Filing for bankruptcy requires you to honestly state information regarding your financial situation, including your debts and current financial status. If you've made an error or circumstances have changed, you can amend the information contained in your filed bankruptcy petition or one of the bankruptcy schedules to include the omitted information. According to Rule 1009(a) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, you can amend your bankruptcy paperwork at any time until the case is closed.
Chapter 7 is a liquidation proceeding that involves selling assets to repay your creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a fairly quick proceeding with most cases taking less than six months. Therefore, if you need to make changes to your bankruptcy paperwork, it is best to do it as soon as possible. You must qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy by passing a means test. This test looks at your income and expenses each month, and if you have little to no remaining disposable income to repay your creditors for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, you may be eligible to file for Chapter 7. Due to the fact that your income is an important factor in filing for Chapter 7, any change in income must be reported to your bankruptcy trustee as soon as possible.
Read More: How to Convert Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to Chapter 7
Reasons for Amendments
Making changes to your bankruptcy paperwork after it is filed may be necessary for several reasons. For example, if you forgot to include a creditor in your bankruptcy schedule, you can file an amendment to add the creditor to your case. And, if your financial situation has changed since you filed for bankruptcy -- you may have been fired from a job or filed for divorce -- you need to notify the court of your changed circumstances.
To amend a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, complete an amendment form and submit it to the bankruptcy court clerk. You are required to sign the form under penalty of perjury, just like your bankruptcy petition. Each bankruptcy court may have a slightly different procedure for amending your paperwork, so it is best to contact the clerk's office to determine what the procedures are in your court. For example, some states, such as Wisconsin, charge an amendment fee to add creditors. And some bankruptcy courts may require you to complete a particular form to make changes.
All bankruptcy paperwork, including the petition and schedules, are signed under penalty of perjury. This means that if you knowingly omit information or intentionally lie on your paperwork, you can face consequences including the dismissal of your bankruptcy case or even jail time. If you think there is a mistake in any of the documents filed in your bankruptcy case, contact the court immediately to make the necessary changes.
- Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin: Frequently Asked Questions
- Colorado Bankruptcy Law Group, LLC: How Long Do I Have to Amend My Bankruptcy Petition
- United States Courts: Chapter 7
- Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute: Rule 1009, Amendments of Voluntary Petitions, Lists, Schedules and Statements
Elizabeth Stock began writing professionally in 2010. Before pursuing a career as a freelance writer, Stock was an editor and note writer for the "Thomas Jefferson Law Review" while attending Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. Stock recently graduated magna cum laude from Thomas Jefferson earning a Juris Doctor.