When you fill out your bankruptcy paperwork, the Voluntary Petition (Form 101) will ask you to list bankruptcy cases you’ve filed in the last eight years, and the Statement of Financial Affairs (Form 107) will ask you to list information about any lawsuits you’ve been part of in the last year.
Where To Find Prior Bankruptcy Case Information
Whether a previous bankruptcy case you filed resulted in a discharge or a dismissal, you need to list it on your Voluntary Petition if you filed the case in the last eight years. Keep in mind, once you hand your bankruptcy forms over to the court clerk the case is considered filed. If you received a discharge in a Chapter 7 case filed less than eight years ago, you're not eligible to file Chapter 7 now. The clock begins to run when you file your case, not when the court enters the discharge.
There are a few ways to find previous case information:
- Look on Form 309A, which you received after filing your previous case, or on the discharge order if you received one.
- Search PACER, the court’s online database. There may be a small fee to use this system.
- Try the U.S. Bankruptcy Court’s phone access to court records, or review your local court’s website to see if a similar system is available.
Note: Most courts began converting paper files to electronic files in the year 2000. So, if you filed a bankruptcy case before then, your court may not have an electronic version of your case. If this happens, do your best to list the information you know. If your district has a form that requires you to list all your prior filings (including those that are more than eight years old) then you’ll need to contact the court clerk to find out your prior case information and include that information on the form before you file.
Where To Find Information on Other Legal Actions Against You
The Statement of Financial Affairs bankruptcy form asks for information about any cases (lawsuits or other legal actions) you were a party to in the year before filing this case. Divorce proceedings and creditor lawsuits are two common types of legal action bankruptcy filers are involved in.
If you have any documents from the lawsuit, you'll probably be able to find all the information you'll need on the first page or in the summons and complaint. Specifically, look for:
- The case title,
- Case number,
- Filing date, and
- Court’s name and address. Once you have the court name, you can look up its address online.
If you don't have any of the documents anymore and you don’t know anyone who might still have copies, contact the court clerk to ask if they can help you. Many state courts also allow people to search court records online by last name. Visit your court’s website to learn more.