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Debtor FAQs

While the information presented below is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from a bankruptcy attorney or legal association. For filing requirements, please refer to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (Bankruptcy Rules), and the Local Rules for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana.

 

  • How much are the court fees to file a bankruptcy?

    Current Fee Schedule

     

    You must normally pay all of the required fees at the time you file a bankruptcy petition. 

    If an individual cannot pay the full amount at the time of filing, they must file an application to pay filing fee in installments.

                ☞First installment must accompany the petition.  It must be 1/4 of the filing fee.

                ☞Filing fees must be in the form of cash (exact amount), a money order or cashier check payable to:  U.S. Bankruptcy Court. 

     

    The court also has the discretion to waive the filing fee for an individual chapter 7 debtor if his or her income is less than 150% of the official poverty line (as defined by the federal government) applicable to a family of the size involved, and is unable to pay that fee in installments.  Please see official form #B3B.

  • When may I file bankruptcy again?

    As a general rule, there is no statutory prohibition against an individual filing another bankruptcy at any time. However, the court could enter such an order (for example if you are found to be abusing the system by repeatedly filing cases solely for purposes of delay). Additionally, the Bankruptcy Code [11 USC §109(g)] does provide that you may have to wait 180 days (6 months) to refile if either:

    (a) your previous case was dismissed for willful failure to abide by orders of the court (possible examples could include the failure to pay filing fees, to file required documents, or to complete the first meeting of creditors), or

    (b) if your case was dismissed on your request after a creditor filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay. In addition, there are certain prohibitions against receiving another chapter 7 discharge in specific circumstances. See 11 USC §727(8) and (9).

    Subsection (8) prohibits entry of a chapter 7 discharge if you received a discharge in a chapter 7 or 11 case filed within eight (8) years of the filing of the new case.

    Subsection (9) prohibits entry of a chapter 7 discharge if you received a discharge in a chapter 12 or 13 case commenced within six years of the chapter 7 filing unless payments under the plan totaled either 100% of allowed unsecured claims or at least 70% of the unsecured claims if the plan was proposed in good faith and was the debtor's best effort.

    Moreover, under 11 USC §1328(f)(1) and (2), a discharge cannot be entered in a chapter 13 case if the debtor:

    (1) has received a discharge in a chapter 7, 11, or 12 case filed within four years of the chapter 13 filing, or

    (2) has received a discharge in a chapter 13 case filed within 2 years of the new chapter 13 case.

  • Can I fax file?

    The Montana Bankruptcy court does not permit fax filing.

  • Is there any place I can get free or low cost legal advice before I file?

    Contact:  Montana Legal Services Help Line at 800-666-6899.

  • Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?

    While it is possible for an individual to file a bankruptcy case "pro se", that is, without the assistance of an attorney, it may be difficult to do so successfully. See Bankruptcy Basics for some important general information about filing for bankruptcy without an attorney.

    As noted in the general information, it is recommended that a person considering bankruptcy consult with a competent attorney prior to filing a case.

    Court employees cannot give you legal advice.

  • How do I obtain court or case information?

    Court case information can be accessed by:

    • Contacting the U.S. Bankruptcy Court at
      U.S. Federal Building
      400 North Main 2nd Floor
      Butte, MT 59701
      406-497-1240
       
    • Electronic Access to Case and Court Information:
      • PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) - Extensive access to case records via the Internet.
        The court provides real-time access to electronic case records via PACER services over the internet. You may access PACER here. There is a slight fee charged for access to each page viewed or printed, but with a maximum fee per document. Please refer to the opening page of the court's PACER site for important information regarding the site. It also provides a valuable link to the court's free website containing other extensive and frequently updated general court information at: www.mtb.uscourts.gov If you've ever had a PACER account, it remains active for your use. The access fees are charged to your account.

        If you don't presently have an account, or have questions such as regarding fees or access to the federal courts' PACER services (including other court's PACER sites and/or the US Party/Case Index system), contact the PACER Service Center at 1-800-676-6856 or at www.pacer.gov.
         

      • VCIS (Voice Case Information System)
        A free service using a touch-tone telephone that provides basic case information. VCIS is a free service that uses a touch-tone telephone. It provides basic case information.

        To connect, dial 1-866-222-8029. VCIS uses a computer-generated synthesized voice device to automatically read case information in the court's database such as the case number, chapter, date the case was filed, debtor's name (and, if applicable, names of principal adversaries), debtor's attorney's name, trustee's name, judge's name, date and location of the 341(a) meeting of creditors, any claims filing bar date, case status, and any discharge and/or closing dates of the case.

     

  • How many copies do I need to file at the court and where do I send them?

    The court does not require any additional copies (just the original) of a petition filed with the court. However, you are encouraged to keep a copy for your records. If you wish to retain a copy of the petition, stamped with the date of filing for your records, you must provide an additional copy, as well as a self-addressed envelope with adequate postage if you are filing by mail.

    Clerk’s Office address:

    U.S. Bankruptcy Court

    400 North Main Street 2nd Floor

    Butte, MT 59701

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