Updated: 2020-07-16 by
Where to file your bankruptcy case depends on where you live and on whether you have a business close to home. Usually, you'll file in the federal district court closest to where you've lived for the past 180 days (six months). But if you run a business in a different district and most of your property is located there, you may have to file in the federal court serving that location.
The reason behind these filing rules is that the bankruptcy court wants the person overseeing your case—called the bankruptcy trustee—to be able to easily find, evaluate, and, if necessary, sell your property.
If you've moved recently, you may have to file at the bankruptcy court serving the county where you used to live. That will depend on where the greater portion of your property has been for most of the past 180 days. For example, if you lived in Oregon for most of your life, but moved to California a month ago, you'll file in Oregon because you lived there for 150 of the past 180 days.
You can handle most interactions with the court, including filing your bankruptcy forms, by mail. However, you will need to visit the courthouse in person at least once, for a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee.
What Happens If You File in the Wrong Place?
If you file your papers in the wrong bankruptcy court, it may delay your case. The bankruptcy trustee will probably bring the matter to the attention of the bankruptcy court judge. If the judge then finds that the trustee could more easily handle your case in another location, the judge may transfer or even dismiss your case. Because of these potential hassles, if you have any questions about the best place to file, it would be wise to get legal help before you submit your papers to a court.
Getting Information From Illinois Central District Bankruptcy Court
The 62618 zip code and all of Cass County are in the jurisdiction of the Illinois Central District Bankruptcy Court.
Here are a few basic things to look for on any court website:
- Local rules
- Local forms
- Plain-language information about bankruptcy
- Plain-language information about court filing requirements
- Specific instructions on how the court wants you to prepare and format a "mailing matrix" of your creditors addresses.
You may also be interested in:
Tips for keeping bankruptcy costs down, from court filing fees to mandatory counseling costs to getting legal help.
Steps for filing bankruptcy in Illinois, from learning whether you qualify, to completing and filing bankruptcy forms, to discharging your debts and getting on with your life.
While the timing for filing for bankruptcy may not be right NOW, the time to talk to a bankruptcy attorney IS now, so you can take full advantage of the financial protections that bankruptcy law can provide, and not make "financial mistakes" in the next 18 months.