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Where can I view FAQs related to filing without an attorney (pro se filers)?
These FAQs can be viewed here: https://www.ilcb.uscourts.gov/pro-se-debtor-faqs
What is an automatic stay?
An injunction that automatically stays certain collection activity and other actions against the debtor and the debtor’s property the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.
What is the 341 meeting of creditors?
This is a meeting of creditors at which the debtor is questioned under oath by creditors, a trustee, examiner, or the United States trustee about his/her financial affairs.
What are the trustees and the United States Trustee?
United States Trustee: An officer of the U.S. Justice Department responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates and case trustees, monitoring plans and disclosure statements, monitoring creditors’ committees, fee applications and performing other statutory duties.
1. Chapter 7 Trustee: A person appointed in a chapter 7 case to represent the interest of the bankruptcy estate and the unsecured creditors. The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition and schedules, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.
2. Chapter 13 Trustee: A person appointed to administer a chapter 13 case. A chapter 13 trustee’s responsibilities are similar to those of a chapter 7 trustee; however, a chapter 13 trustee has the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor’s plan, receiving payments from debtors and disbursing plan payments to creditors.
How do I obtain a copy of my bankruptcy papers?
There are several ways to obtain copies of documents:
a) You can print electronic records from your personal computer using PACER, the Judiciary’s public access service. Registration is free. Visit the PACER website at https://www.pacer.uscourts.gov for a full explanation of PACER services, any applicable charges, and directions for registration.
b) You may send a written request for copies by email or mail to the office where your case was filed. Click here for addresses, phone numbers and email addresses for each office. The Clerk’s Office will advise you of the fee required for the copies requested. Do not submit payment until you have been notified of the exact amount. Many cases filed between 2000-2004 will be located in the Federal Records Center in Chicago, IL. We will provide information to you on how to obtain copies if your file has been moved to the Federal Records Center.
c) You may also obtain copies of documents in your case by visiting the Clerk’s Office. You can print electronic records from the public access computer terminals located in each of our three offices. You will be charged a fee for each page printed (for a list of current fees click here). Please note, the Clerk’s Office can only accept EXACT CHANGE and cannot make or give change.
How do I get a copy of all or part of the record of a court proceeding or get a written transcript of it?
A record of a court proceeding is available in the following formats:
1. Audio files for all matters heard by Judge Mary P. Gorman and selected matters heard by Judge Thomas L. Perkins are uploaded to the Case Management /Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) system and are available through PACER,
2. CD, and
To order an audio CD of digitally recorded court proceedings, please call the Clerk’s Office:
• Springfield – (217) 492-4551
• Peoria – (309) 671-7035
• Urbana – (217) 974-7330
To order a transcript of a court proceeding, click here for a list of transcription services.
The Meeting of Creditors is recorded by the Trustee. The court does not keep or provide a copy of the recording. To request a copy of the recording, please contact the Office of the United States Trustee at (309) 671-7854.
What is a reaffirmation agreement?
A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement by a debtor to continue paying a dischargeable debt (such as an auto loan) after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral (e.g., a vehicle) that would otherwise be subject to repossession.
What is a bankruptcy discharge?
A discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for certain debts known as dischargeable debts as set forth in the Bankruptcy Code, and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor to collect the debts. The discharge also prohibits creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the debt, including telephone calls, letters, and personal contact. If you have questions whether a particular debt is dischargeable, you should consult an attorney.
How long does a bankruptcy remain on a credit report and what is the Fair Credit Reporting Act?
A bankruptcy generally affects a debtor’s credit report for 7 to 10 years. However, this depends entirely on the individual credit reporting agency. The bankruptcy court has no influence on the type of information the credit bureaus report or how long they keep it in their records.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act, 6 U.S.C. Section 605, is the law that controls credit reporting agencies and governs actions by the agencies. You may want to request the publication “How to Dispute Credit Reporting Errors” or “Fair Credit Reporting” from the Federal Trade Commission. You may request these by writing to Federal Trade Commission, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Education Division, Washington, D.C. 20580, calling them at (202) 326-2222 or by visiting their web site: http://www.ftc.gov/.
How do I remove inaccurate information from my credit report, even if I have never filed bankruptcy?
The bankruptcy court does not report to the credit reporting agencies. The bankruptcy court has no jurisdiction over credit reporting agencies.
The bankruptcy petition, schedules and other documents are public record.
Credit reporting agencies regularly collect information from the petitions filed, and report the information on their credit reporting services.
You can request your credit report at no charge from each of the three reporting bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com (however, you will have to pay to see your credit score).
The three credit reporting agencies are:
Equifax Information Services LLC
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. Section 1681c, the credit reporting agency (and the creditor) are required to correct inaccurate or incomplete information on a credit report. The credit bureau will verify the item in question with the creditor at no cost to the consumer. The Federal Trade Commission has a number of educational publications on its website (www.ftc.gov) to help consumers address credit and financial issues.