You are here

Understanding Bankruptcy

The information outlined below is intended to give debtors and creditors an introduction to the bankruptcy process and laws. If you are considering filing bankruptcy, you may also be interested in viewing the video presentations found on the United States Courts Web site that describe the bankruptcy process and your options. 

Legal Advice

Bankruptcy can be complicated. The staff of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Clerk's office provides a variety of services; however they are not permitted to assist  with the preparation of the voluntary petition, schedules, or other documents, nor can they provide legal advice. All parties must comply with the Local Bankruptcy Rules,   Administrative Procedures   and General Orders for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Failure to do so will result in dismissal of the case, or other sanctions. The public library may have law books that may be of  assistance. If you wish to retain an attorney, call the Oklahoma Bar Association: 1-800-522-8065 or visit the Oklahoma Bar Association Web Site.

Role of Trustees

There are two different types of trustees involved in bankruptcy cases: case trustees and the United States trustee; each plays a different role in the bankruptcy process.

Case Trustee

In every chapter 7, 12, and 13 case a case trustee is appointed when the bankruptcy petition is filed. This trustee does not represent the debtor or any individual creditor. Rather, the trustee has independent rights and duties that are set forth in bankruptcy code.

Case trustees and their staff are not permitted to give legal advice to the debtor or the creditors.

United States Trustee

The Office of the United States Trustee(link is external) (UST) oversees the administration of the bankruptcy laws on behalf of the Attorney General of the United States. The UST has standing to raise any issue and be heard in any case under the bankruptcy code. Among the Trustee's duties are selecting and supervising the panel of case trustees, monitoring the progress of chapter 11 reorganization proceedings, monitoring applications for compensation, and notifying the United States Attorney of suspected bankruptcy crimes.

The United States trustee and staff of the Office of the United States Trustee are not permitted to give legal advice to the debtor or the creditors.

Meeting of Creditors and Notice of Deadlines

  • Notice of bankruptcy case filing, meeting of creditors, & deadlines will be sent to the debtor and all creditors listed on the matrix within 5 to 10 business days. Pro se debtors should also be familiar with Bankruptcy Code §521 and Bankruptcy Rule 4002.