Filing Case Using Conventional ECF System - Open a BK Case
Last Updated: October 4, 2013

The following is the conventional way to open a new case.

: It is important to complete all steps in this procedure.


  1. Log into CM/ECF.

  2. Select Bankruptcy.

  3. Select Open Voluntary BK Case.

    • Do not enter a case number.

    • Refer to chart to determine Office.

    • Select appropriate chapter (7, 11, 12 or 13)

    • Select “yes” if joint petition (joint debtor).
      Note: A non-debtor spouse will be added as a party after the case is opened, but before Judge/Trustee Assignment. DO NOT designate the case as a joint petition. The non-debtor spouse information is reported on Form 21 and should include the Social Security Number and mailing address.

    • Select “yes” if case is deficient,( i.e. missing schedules, plan, etc.)
      Note: Subsequent screen will follow to indicate which schedules are missing.

    • Origin defaults to original

  4. Search for a debtor/joint debtor screen:

    • Enter Social Security Number/tax identification number to search for debtor name in the ECF database.

    • Party search results:

      • If debtor name appears, select the name from the list and verify debtor information (pop up window).

      • If debtor information is the same, click on “Select name from list” button.

      • If debtor name does not appear, or is not an exact match, click on “Create new party.”

  5. Debtor/Joint Debtor Information screen: This screen appears for selected name or creating new party.

    • Complete/Update all appropriate fields for the debtor.

      • Enter complete name.

      • Enter complete Social Security Number/Tax Identification Number.

        Note: PDF copy of Petition must contain redacted Social Security Number.

      • Include mailing address.

      • Indicate County.

        Note:  When the debtor(s) currently reside out of district, but resided within the district for the majority of the last 180 days, enter the former "in district" county. Enter the current mailing address.

    • Select the “Alias” button if debtor has alias.

      • Complete all appropriate fields for alias(es).

      • Select appropriate Role for alias(es) (aka, dba, fdba, fda).
        Note: Only add the dba's that are listed on the petition.

    • Review debtor information once more before submission; Click Submit.

      : Repeat steps 5 and 6 for Joint Debtor, if applicable. If Joint Debtor’s address is different from Debtor, uncheck “Copy previous party’s address”.

  6. Statistical Information Screen:

    • Prior filing within last 8 years. Select 'No' or 'Yes'

    • Fee Status: Select “Paid,” “Installment,” or "fee not paid"
      Note: Select "fee not paid" when filing an Application to Waive Filing Fee.

    • Select "business" or “consumer” for Nature of debt.
      Note: Chapter 9 and 12 must ALWAYS be entered as [b] business. If business, must also select "Nature of business".

    • Select asset designation. Chapter 7's are always entered as No Asset. Chapter 11, 12, 13 are entered as Asset.

    • Select the appropriate Estimated number of creditors, assets and debts.

    • Select “Type of Debtor” such as individual, corporation, etc.

    • Review information; Click Next.

  7. Summary of Schedules Screen: Enter values from the corresponding schedules. Details

  8. Additional Data Screen: Attorney filers will Enter values from the corresponding schedules and means test. Details

  9. Deficiency List Screen:
    Note: ONLY for cases missing schedules, plan, etc.

    • Select the appropriate box, (i.e. Schedules A-J, Statement of Financial Affairs, Disclosure of Attorney Compensation, Means Test, Employee Income Records).

  10. Browse to select the Voluntary Petition (pdf file); Click Next.  

    Important: PDF copy of Voluntary Petition must contain the redacted Social Security Number.

  11. Deadlines set: Incomplete Filings Due and Sec. 316 Incomplete Filings Due (set automatically). Click Next.

  12. Select either Presumption of abuse does not arise, or Presumption of abuse arises from the list. (Only for Chapter 7 individual cases with primarily consumer debts).

  13. Verify filing fee amount. To pay via credit card, leave the receipt field blank and select Next to continue filing.    

    Note:  If paying in installments, enter "inst" for receipt number. Remember to separately file the Application to Pay Filing Fees in Installments.  If request a waiver of fees, enter 'fee not paid' for receipt number. Remember to separately file the Application to Waive Filing Fee.

  14. Modify text, if applicable.

  15. Warning!! Verify filing entry is correct before submitting the “Final Docket Text.”

  16. Attorney filers may want to save the Notice of Electronic Filing.

  17. Upload the Creditor Matrix.

  18. Assign the Judge/Trustee.

  19. File the Statement of Social Security Number. [Miscellaneous > Statement of Social Security Number]

  20. File the Certificate(s) of Credit Counseling or Certificate of Exigent Circumstances.
    [Miscellaneous> Certificate of Credit Counseling] or [Miscellaneous > Certification of Exigent Circumstances re: Credit Counseling]

  21. File the Means Test (unless included with the Petition).
    [ Miscellaneous > Means Test (Chapter x)]

  22. File the Employee Income Records.
    [ Miscellaneous > Employee Income Records]

  23. Chapter 13: File the Chapter 13 Plan.
    [Plan > Chapter 13 Plan]

Important!   The Declaration re: Electronic Case Filing with original signatures must be filed within 5 days of the filing of the Petition via U.S. Mail or at the Bankruptcy Clerk’s office.