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Frequently Asked Questions are provided as a reference. To view questions more specific to your needs, click on the applicable tab. The default landing page lists all questions.
How do I file a Claim?
If you have been listed as a creditor in a bankruptcy case, you will receive by mail a Notice of Bankrutpy Case. This Notice will tell you if there is a deadline for filing claims.
If the original notice you receive from the Clerk's Office does not contain a deadline for filing proofs of claim (which is typical in Chapter 7 cases), you may subsequently receive a "Notice to File a Proof of Claim" if the trustee later determines there are assets available for distribution in the case. This Notice will also contain the deadline for filing such claims with the Court.
If you are informed of a claim deadline, you may electronically file a claim with the Court, without a password, through the Court's ePOC program. You may also obtain a claim form Official Form B410 from the Court’s website. You may mail or hand-deliver your claim for filing to the Clerk's Office in Cedar Rapids or Sioux City. Regardless of method, your claim must be received on or before the filing deadline.
If you routinely file claims with the Bankruptcy Court, you may file the claim electronically by registering as a CM/ECF limited creditor filer.
A company or individual has filed for bankruptcy and owes me money. What action can I take?
Once a debtor files bankruptcy, he or she is protected by the automatic stay, which generally prohibits most actions by a creditor to collect a debt. There are limited exceptions to the automatic stay and you should consult an attorney to determine your rights. Actions taken in violation of the automatic stay may subject you to paying damages to the debtor. You can participate in the debtor’s bankruptcy by attending the Meeting of Creditors, filing a proof of claim, and filing appropriate objections.
Are you representing Yourself or Your Company?
The Bankruptcy Code is complex and parties often need legal counsel to obtain the relief they seek; however, individual creditors, including sole proprietors, may represent themselves before the bankruptcy court. Individuals that have an incorporated business, such as a corporation, partnership, limited liability company or other business entity, may not represent the interest of the company before the bankruptcy court. The company must be represented by an attorney duly admitted to practice before the bankruptcy court; however, the company does not need legal representation to file a proof of claim or a reaffirmation agreement.
As a creditor, how can I register to file documents and receive notice of case activity electronically in CM/ECF?
Creditors seeking access to CM/ECF in order to file documents and receive electronic notice should visit the Court's Electronic Filing webpage for details on how to become a limited access filer.
Do I have to attend the Meeting of Creditors to get my money?
No, creditors do not have to attend the Meeting of Creditors. However, the Meeting of Creditors may be of interest to you as the meeting includes an examination of the debtor(s) under oath. This is your opportunity to ask the debtor questions related to their financial affairs.
How do I get notices sent to me in a bankruptcy case if I am a creditor of the debtor?
To receive notices in a bankruptcy case, the debtor must have listed you on the mailing matrix of creditors when the case was filed (or by later addition) or you must file a written notice of appearance with the Court. You will also be added to the mailing matrix when you file a proof of claim in an asset case. If the address supplied by the debtor is not correct or if you change your address during the time the case is proceeding, you must notify the Court in writing of your current address.
IMPORTANT: If your correct and current address is not listed in the Court records, you will not receive notices in the case and, if dividends are distributed to creditors, your dividend check may not reach you.
How do I object to the debtor's general discharge or to the dischargeablity of my debt?
In a Chapter 7 case, a creditor can object to the granting of a discharge if there is cause to do so under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a). The creditor must timely file an adversary proceeding with the Court to object to the debtor’s discharge. See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 4004.
Under all chapters, certain debts may be discharged unless a creditor timely files an adversary proceeding with the Court to object to dischargeability of the debt under § 523(a). See Fed. R. Bankr. P. 4007
How do I obtain relief from the automatic stay?
In order for a party to initiate or continue a proceeding against the debtor that has been stayed because of bankruptcy, the party must file with the Court a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay. The Bankruptcy Rules and Local Rule 4001-1 prescribe the procedures for filing a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay. The filing fee for a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay can be found on the Court's website under Filing Fees. An attorney should be consulted to determine if an action is prohibited by the automatic stay.
I am a creditor in a case that has converted to another chapter. Is it necessary for me to file another Proof of Claim?
No, once you have filed a proof of claim with the Court, you need not re-file the claim after conversion, unless you receive a notice stating otherwise.
If I timely file a Proof of Claim, will I receive payment?
The answer to this question depends on the chapter under which the debtor files for bankruptcy. In a Chapter 11 or a Chapter 13, your right to receive payment will be set forth in the debtor’s plan of reorganization. In a Chapter 7 case, you may not receive payment unless the debtor has non-exempt assets that can be liquidated by the Chapter 7 trustee. For unsecured and undersecured creditors, the amount of payment will vary depending upon the value of the assets liquidated and the amount of claims filed against the debtor. Secured creditors generally retain their liens during the bankruptcy and can reduce their claim by liquidating their collateral after the automatic stay is lifted. Requests for information regarding when a claim will be paid should be directed to the trustee assigned to the case whose name and telephone number can be found on the Notice of Bankruptcy Case.
What information must I remove from my filings and what is "redaction"?
Bankruptcy Rule 9037 provides that certain identifying information should not be included or redacted from papers filed with the bankruptcy court. Pursuant to Federal Bankruptcy Rule 9037, social security and financial account numbers should be redacted to the last four digits, the names of minors should be redacted to the minor’s initials, and the date of an individual’s birth should be redacted to the year.
Redaction may be accomplished by blacking-out or whiting-out the foregoing information from the document filed. In certain instances, parties have attempted to use a tool in Adobe Acrobat to hide information in a PDF filed with the Court; however, this information may still be visible to some court users. Thus, it is recommended that you manually redact information and scan the document before filing the document with the Court.
Failure to redact the foregoing information may result in the court ordering you to file an amended document with the information redacted. In some cases, the court has sanctioned creditors that failed to redact this information.
What is the "Notice of Chapter 7 (11,12,13) Bankruptcy Case" that I received?
You were named as a creditor in this case and are probably listed on the debtor's schedules. This Notice lists important dates and deadlines and should be reviewed carefully. Included in the Notice is the date set for the Meeting of Creditors and the deadline for filing a Proof of Claim, when applicable. In a Chapter 7 case, the Notice will contain a deadline to Object to Discharge. In a Chapter 13 case, the Notice will provide the date set for confirmation of the Chapter 13 plan and will also contain the deadline to Object to the Dischargeability of certain debts.
If you feel you were notified in error, contact the debtor's attorney to be removed from the case mailing matrix.
What is the automatic stay?
The filing of a bankruptcy petition automatically stays (stops) most actions against the debtor or the debtor's property, such as collections, foreclosures and repossessions. It is called "automatic" because the stay typically begins automatically at the time the bankruptcy case is filed with the Clerk's Office. There are certain exceptions to the automatic stay, such as if you have filed bankruptcy in the past and your case was dismissed (depending on the number of cases and the time period since dismissal of the previous case). Once the stay is in place, creditors are prohibited from taking certain actions against a debtor without permission from the Court. Some creditors, particularly those involved with repossessions or foreclosures, may immediately file a motion to lift the automatic stay with the Court to seek the ability to go forward with foreclosure or repossession actions. The legal authority for obtaining relief from the automatic stay can be found in section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code. See 11 U.S.C. § 362(d), Fed. R. Bankr. P. 4001.