The Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, also called the Bankruptcy Process, are a group of federal procedural rules prescribed by the Supreme Court of the United States pursuant to the Rules Enabling Act. They are basically the same as those found in civil processes, with significant differences. They provide for orderly debt collection and distribution of properties owned by a bankrupt person or company.
Because the bankruptcy process is governed by federal rules, most states also have their own variations of local rules for filing bankruptcy. But even within the states, there may be substantial differences in the rules. Therefore, it is a good idea to research the federal bankruptcy process as well as the local rules to see what applies to you, especially if you are not an expert on either the federal rules or the local rules in your state.
One of the most common differences is in the authority granted to the trustee. In general, bankruptcy cases are filed in U.S. bankruptcy court. However, some states use the local county process, which is similar to the U.S. bankruptcy process. If you are filing for bankruptcy in a different state, researching the process for the specific jurisdiction is important.
Another significant difference between the federal bankruptcy laws and the local ones is in the trustee’s duties. Trustees in most states are prohibited from dealing with debts in any way that does not advance the recovery of the creditors’ principal. This means that a trustee cannot allow a debtor to pay unsecured debts with another lender to avoid payment of the debt owed. A trustee also cannot hold property in trust for debtors who do not intend to repay the debts.
One of the other major differences is in the means test of bankruptcy. Under the federal code, debtors need to prove that they are unable to pay the debt. The means test, however, is not limited to the inability to pay. It also means that if an adult child is bankrupt and is able to continue living independently, the parent’s assets will not be subject to bankruptcy proceedings. On the other hand, in the united states test for bankruptcy, an adult child is required to prove that he or she is indigent.
One final difference between the federal and local bankruptcy codes is in the reorganization plan provisions. While most states require that a debtor establish an account for managing his or her affairs and providing security for creditors, the federal code does not. Instead, the bankruptcy code provides that a debtor may reorganize his or her debts into one debt with one monthly payment, using a regular repayment amount determined by a bankruptcy judge. Although most creditors support the reorganization plan, the courts often prevent them from limiting certain assets of the debtor.