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How many years will a bankruptcy show on my credit report? How long will it take before I can get credit?
The fact that an individual filed a bankruptcy can remain on the credit report no longer than 10 years under provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If a chapter 13 bankruptcy is successfully completed, the credit reporting industry retains the information for only seven years rather than the ten years allowed by law, according to the Associated Credit Bureaus, Inc. The decision whether to grant you credit in the future is strictly up to the creditor and varies from creditor to creditor depending on the type of credit requested. There is no law which prevents anyone from extending credit to you immediately after the filing of a bankruptcy nor will a creditor be required to extend credit to you.
How can I get information about a case?
Case information may be obtained by telephone, through the mail, or in person at the Clerk's Office public counters.
A. Obtaining Case Information By Telephone or the Internet
To permit you around-the-clock access to case information, the Clerk's Office has installed two automated case information systems. The Voice Case Information System, or VCIS, uses a computer-generated synthesized voice device to read case summary information directly from the court's computer in response to touch-tone telephone inquiries. VCIS is provided free of charge. Go to our VCIS web page.
PACER stands for Public Access to Court Electronic Records and it's a system that allows the public to access the Court's documents electronically.
Access the USBC, District of Maine PACER site at: https://ecf.meb.uscourts.gov
The charge for web access is $.10 per page. For complete information and instructions on how to get a PACER account, we suggest that you go to the Pacer Service Center site at: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/index.html
If you have any questions regarding the PACER system, please call the PACER Service Center at (800) 676-6856.
Basic case information that you are unable to access using an automated case information system may be obtained free of charge by calling the Clerk's Office.
You may also send an email directly from the home page.
B. Obtaining Case Information By Mail
To obtain case information by mail, send a written request containing the case number, the case name, the information you request, your name, address, a telephone number where you can be reached during business hours and the best time to call, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Written requests for information requiring a physical search of the court's records should be accompanied by a cashier's check, certified check, or money order sufficient to cover the applicable search fee.
C. Obtaining Case Information In Person
As a general rule, all documents in the court's case files and all court dockets are public record and available to the public for inspection. Files and dockets may be reviewed at the Clerk's Office public counters during business hours through our public terminals. All case data back to 1986 is currently on-line.
Due to limited storage space, closed case files are archived by periodically shipping them to the Federal Records Center in Waltham, Massachusetts for storage. Files and dockets stored at the Federal Records Center may be recalled to the Clerk's Office and reviewed in the Clerk's Office file review area. A $53.00 fee will be charged for each record retrieved from the Federal Records Center by the Clerk's Office. This fee must be paid before the Clerk's Office will recall a record.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES MAY YOU REMOVE FILES FROM THE FILE REVIEW AREA OR REMOVE DOCUMENTS FROM FILES. All files must be returned in proper order. The Clerk's Office is the keeper of the court's records and is responsible for maintaining their accuracy and integrity. Removal of files from the file review area, removal of documents from files or failure to return files in proper order will be deemed sufficient grounds to refuse to provide you with additional files.
Alternatively, you may travel to the Federal Records Center in Waltham to review the archived file or docket. (All personal visits to the Federal Records Center are by appointment only. Appointments are scheduled 7:00 am. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and must be requested by telephone at least 24 hours in advance. You must obtain the file or docket location, box, and accession numbers from the Clerk's Office and provide it to the Federal Records Center in order to review the file there.)
For more information about the Federal Records Center in Waltham, visit the National Archives and Records Administration website at: http://www.archives.gov/northeast/boston/index.html.
The Clerk's Office will not certify copies made by you. To obtain certified copies in person, you will be charged a $.50 per page photocopy fee plus a $11.00 per document certification fee.
Do I need an attorney to file for bankruptcy?
While it is possible to file an individual bankruptcy case 'pro se,' that is, without the assistance of an attorney, it is extremely difficult to do so successfully. Hiring a competent attorney is highly recommended. For information about referral programs, contact your local bar association.
What are the minimum required documents that can be submitted to the Court when filing a petition?
A petition containing the absolute minimum required documents consists of a voluntary petition, signature page, creditor matrix, certification of creditor matrix, and filing fee, application to pay filing fee in installments, or an in forma pauperis application.
What is the time requirement for submitting schedules after filing an incomplete/emergency petition?
Schedules and other documents, including the Means Test form and credit counseling certificate must be filed within fourteen (14) days after the filing of a petition or appropriate action will be taken to dismiss the case for failure to file required documents.
Can creditors be added after the discharge is issued?
Yes, creditors can be added at anytime during the pendency of the case and must be accompanied by a $32.00 fee.
Can creditors be added after the case is closed?
An attorney experienced in the bankruptcy law should be consulted because the answer depends on the specific facts of the case. However, in general, a debtor may file a motion to reopen the case and then may file a motion to amend the appropiate schedules and the creditor matrix. It will be the debtor's responsibility to serve the added creditor(s), in addition to all others, the United States Trustee, and any trustee appointd to the case, with notice of the motion to reopen the case.
What is a Disclosure Statement?
The Disclosure Statement is a document which provides a profile of the corporation, financial information and an overview of the proposed Plan of Reorganization. This information is useful to creditors in deciding whether to accept or reject the proposed Plan of Reorganization.
What is a Plan of Reorganization?
The Plan of Reorganization is a document that sets out how a debtor-in-possession will repay creditors. The plan divides creditors into classes. It specifies the treatment of claims for each class of creditor and provides a means for the plan's implementation. The debtor-in-possession has the exclusive right to file a plan for up to 120 days after the filing of the petition. After this exclusivity period has expired, creditors may file a plan.
I am a creditor in a Chapter 11 case and the Plan of Reorganization has been approved. Can the Clerk's Office explain to me why I have not as yet received any payments and when will payments commence?
All questions regarding payments under a confirmed plan should be directed to the Attorney for the Debtor-in-Possession.