Exceptions to the above requirements might be available in certain circumstances. Examples would include but not be limited to: prior military service in a combat area, disability, handicap, certain defined emergency situations, insufficient approved agencies.