Open a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

1.  Click on the Bankruptcy hyperlink on the CM/ECF Main Menu Bar.

2.  Click Open BK Case

3.  Select the appropriate information for the following fields:

  • Chapter

  • Joint Petition - The default value for Joint is n: for a Joint filing select y.

  • Deficiencies -  If there are any missing items from the petition change the deficiencies box from n to y.

Click [Next]

4.  Search for a Debtor Screen

  • Enter social security number, tax identification number/employer identification number, last name or business name to search for the debtor name in the CM/ECF database.

  • If there are no matches, the system will return a No person  found message.

  • Click Create new party.

5.  The Debtor Information screen displays.

  • Enter the debtor's Name and Address information in the appropriate boxes.

  • Select the County from the pull down menu.


NOTE: Country, Phone, Fax and E-mail is not required.

  • Party text Additional information about the debtor that cannot fit in the last name field i.e.  M.D., D.D.S.,  A California Corporation, Limited Liability Partnership

  • If the party has an alias, click the [Alias] button.

6.  The Alias screen appears.

    • One can enter up to 5 alias records.  Alias Role selections include aka, dba, fdba, fka.

    • Click [Add alias]. If more than 5 aliases complete the 5th one and click [Add aliases] to continue adding additional aliases.

7.  The Debtor Information screen reappears.

  • If the party has a corporate parent, click the [Corporate Parent/affiliate..] button.


8.  Enter the Corporate Parent Name.

  • If there are no matches, the system will return a No Match  found.

  • Since the party is not already in the database, proceed to add the corporate parent.  Click [Create new corporate parent].

  • Enter the corporate parent's name.

  • Click the [Add Corporate Parent] button


9.  The Debtor Information screen reappears.

  • Clicking on the [Review] button presents a screen summarizing the attorney, corporate parent and alias activity for this debtor.

  • Verify the information.

  • Note there will be no attorney added until the end of the case opening process.

  • Click [Return to Party Screen].


10. The Party Information screen will return again.  If you are finished adding information for this new party, click [Submit] to continue with Case Opening.


11. Next, the system will display a screen confirming the assignment of the Divisional Office.  The assignment is based on the county and zip code of the debtor.

  • Click [Next].   


NOTE:       If this is a joint debtor filing, a JOINT DEBTOR PARTY search screen appears next.


  • Use the same procedures for searching for the joint debtor.


NOTE:    A  check mark is placed in the box to indicate the debtor's address will be copied to the

                 joint debtor.  This is a system default.  If the address of the joint debtor is not the same

                 remove the check mark and enter a different address for the joint debtor.


12.  The Statistical Data screen appears next.


  • Prior filing within last 8 years.  Indicate yes or no from the pick list.

  • Fee Status values are Paid, Installment, and IFP filing fee waived.

If the petition is accompanied by an Application to Pay Filing Fees in

Installments, choose Installment from the pick list box.


If the petition is accompanied by an Application for Waiver of the

Chapter 7 Filing Fee, choose IFP from the pick list.


  • Designate the Nature of Debt as Consumer or Business.

  • Choose Y (yes) or N (no) for Asset notice designation.


NOTE:  Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 cases are always asset cases.


  • Select the range of Estimated Creditors from the pick list.

  • Select the correct dollar range for Estimated Assets.

  • Select the correct dollar range for Estimated Liabilities.

  • Select the Type of Debtor by clicking the appropriate radio button.

  • Select the Nature of Business by clicking the appropriate radio button.


NOTE:  Tax-Exempt Entity can be selected in conjunction with any type of business.


13.  The SUMMARY OF SCHEDULES screen appears.

    • Report the totals from Schedules A,B,D,E,F,I,J, Form B122, and Non-dischargeable Debt in the boxes provided.

    • Click [Next].

14.  The United States Trustee Statistical Data screen appears.

  • Report the information from Schedules and Form B122.


When the information is not available at case opening, please use the event "Update EOUST Stats" located in the "Miscellaneous" category to enter the required information after the case has been opened.


15.  The SELECT A PDF DOCUMENT screen appears.

  • Click [Browse], then navigate to the directory where the appropriate PDF file is located.

  • Highlight the file.  Then right click with your mouse and select open to verify the contents of the document.  If correct, double-click the pdf file to select it.

  • There will be no attachments to this petition.  

  • Click [Next].


16.  The INCOMPLETE FILINGS, Section 521 INCOMPLETE FILINGS and MEETING OF CREDITORS screen is presented showing the due dates for the missing documents.


  • The court will monitor these deadlines for compliance.

  • The deadline for missing documents is calculated and displays. This will print on the final docket text and as a schedule for queries and reports.

  • Click [Next].


17.  The PRESUMPTION ARISES screen will appear next.  Highlight the appropriate selection and click    [Next].


18.  The FILING FEE screen will appear next displaying the fee amount. Click [Next].

19.  Click [Next].

20.  The FINAL TEXT EDITING screen displays.

  • Verify the accuracy of the docket text.  This is what will print on the docket sheet.

  • If the docket text is incorrect, click the browser [Back] button at the top of the screen one or more times to find the error.

  • To abort or restart the transaction, click on the Bankruptcy Events hyperlink on the CM/ECF Main Menu Bar.  Although this can be done at any time, this is your last opportunity to change the event.

  • If the docket text is correct, click [Next].

21.  Summary of Charges is presented.

The summary of current charges is presented for you to enter payment now or continue filing.

If paying now, click [Pay Now] or [Continue Filing] to pay later.




  • A request to enter credit card information is displayed.

  • Use the drop down arrow to select card type.

  • Enter the card number.

  • Enter the Security Code. (The verification number is a 3-digit number printed on the back of your card.  It appears after and to the right of your card number.  For American Express it is a 4-digit number on the front of your card.

  • Enter the Expiration Date:  Use the drop down arrow to select the month and year.

  • Click [Continue with Plastic Card Payment].

  • Authorize payment by placing a check mark in the authorization box.

  • To have a confirmation e-mail sent to you from the U.S. Treasury Department  upon completion of this transaction, provide an e-mail address and re-enter it for a confirmation.

  • A confirmation of your transaction receipt will display.


NOTE:  If fees are not paid by 11:59pm on the date you are filing, you will be locked out of the ECF system until the fees are paid.


22.  The NOTICE OF ELECTRONIC FILING screen displays.

  • Make a note of the case number.

  • The Notice of Electronic Filing is the verification that the filing has been sent electronically to the court's database.  It certifies that the petition is now the official court record.


NOTE:  It is recommended to save and/or print this screen for future reference.


This page is also available for viewing by accessing the docket report from either the Query or Reports Main Menu Bar selection.  Refer to Reports for additional instructions.


  • Click on the case number hyperlink identified in blue.  The Notice of Electronic Filing will present the docket report for this case.

  • Click on the document number hyperlink.  It will present the PDF image of the image of the petition just filed.

  • The Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing hyperlink appears at the top of the Notice of Electronic Filing.  Click on this hyperlink to reveal a notice summarizing the pertinent details and participants of this case.


  • This certification was created in addition to the initial notice of filing.  It also displays the debtor (s), attorney, case number, time filed date of the case opening information.  It can be used to notice creditors as an official notice of stay besides the 341 Meeting Notice to stop foreclosures and other creditor actions.  It may be saved or printed at the time of filing.

  • The Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing is also available for viewing or printing through the Query Main Menu Bar selection.  This option is available for public inquiry as well as court users.

  • To print a copy of this notice, click the browser [Print] icon.

  • To save a copy of this receipt, click [File] on the browser menu bar and select Save Frame As.

Manual Chapter: 
Case Opening - Bankruptcy