Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

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Filing without an attorney (Pro se)

Bankruptcy can be complicated. The staff of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Clerk's office provides a variety of services; however they are not permitted to assist with the preparation of the voluntary petition, schedules, or other documents, nor can they provide legal advice. All parties must comply with the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the Western District of Wisconsin, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Failure to do so will result in dismissal of the case, or other sanctions. The local library has law books that may be of assistance.

If you wish to retain an attorney, call the Wisconsin Bar Association Lawyer Referrals: 800-362-9082 (608-257-4666 Madison). 4 reasons to hire a bankruptcy attorney.

A list of U.S. Trustee approved budget and counseling agencies can be found here.

Whether you file a chapter 7, 11, 12, or 13 case, you start with the same basic set of forms (as outlined below). This page does not discuss filing under chapter 11 or 12 because it is uncommon for debtors to file petitions under these chapters pro se (without an attorney). Additionally, because corporations and partnerships are required to have an attorney represent them, these entities may not file petitions pro se.

Most of the forms on this page are in fillable PDF format.  Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view and print PDF files and PDF fill-in forms. Adobe Acrobat is required to save PDF fill-in forms. Download Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download the Adobe Acrobat Reader app for your mobile device Form sets can be purchased from an office supply store that sells legal forms.

In both chapter 7 and chapter 13, the following are required to start the bankruptcy (minimum filing requirements):
  1. Voluntary petition (revised 4/10) Must be signed by the debtor(s). Pro se debtors must include a day time phone number with area code.
    Form B1 - Exhibit D to Voluntary Petition - Individual Debtor's Statement of Compliance with Credit Counseling Requirement (new 10/06)
  2. Filing fee, or an application to pay filing fees in installments, or a fee waiver (in forma pauperis). Fees may be paid by cash (note: effective 12/1/11 cash will no longer be accepted in the Eau Claire office. Money orders in Eau Claire), money order or cashier's check. Personal checks will not be accepted. Make all fees payable to: U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Chapter 13's must be paid in full or through the Plan.
    A fee waiver may ONLY be used for a chapter 7 filing. Qualifiying for a fee waiver. Poverty Guidelines.
  3. Creditor Matrix A diskette or CD containing the names and addresses of all creditors is preferred, however, you may submit it in paper form.
    If you are filing a new case in person at the Bankruptcy Court you can type up and submit the mailing matrix via this link.
  4. Statement of Social Security Number(s) signed by debtor(s). Non-debtor spouse information must be added to this document. Policy on Privacy
  5. Certificate of credit counseling and debt repayment plan if any. Visit the U.S. Trustee's site to find information on credit counseling and debtor education.
  6. Form 19 - Declaration & Signature of Non-Attorney Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (if applicable)
  7. Form B280 - Statement disclosing compensation paid or to be paid to a bankruptcy petition preparer (if applicable)

Where do I file my case?

Privacy Warning

The following schedules and statements must be filed with the voluntary petition, or no later than 14 calendar days after filing the voluntary petition:

Form Packets

The following packets contain the forms needed to file either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 in one bundle. To print all the forms at once simply hold down the Control (Ctrl) key while clicking each file in the bundle. Then choose File, Print. Please be patient as it may take a while for the packet to open. If it doesn't open in Acrobat, check your Download file.

More information on the requirements of the Office of the U.S. Trustee

341 notice and deadlines - Notice of bankruptcy case filing, meeting of creditors, & deadlines will be sent to the debtor and all creditors listed on the matrix within 7 to 10 business days. The debtor (both spouses in a joint case) must be present at the meeting to be questioned under oath by the trustee and by the creditors. Pro se debtors should also be familiar with Bankruptcy Code § 521, Rule 4002 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

  • Due 7 days before the date set for the Section 341 meeting of creditors: Provide the trustee with a copy of the Federal income tax return (or transcript of return) for the most recent tax year ending before filing. Tax return privacy information
The following statement must be filed with the voluntary petition, or no later than 30 calendar days after filing the voluntary petition:
Due before the discharge is granted:
Other Forms:
Other Resources:
Link to Bankruptcy Basics videos