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Chapter 7 bankruptcy can sometimes be the best option for those with large amounts of unsecured debt with no means of paying it back. However, filing bankruptcy is no easy process. The bankruptcy law requires debtors to fully disclose all income, assets, debts, and expenses. It can take months to gather all the documents and complete all the necessary paperwork before you actually file for bankruptcy. Sometimes, you can’t wait that long because you have creditors breathing down your neck, threatening to take immediate action and seize or sell your assets. What then? 

“Skeleton Filing” for Bankruptcies

 An emergency bankruptcy filing, known as a “skeleton filing”, is a way to expedite and file your bankruptcy case without all the required forms.  A skeleton filing can be a quick way to protect yourself and prevent the sale of your home through foreclosure, car repossessions, eviction, garnishments, and lawsuits. Like a regular filing, the skeleton filing triggers protection of the automatic stay, preventing creditors from gaining access to your income or taking debt collection action against you while the bankruptcy is pending. 

What’s Needed for an Emergency Filing? 

First, you need to make sure that you actually qualify for Chapter 7 (or Chapter 13) bankruptcy. To qualify for Chapter 7, you must pass the means test, which requires your income to be under the median income for a household of similar size in your state. If your income is above the state median, you can still qualify if you show that you cannot cover your monthly expenses with your current income. In other words, you need to show that your debts leave you with little to no disposable income each month. 

If you qualify, the emergency petition needs to include Form 101, your creditor matrix, Form 121, payment for a filing fee, and certificate of credit counseling. Form 101 is titled “Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy,” and it asks for your personal information, including your name, address, type of bankruptcy, number of creditors, the total value of your assets, and your total debt. It also asks you about your credit counseling class and a few other basic questions. Your creditor matrix is your list of creditors along with their addresses. Form 121 is titled “Statement About Your Social Security Number,” and it asks for your full name, your social security number, and any Taxpayer Identification Numbers you have used in the past. You also must complete your pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course within six months before filing for bankruptcy. A typical credit counseling course lasts about 45-60 minutes, and usually takes place on the phone or online. 

Bankruptcy Petition: What’s the Catch? 

The rest of the bankruptcy petition along with supporting Bankruptcy forms and documents must be completed and filed within 14 days of the emergency filing. If you fail to complete and file the rest of the required documents, your bankruptcy case will be dismissed, and you may lose the protections of the automatic stay for any subsequent bankruptcy filings. For that reason, it is crucial that a person filing the emergency petition is committed to completing the paperwork and following through with the bankruptcy case. Filing bankruptcy is a complex undertaking and should be entered into lightly. Most of the time it is not in your best interest to file an emergency bankruptcy petition, but at times it is necessary. 

Let Gordon, Delic & Associates Help with Your Bankruptcy Petition

Filing an emergency bankruptcy petition can stop creditors in their tracks. If you are concerned about wage garnishment, bank levy, repossession or foreclosure, an emergency bankruptcy filing may be right for you. Call our experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Gordon, Delic and Associates to help you decide whether an emergency filing is the best option for your particular case. We can discuss with you the filing requirements and the information that you will need to provide. We are here to help. Contact us or give us a call at (208) 900-9509 today.


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