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Information for Petitioners

Welcome to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. The Court’s website provides information for individuals that are filing, or considering filing, bankruptcy without an attorney. Below you will find useful information about bankruptcy, including resources and educational materials. In addition, the Court's "Filing Without an Attorney" tab has information about how to obtain a free legal consultation or seek potential representation, how to upload documents to the court, and how to request email notification about your case.

  • Should You Hire an Attorney?

    Corporations and partnerships must have an attorney to file a bankruptcy case. While individuals may appear “pro se” (without an attorney) in the bankruptcy court, it is recommended that you obtain the legal services of a bankruptcy attorney.  Only an attorney is authorized to give legal advice regarding a bankruptcy case or proceeding. Click here for information on filing without an attorney.

    The Clerk’s Office is prohibited from giving legal advice (28 U.S.C. § 955).

  • Bankruptcy Basics

  • Personal Bankruptcy: Is It Right For You? (ENGLISH)

  • Quiebra personal: ¿es adecuada para usted? (ESPANOL)

  • Checklists and Instruction Sheets for Individual Petitioners

  • Filing Fees

    • Certain individual debtors may qualify to pay the chapter 7 filing fee in installments or request that the court waive the fee based upon the debtor's income in relation to the national poverty guidelines. Click here for information the payment of filing fees, paying in installments, and requesting waiver of the filing fee.

  • Means Testing
    • The Bankruptcy Code requires that debtors provide certain income and expense information to determine if individual consumer debtors qualify for relief under chapter 7 (means testing). Click here for information on the means test.

  • During the course of a bankruptcy case or proceeding, bankruptcy court notices are mailed by the Bankruptcy Noticing Center (BNC) on behalf of the court. The BNC, which is operated by a private contractor, provides notice production and mailing services for the court, but THE BNC IS NOT THE COURT. DO NOT SEND DOCUMENTS TO THE BNC. Documents related to a bankruptcy case or proceeding should be sent directly to the court.
  • Click here for information on filing fees and fees for accessing the Court’s electronic case docket.