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How to File for bankruptcy

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Bankruptcy Info for Your Zip Code

Free . . . anonymous . . . for Your Zip Code  

What, When, Where &
How to File Bankruptcy

Learn how to file bankrupcty with overview of what is involved in filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Court Information

The local bankruptcy court infopage provides maps and information about your local federal district bankruptcy court and how to find the courts "local rules."

Free Bankruptcy Forms

check out the free downloadable bankruptcy forms where you can get the forms that you'll (or your lawyer) will need to fill out if you decide to file

Bankruptcy Links

The topic of bankruptcy is larger than this website. It takes the whole internet to cover all the aspects of a topic like bankruptcy. When we find good stuff, we link to it. Links - News - Blogs


50 State Bankruptcy Exemption Laws

The state bankruptcy exemptions (also known as asset protection laws) show you the bankruptcy property exemption laws for your state

Featuring inflation adjustments for Federal exemptions, and April 2014 Michigan exemption adjustments.

Free Means Test Calculator

A free bankruptcy means test calculatorapplies the local income and expense deduction standards for your state, county and metropolitain area to help you determine whether you pass the "means test" for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

New Means Test Income & Expense Standards nationwide effective May 1, 2014.

Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Your Zip Code

Want help? The local bankruptcy servicespage uses your zip code to connect you with local credit counsellors, lawyers and other service providers who can help you if need want advice or help with the filing process.


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Congress changed the bankruptcy laws to make it harder for people to file. This website makes it easier.

The "Bankruptcy Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2005" (BAPCPA) is a bad law. Some lawyers and law professors have taken to calling it the "Bankruptcy Abuse Reform Fiasco" (BARF). It's based on false assumptions about why people get into financial trouble and imposes additional rules and paperwork on people already overwhelmed by bad luck and unpayable debt.

Despite these new obstacles, bankruptcy law still provides valuable benefits to those who need it. It helps you get on with your life. Indeed, "getting on with your life" is the whole point of bankruptcy -- to put your debts behind you and go forward with a "fresh start." This website helps you learn about the benefits of bankruptcy and how to obtain them. It lists relevant and affordable products and services that can help you file

for bankruptcy with a minimum of expense and hassle.

Information is not advice. Although this website will give you a lot of information about bankruptcy law and procedure, it does not -- and cannot -- tell you, specifically, how this information applies to your exact situation. Nor can it advise you which course of action is right for you.

Also, I attempt to keep this information up to date, but you are responsible for confirming its accuracy before relying on it. This website is intended as a supplement to other materials, such as the book I co-author.

The listings of bankruptcy products and services are not endorsements. They are intended to expose you to the full range of tools and services that can help you file for bankruptcy. Think of these listings as a phone book, not a referral. It is up to you to evaluate the quality of those products or services and make your own purchasing decisions. If there are third-party reviews of products or services, I attempt to quote or link to them.

Proud member of NACBA
NACBA Member

Remember to bookmark this website if you have found it helpful so far. You won't find a more comprehensive collection of bankruptcy resources and information anywhere on the Web. Make it your starting point for your bankruptcy research. And tell your friends.

Best of luck to you as you traverse your financial troubles.
Albin Renauer, RelationalVision, LLC
co-author of How to File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (Nolo)


Welcome, users of Nolo's
How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy helps you find local information and services to help you file for bankruptcy.

If you don't own the book, you can still use this site and the free means test calculator.

Don't own a copy?

Learn more...

Albin Renauer, the operator of and the Means Test Calculator, is also a coauthor of Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy provides clear, user-friendly information and all the forms you need to get through the entire bankruptcy process. The book and the local resources you'll find on are a perfect combination. The book is designed to work with's means test calculator and lists of exemption laws, which determine what property you'd get to keep in bankruptcy.

The book covers the entire process, and gives you the line-by-line instructions you need to fill out the required Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. Meanwhile, this website gives you access to the latest local court information and county standards for the means test calculations that you must do to file a sucessful bankruptcy petition.

But first, use the book to find out whether you qualify for Chapter 7 -- and whether or not it's the best way to deal with your debts. It's important to learn what bankruptcy cannot do. You don't want to go to all the trouble of filing bankruptcy only to find out that the it won't help solve your particular problem or kind of debt. The book clearly explains what doesn't bankruptc yan and cannot do.

If you do decide Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right option, you'll learn how you can use it to:

  • cancel as much debt as possible
  • stop wage garnishments and attachments
  • keep the maximum amount of property using exemption laws
  • deal with secured debts and liens on your property
  • keep your home and car, if possible.

If you think you want to file for bankruptcy but aren't sure you can afford to hire an attorney, How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will help you learn what it takes to complete your bankruptcy petition on your own and complete the bankruptcy process.

