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Electronic Self-Representation FAQs

eSR Frequently Asked Questions

Before using eSR

1.  What is eSR?

eSR is an online tool to help an individual prepare a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition for later filing with the court after he or she has decided to file bankruptcy without an attorney.

2.  Who can use it?

Individuals who wish to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition and who live in the Western District of Wisconsin.

3.  Can attorneys or bankruptcy petition preparers use eSR?

No, eSR is not available for attorneys. Attorneys must still register for electronic filing through PACER. While bankruptcy petition preparers are currently permitted to use eSR, there is no need to pay for anyone to assist you other than a licensed attorney who can give you needed legal advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, assistance is available for free through various free legal aid organizations.  See our website for those resources. If a bankruptcy petition preparer uses eSR, the assistance and the amount you paid must be disclosed on the proper forms filed with the court.

4.  What chapter is eSR available for?

eSR is currently available for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filings.

5.  Where can I access eSR?
eSR can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection by visiting our eSR system home page. 

6.  What are the computer requirements for using eSR at home?

You must have an Internet-enabled computer with the pop-up blockers disabled.  You will also need Adobe Reader, version 8 or higher.  With respect to browsers, it is recommended that you use the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

7.  Who can I contact for help regarding eSR?

For procedural questions regarding eSR, you may receive assistance by calling the Bankruptcy Court at one of our divisional offices.  Unfortunately, the Clerk’s Office cannot give legal advice.

8.  Is there a cost to use eSR?

There is no cost to use eSR. Pay only the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee.

9.  What are the benefits of using eSR?

eSR is free to use. You pay only the bankruptcy filing fee for the chapter you are filing under.  eSR has a guided, step-by-step process that allows you up to 45 days to complete your petition.  Your personal information is only accessible to you using a unique login and password assigned to you. eSR is accessible 24 hours a day from any Internet-enabled computer. There is no software to download or purchase.

NOTE:  If you are filing bankruptcy to delay or stop a foreclosure action on your home, it is very important for you to understand that the "Electronic Submission of a Bankruptcy Package" may delay the filing of your case for several days until the court receives the additional items required to complete your filing.

10.  How many days do I have to work on my eSR petition after starting?

From the first day you begin working in eSR, you have up to 45 days to complete the eSR petition. If you do not submit your petition to the bankruptcy court for filing within 45 days, whatever you have done will be deleted from the system.  If you do not think you will finish within 45 days, please print out a copy of your work for future reference.

11.  How many days do I have to submit the Declaration Regarding Electronic Filing Form, additional forms and bankruptcy filing fee?

The Declaration Regarding Electronic Filing Form, additional forms, and bankruptcy filing fee or Application for Waiver and/or Fee Installment are due within 14 days of the date your Petition was submitted.

While using eSR

1.  I need help answering questions in the system.  Where can I get assistance?

You may contact the court by phone for assistance with eSR.

2.  How do I know what to list for my exemptions?

The Bankruptcy Code for federal exemptions is 11 U.S.C. § 522.  If you own anything of value or if your car or house is worth more than you owe on it, it is very important that you consult an attorney before claiming exemptions.  A bankruptcy trustee may be required to sell your property to pay creditors if you claim the exemptions improperly.

3.  I have more creditors than the fields in the eSR schedules allow.  What should I do?

If you reach the limit of fields allowed in the schedules, you may type additional creditors on a paper copy of the schedule and prepare a mailing list of those creditors pursuant to court Local Rules.  Paper copies of schedules and mailing list must be mailed to the Bankruptcy Court at the time the additional combined forms are filed, and the bankruptcy petition filing fee is paid.

NOTE:  A bankruptcy petition is NOT considered “filed” (and does not receive a case number) until all of the listed documents are received and processed by the court.  Please note that the confirmation email that your eSR package has been submitted does not constitute filing.  Documents must still be provided to the Court before filing commences.

NOTE:  An automatic stay (injunction) is NOT in effect until a bankruptcy case number is issued by the Bankruptcy Court.

After using eSR

1.  What happens after I submit my eSR bankruptcy petition?

After submitting your petition, you will receive an email confirming the electronic receipt of the bankruptcy petition submitted to the Court.  The bankruptcy petition will NOT be officially filed until you receive a Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing from the court with a case number.

2. How do I pay the filing fee?

Payments must be made in the form of a Cashier's Check or Money Order. Payments can be mailed to the Madison Courthouse or put in the drop box in the lobby of both the Madison and Eau Claire courthouses.

3.  What additional forms need to be completed after submitting my petition via eSR?

The following forms with original signatures must be hand delivered or mailed to the Bankruptcy Court after submitting your petition electronically: Statement of Social Security Number (Form 121), Declaration Regarding Electronic Filing, Employee Income Records/Pay Advices Cover Sheet, Certificate of Credit Counseling, and if applicable, an Application to Pay Filing Fee in Installments or an Application to Waive the Filing Fee.

4.  How do I know where to submit my additional forms and bankruptcy filing fee?

Forms can be mailed to the clerk's office in Madison. There is also a drop box in the lobby of each courthouse location for in person delivery.

5.  I completed my Chapter 7 via eSR but want to apply for a fee waiver and/or installment.

To apply to pay in installments or request a waiver of the fee, Debtors must mail or drop off a completed Application to Pay in Installments OR a completed Application for Waiver of Filing Fee.

6.  How many days do I have to pay my filing fee, and mail the declaration of electronic filing and additional local forms?

The filing fee, declaration of electronic filing and additional forms are due to the Court within 14 days of the date your Petition was submitted. It’s important to remember that your eSR petition is NOT filed until you receive from the court a Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing containing a case number.

7.  How does the Court locate my petition?

The Clerk's Office locates your petition by searching by the email address used to create the petition through the eSR program.

8.  I can’t open the attachments in the confirmation email.  Where can I get the forms attached?

The forms can be found on the Court’s website.

9.  I didn’t receive a confirmation email.  What information is on it?

The confirmation email contains directions for completing the Petition Packet.  View the information on How to Use eSR.

10.  I submitted my petition but realized I need to make some changes before filing.  How can I do that?

eSR only allows a one-time submission.  Any schedules or statements not completed at the time the eSR package is submitted cannot be completed later using eSR.  All subsequent pleadings and amendments to pleadings must be filed in paper via mail to the Madison Courthouse, or dropped off at the Madison or Eau Claire Courthouse. There is a drop box in the lobby of each courthouse location for in person delivery.