Milan, TN Bankruptcy Court Information
Three Kinds of Information You Will Need from the Court
(Note: Court websites change often and links go out of date. If a link does not work, go to the home page for the court and look for the materials from there.)
Official Website of the
Tennessee Western District Bankruptcy Court
What you'll find there
You'll need to file your papers with one of the courthouses that serve the Tennessee Western District Bankruptcy Court.
When there isn't a pandemic going on, you'd normally have to go there in person at least once to meet with the bankruptcy trustee for your 341 hearing. During the Coronavirus pandemic, those meetings are typically done by phone.
Where To Start
Before you file, there are three kinds of information you'll need to get from the court's website:
1. Info on Filing Without an AttorneyCourt "Pro Se" Info
Information specific to your district
You'll need information specifically about your particular court's procedures.
Fortunately, the Tennessee Western District Bankruptcy Court offers information specifically designed for people filing without an attorney. Virtually all courts link to the generic national information mentioned above. The Tennessee Western District Bankruptcy Court offers specific guidance about local procedures.
General information about how to file
If you're new to the bankruptcy process, the website of the US Courts Adminstrative Office now offers a basic orentation page for those filing bankruptcy without an attorney. The information inlcudes a Bankruptcy Basics video in English Spanish and Creole. The half hour video is split into chapters so you can go back and review parts that went by too fast the first time.
2. Local RulesLocal Rules - TNW
Each court has its own rules about filing procedure and how to format the creditors' "mailing matrix" (a list of creditor's names and addresses), and they tend to be fussy about it.
You must comply with the details of the process, such as filing dates, filing procedures, fees, and a myriad of other bureaucratic wonderfulness. Depending on how poorly they're written, your court's local rules probably won't make much sense to you. Don't worry. You may not be affected by most of the rules.
However, you will need to follow the rules about filing procedure and how to format the creditors' "mailing matrix" (a list of creditor's names and addresses).
Your court publishes plain-English instructions for those filing without a lawyer in the Tennessee Western District Bankruptcy Court . Use that first, rather than trying to read the actual rules.
6 and 7 of How
to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy offer more information on
what to look for in local rules and how to ask the court clerk for
the information you need as you prepare your paperwork and fill in yourforms.
3. Court FormsLocal Forms
Bankruptcy is a forms-intensive process, kind of like doing a long tax return.
The main forms you use in bankruptcy are federal forms, used nationwide in all bankruptcy courts.
Your bankruptcy court may have additional local forms for the Tennessee Western District Bankruptcy Court for dealing with things like the list of creditors.
Other information from the court
Most courts link to a downloadable U.S. Courts publication called "Bankruptcy Basics." This offers a decent overview of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy -- but has no information about how to actually file or fill in the mountain of forms.
Now most courts also link to a helpful YouTube video created by the Federal Courts that explains the bankruptcy process.
111 South Highland Avenue, Jackson, TN 38301. (731) 421-9300
What's all this about "CM/ECF"?
If you visit any bankruptcy court website, you will see prominent notices about mandatory "CM/ECF" which stands for "Case Management/Electronic Case Files." If you are representing yourself (filing without a lawyer), don't worry about this -- it applies only to lawyers (although most sites fail to mention that important fact).
If you're a lawyer, you must file your client's bankruptcy forms electronically and receive training on how to do it. Electronic filing simply means filing your forms as PDF (Acrobat) files via the internet or CD-ROM. Creating PDF files does not require special software. Any software that can print can also produce PDF files with the proper software add-ons. There are some specialized attorneys' bankruptcy software that will produce PDFs from data you enter.
Most downloadable official forms these days are PDFs with fillable fields and most computers can "print" a filled-in form to a PDF file. (See the Free Bankruptcy Forms page for more info)
Dealing with "legalese"
Why don't (some) bankruptcy court websites speak plain English?
Courts should serve all taxpayers, not just lawyers. Filing requirements should be clear and accessible to everyone. After all, everyone must follow the law, so why not make the rules clear and in plain English?
Unfortunately, not all courts provide clear, simple instructions for filing bankruptcy forms. It takes some effort to translate legalese into plain English, and some courts just don't bother. In fact, many courts call information for non-lawyers "pro se" (a Latin term) information. They just don't get it.
Fortunately, more and more courts are starting to "get it" and are providing information to help non-attorneys get find relevant information and lay out clear timelines of essential procedures and explain requirements in a clear, easy to follow manner.
Courts That Do a Good Job Of Helping Debtors Who Don't Have An Attorney
In our first review of 90 bankruptcy court websites nationwide in 2007, LegalConsumer.com found only a handful that provided clear, well-organized filing information for those who don't speak legalese. A few courts showed what could be done if all courts would bother to take the time to help the general public, and so we created a "Hall of Fame" of good government, to show what could be done by a court with taxpayer's money and a little extra effort, organizaion, and plain English. All bankruptcy courts should follow their example.
In more recent reviews, we've discovered a promising trend: many court websites showed significant improvement from 2007 to 2009.
If your court's website isn't helpful, check out one of these sites....
Bankruptcy courts that do a good job of explaining procedures to non-lawyers
Here are the best of the best. Court websites can and do change -- hopefully for the better, but not always.
Note: Links go directly to the court's info for non-lawyers, rather than the court home page.
Note: As you will see if you look at several of these, most of the information you find is general and applies regardless of which court you're filing in.
However, some procedures are "local" and deadlines and forms can vary from court to court.
Always confirm that you are complying with your own court's local rules and procedures.
Lots of warnings about filing without a lawyer, but also lots of good, helpful information about how to avoid screwing up. Reviewed May 2009. Updated March 2012
main website info for non-lawyers
New interface is a bit too clever by half. Important info is buried in the menu called "Court" Click the "No Attorney" link. Once you get past that, it's pretty good. Pop up menus work very slowly and may not work on all browsers. On some browsers you may not even see the menus at all! Has a dedicated pro se counter. (May 2009) Update: Court should make website work with all browsers. Important information is missed if the home page menus don't work right. But downloadble PDF guides are good, but were written in 2007. March 2012.
main website info for non-lawyers
Now features a special menu just for those filing without an attorney. Offers clearly organized guidance as to what to do when. (May 2009) Update. Still excellent. Could be a model for other courts. March 2012.
main website info for non-lawyers