You'll also learn how to rebuild your credit rating after bankruptcy.

Note: How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy doe s not cover business bankruptcies, farm reorganizations (Chapter 12) or individual repayment plans (Chapter 13). For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see Nolo's  Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Keep Your Property & Repay Debts Over Time.

"Clear instructions on when and how to fill out the necessary forms."

"Exceptionally clear…"
-The New York Times

"A do-it-yourself bankruptcy book for people who can’t afford expensive lawyers."


Inclluded Forms:

  • Current Monthly Income Worksheet
  • Personal Property Checklist
  • Property Exemption Worksheet
  • Homeowners’ Worksheet
  • Bankruptcy Forms Checklist
  • Bankruptcy Documents Checklist
  • Median Family Income Chart
  • Judicial Lien Worksheet
  • Amendment Cover Sheet
  • Notice of Change of Address
  • Supplemental Schedule for Property Acquired After Bankruptcy Discharge
  • Proof of Service by Mail
  • Pleading Paper 

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Press Reviews

"Exceptionally clear."
The New York Times
"How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy advises on everything from how to file court papers to how to respond to threats from creditors.... A do-it-yourself bankruptcy book for people who can’t afford expensive lawyers."
"An in-depth guide to filing under Chapter 7, including state-by-state and federal exemptions as well as forms for do-it-yourself filers."
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine
"Can help you decide if bankruptcy is the right option for you."
Detroit News
"A valuable, easy-to-understand workbook."
Los Angeles Times
"Includes clear instructions on when and how to fill out all the necessary forms, which assets you may legally keep, even advice on whether your case is complicated enough to make it worth your while to hire a lawyer."
"The best [bankruptcy books] I know are published by Nolo."
Harry S. Gross, host of
“Speaking of Your Money”
"Covers all the recent changes to the bankruptcy law, and shows you how to get through the entire process with the least damage."
Accounting Today

Customer Review

"I bit the bullet, and purchased Nolo's How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. I represented myself in court and I was granted a discharge of all debts five months later."
Danielle A.,
Richmond, VA

Buy & Download now: Nolo (publisher)

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
Keep Your Property & Repay Your Debts Over Time
(11th edition, 2012)

Chapter 13 Bakruptcy Book
Are you behind on your mortgage, taxes or other bills? Are creditors threatening foreclosure or repossession? Consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which can give you an affordable repayment plan -- and let you keep your house, car and other property. Use this plain-English guide to decide whether or not it's right for you.

Nolo's Chapter 13 Bankruptcy breaks down the Chapter 13 process and provides clear explanations of the law. First, you can:

  • consider nonbankruptcy alternatives for solving your debt problems
  • decide which is better for you -- Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
  • determine whether you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Then, delve deeper into Chapter 13 and find out:

  • how filing bankruptcy stops creditors instantly (the "automatic stay")
  • how Chapter 13 can help you avoid foreclosure
  • whether you can reduce your car loan balance, or the balance on other secured debts
  • whether you can get rid of second mortgages or home equity debt

If you think Chapter 13 bankruptcy could work for you, you'll be ready to:

  • determine (with the book's forms and step-by-step instructions) whether you have enough income to come up with a repayment plan that the court will approve
  • calculate the amount of your monthly plan payment
  • find and work effectively with an excellent lawyer, and
  • rebuild your credit after bankruptcy.

This newest edition includes information on hiring and working with a lawyer, recent court rulings that interpret the federal bankruptcy laws. You'll also find the latest bankruptcy exemption laws in your state, which determine what copy you can keep, and recent IRS standard expense amounts, which affect Chapter 13 plan payments.

In Paperback and eBook (Adobe Reader)
Pub. Date: May 2012
Edition: 11th
Pages: 496 pp
ISBN: 9781413310696
Forms: 29 forms

List Price: 39.99
Buy now:
Nolo (publisher)


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Repay Your Debts

Press Reviews

"In Nolo’s usual thorough fashion, here is a guide to an alternative to the typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy."
Orange County Register
"An excellent book that can guide you through the [Chapter 13] process."
Forbes Magazine
"Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will save you a fortune in attorney fees and confusion."
The Midwest Book Review
"This is the best book going if you choose to file alone or if you want background on the Chapter 13 process."
Attorney Gary Klein,
co-author of Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice
"An excellent resource..."
Consumers Digest
"Contains many tear-out forms, federal and state exemptions charts, and the most recent legal documents and instructions on how to fill them out. "
Reference & Research Book News

Buy now: Nolo (publisher)


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Consumer Bankruptcy In the News...

