How to File a Motion With a Bankruptcy Court

By Joseph Nicholson

Most of the bankruptcy process occurs away from the supervision of a judge. The trustee takes the responsibility of mediating between debtor and creditors, and can resolve many issues between them. Some matters, though, have to be decided by the court. To bring such an issue to the court's attention, a motion should be filed with the court and notice provided to the affected parties. An easy to understand form is provided by the court to exemplify the court's expectations for a motion.

Be an interested party in the bankruptcy because only someone involved in the case can file a motion. Interested parties are the debtor and the creditors listed on the case matrix. To be added to the case matrix as a debtor, you must file a claim within the court's designated period for doing so.

Identify a contested matter. Bankruptcy motions should be reserved for genuine disputes that have not been able to be resolved informally. Examples of potential matters for a motion are relief from the automatic stay to pursue other collection methods or motions by debtors to avoid liens on exempt property.

Prepare and file Form 20, which is a generic motion used by the U.S. bankruptcy courts to guide a party in how to address the court. When completing the form, you should refer to the rule under which you are requesting relief from the court.

Serve notice of the motion to every interested party in the case affected by the motion. This notice is the same form as the motion except that it is titled Notice instead of Motion. Parties must receive notice prior to a hearing on the issue with ample time to respond. Notice should be served as if it was a summons and complaint, according to Rule 1010.

About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.

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