Submit a Petition Package Online

WARNING TO INDIVIDUALS CONSIDERING BANKRUPTCY

Because bankruptcy can have serious long-term financial and legal consequences, including loss of your property, individuals considering bankruptcy should hire an attorney and carefully consider all of your options before you file. Only an attorney can give you legal advice about what can happen as a result of filing for bankruptcy and what your options are. If you do file for bankruptcy, an attorney can help you fill out the forms properly and protect you, your family, your home, and your possessions.

Although the law allows you to represent yourself in bankruptcy Court, you should understand that many people find it difficult to represent themselves successfully. The rules are technical, and a mistake or inaction may harm you. If you file without an attorney, you are still responsible for knowing and following all of the legal requirements.

You should not file for bankruptcy if you are not eligible to file or if you do not intend to file the necessary documents.

Bankruptcy fraud is a serious crime; you could be fined and imprisoned if you commit fraud in your bankruptcy case. Making a false statement, concealing property, or obtaining money or property by fraud in connection with a bankruptcy case can result in fines up to $250,000, or imprisonment for up to 20 years, or both. 18 U.S.C. §§ 152, 1341, 1519, and 3571.

Filing Bankruptcy to Delay or Stop a Foreclosure or Due to an Emergency?

If you are filing bankruptcy to delay or stop a foreclosure action on your home (or for some other emergency purpose), please consider visiting the Clerk’s Office to open your case. The use of eSR to submit a bankruptcy petition may delay the filing of your case for several days until the Court receives the additional documents that are required to complete your filing, and an automatic stay is not in effect until a bankruptcy petition is filed and a case number is assigned.

What is Electronic Self-Representation?

Electronic Self-Representation, or eSR, is an online tool available in the Southern District of Ohio to help individuals prepare a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition package when they have decided to file bankruptcy without an attorney. eSR asks the user a series of questions and uses the data entered to automatically fill out official forms. After each section is completed, the forms are available for viewing by the user and submission to the Court.

Note: eSR cannot be used to file documents following the submission of the petition package. All subsequent filings and amendments must be filed on paper and hand-delivered or mailed to the Bankruptcy Court.

Only self-represented debtors can submit bankruptcy packages online. This tool may not be used by attorneys or bankruptcy petition preparers and is not designed for non-individuals (e.g., business and other corporate entities).

Why should I use eSR?

Debtors who file using the Court’s eSR program are provided with a guided, step-by-step process for completion of the forms required to file bankruptcy. The program allows you at least 45 days to complete and submit the documentation necessary to file a Chapter 7 or 13 case. The program is accessible 24 hours a day. And although you must pay the required filing fee for a Chapter 7 or 13 case, there is no additional fee to use eSR and no software to download or purchase. Your personal information is accessible only to you using a unique login and password assigned to you.

What are the technical requirements to file a case using eSR?

To file a bankruptcy using the Court’s eSR program, you must have:

  • Access to a computer or tablet with an Internet connection;
  • Adobe Reader (version 8 or higher); and
  • Access to a printer.

If you have a pop-up blocker, it must be disabled, and it is recommended that you use the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari. Note: eSR will NOT work from a smart phone.

How do I get started with eSR?

First, collect the necessary documents:

  • The law requires debtors to complete credit counseling before filing bankruptcy. To obtain credit counseling from an approved counseling agency, click here.
  • Collect all your financial documents before you begin. When filing bankruptcy, documentation is necessary. Use these checklists to ensure you have everything needed to file via eSR:

Then, visit the eSR portal to:

  • Create a user profile, provide an email address which will serve as your login ID, and create a password for eSR.
  • Using eSR, answer questions about your property, income and debts, and submit the package.

What happens after I submit my bankruptcy package using eSR? Is my case officially opened?

No. You will need to inform the Court you have submitted your petition by submitting additional documents. Your case is not opened until the Court processes the petition and these additional documents.

What additional documents are required, and how do I get them?

After your petition is submitted in the eSR portal, the Court will send you a confirmation email with links to the following documents:

  • Declaration Regarding Electronic Filing (Self-Represented Individual) (Form G-20)
  • Statement About Your Social Security Numbers (Official Form 121)
  • Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments (Official Form 103A)
  • Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived (Official Form 103B) (Chapter 7 only)
  • LBR Form 1015-2 Statement of Related Cases
  • Verification of Creditor Matrix

A copy of Government-issued photo identification (e.g. driver's license, passport) is required.

The Court will open the case when it receives a completed and signed Declaration Regarding Electronic Filing (Self-Represented Individual) (Form G-20) and Statement About Your Social Security Numbers (Official Form 121). Note that these documents must be signed with an original handwritten signature.

If you are applying to have your fee waived or paid in installments, also complete the appropriate Official Form. Required documents should be submitted within 10 calendar days from receipt of the confirmation email.

How do I submit these additional documents?

After your eSR petition is submitted, you must deliver the additional documents to the Court in person or through the mail.

Cincinnati
221 East Fourth Street
Atrium Two Suite 800
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Columbus
170 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dayton
120 West Third Street
Dayton, Ohio 45402

 

Please be advised that a bankruptcy petition is NOT considered “filed” (and does not receive a case number) until all of the above-listed documents are received and processed by the Court. A Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing will be provided to you when the case has been officially filed.

Do I have to pay my entire filing fee when I submit my packet?

No. You have the following options for paying your filing fee:

  • Mail / Intake: You can submit a cashier’s check or money order payable to "Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court," or submit cash (exact amount only) in person at the Court. Do not mail cash or submit cash in the Court’s dropbox.

You can also request that the Court allow the filing fee to be paid in installments by filing an Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments (Official Form 103A).  And if you are filing a Chapter 7 case, you may request that the Court waive your filing fee by filing an Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived (Official Form 103B).

I have a question about eSR. Who do I contact?

For technical assistance with eSR, please contact the Court by e-mailing esr@ohsb.uscourts.gov. Please note that employees of the Court’s Clerk's Office are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice on how to complete the forms.