  • Is your credit report wrong? How to find out and fix it
    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - 2/13/2013 (Corey Stone)

    "The Federal Trade Commission this week released its latest findings in a ten-year study on the accuracy of credit reports. This report is another reminder of how important it is to review your credit report for inaccuracies.

    You can check your three credit reports for free once every 12 months at Dispute any errors, and contact the company that reported the incorrect information to correct it.
    " ...more...

  • 401(k) breaches undermining retirement security for millions
    Washington Post - 1/15/2013 (Michael A. Fletcher)

    "A large and growing share of American workers are tapping their retirement savings accounts for non-retirement needs, raising broad questions about the effectiveness of one of the most important savings vehicles for old age.

    More than one in four American workers with 401(k) and other retirement savings accounts use them to pay current expenses, new data show. The withdrawals, cash-outs and loans drain nearly a quarter of the $293 billion that workers and employers deposit into the accounts each year, undermining already shaky retirement security for millions of Americans.
    " ...more...

  • New Mortgage Rules Would Limit Risky Lending
    NPR - 1/10/2013 (Yuki Noguchi)

    "The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is releasing Thursday much anticipated new mortgage rules, which will restrict the kind of subprime lending practices that caused both the financial and housing sectors to crash five years ago." ...more...

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues rules to strengthen protections for high-cost mortgages
    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau - 1/10/2013 ()

    "WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued final rules to strengthen consumer protections for high-cost mortgages and to provide consumers with information about homeownership counseling. The Bureau also finalized a rule that requires escrow accounts be established for a minimum of five years for certain higher-priced mortgage loans." ...more...

  • Bank of America to Pay $10 Billion in Settlement With Fannie Mae
    New York Times - 1/7/2013 ()

    "Bank of America agreed on Monday to pay more than $10 billion to Fannie Mae to settle claims over troubled mortgages that soured during the housing crash, mostly loans issued by the bank’s Countrywide Financial subsidiary.

    Under the terms of the pact, Bank of America will pay Fannie Mae $3.6 billion, and will also spend $6.75 billion to buy back mortgages from the housing finance giant at a discount to their original value.
    " ...more...

  • U.S. Banks to Pay $8.5 Billion to Settle Foreclosure Missteps
    Bloomberg - 1/7/2013 (Jesse Hamilton)

    "Ten of the largest U.S. mortgage servicers will pay a combined $8.5 billion under an agreement that will end case-by-case reviews of foreclosure-abuse claims stemming from a 2011 deal with regulators.
    Companies including JPMorgan Chase & Co., (JPM) Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. (C) must provide $5.2 billion in mortgage assistance and $3.3 billion in direct payments to wronged borrowers, according to a settlement announced today by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve. They were among 14 servicers ordered to hire independent consultants to help clean up foreclosure practices amid claims that they improperly seized homes in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis.
    " ...more...

  • Relief for Student Borrowers
    New York Times - 1/1/2013 ()

    "College graduates who began their careers during the Great Recession faced several long-term economic obstacles. These included lower earnings, higher unemployment rates and greater career instability — all of which made it more difficult to buy homes and save for retirement. It also made it harder to pay off student loans.

    The Obama administration had this group in mind when it created the Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan for federal student loans, which allows recent student borrowers to arrange affordable payments and qualify for loan forgiveness. The program, which went into effect late last month, needs to be broadly advertised if it is to reach the people who need it most.
    " ...more...

  • California Homeowner Bill of Rights
    California Secretary of State - 1/1/2013 ()

    "The California Homeowner Bill of Rights takes effect on January 1, 2013 to ensure fair lending and borrowing practices for California homeowners.

    The laws are designed to guarantee basic fairness and transparency for homeowners in the foreclosure process. Key provisions include:
    " ...more...

  • The American Taxpayer Relief Act (summary of new Tax Law)
    US Govt - 1/1/2013 ()

    The American Taxpayer Relief Act [211.6 KB]
    Revenue Estimates of the American Taxpayer Relief Act [123.6 KB]
    Summary of American Taxpayer Relief Act Provisions [798.3 KB]
    " ...more...

  • For Student Borrowers, Relief Now May Mean a Big Tax Bill Later
    New York Times - 12/14/2012 (Ron Leiber)

    "Those breathing a sigh of relief that their student loan payments are now in line with their income may want to re-examine the rules that set the payment in the first place. There could be a tax time bomb looming, slowly ticking away. And defusing it is not a big part of the policy discussion in Washington at the moment.

    This potential tax bill is a byproduct of federal efforts, including the newly expanded income-based repayment program, that allow you to limit the monthly payments on most federal loans to what you can afford to pay. There’s a formula that uses your income to determine your payment. Then, the federal government forgives any remaining balance, usually after 10 to 25 years.
    " ...more...

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