Bankruptcy law is complex and confusing to bankruptcy outsiders (and often to bankruptcy in-siders). To gain a general understanding of the process, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts publishes a basic overview of the federal bankruptcy process entitled Bankruptcy Basics. This guide is available on the US Courts website: http://www.U.S.C.ourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyBasics.aspx
Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution authorizes Congress to enact federal bankruptcy laws, which are codified in Title 11 of the United States Code. This section of federal law is commonly called the Bankruptcy Code and is divided into nine chapters. Chapters 1, 3, and 5 apply to all cases. An individual bankruptcy case is filed under either Chapter 7, 11, or 13. A complete copy of the Bankruptcy Code is maintained on-line at: http://www.law.cornell.edu/U.S.C.ode/text/11
The dollar amounts found in the Bankruptcy Code change from time to time. Changes are published in the Federal Register: https://www.federalregister.gov
The federal bankruptcy process is governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, which may be read on-line at: http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frbp
Approved agencies for consumer credit counseling and the financial management course are found on the United States Trustee’s website, along with information required for completing the bankruptcy Means Test: http://www.justice.gov/ust/
Finally, take a look at the bankruptcy court’s “local rules,” which supplement the bankruptcy procedures. Every court has a copy of its local rules posted on its website.
Bankruptcy rules are only one aspect of understanding the bankruptcy process. The court interpret these laws and rules, including the bankruptcy court, district court, bankruptcy appellate panels, circuit courts and the United States Supreme Court. Phew! That’s a lot of reading! Fortunately, an experienced bankruptcy attorney has spent years reading these laws and cases, and is able to help you navigate the bankruptcy system.