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1.3.3 Organization of the Treatise

Volume One contains the text chapters, bibliography, and index, while Volume Two contains the appendices. Additional pleadings, primary sources, and practice tools are available online as companion material to the online treatise.

To facilitate Volume One’s use by the various constituencies to which it is addressed, it is divided into several parts. Although there are frequent cross-references, each part has a different purpose.

The first part, consisting of the first four chapters, is intended to provide an introductory “nuts and bolts” understanding of how bankruptcy works. To keep these chapters relatively non-technical, they contain many references to later chapters for in-depth discussion of particular topics.

The next four chapters contain a step-by-step practice guide on how to handle a case from the moment that bankruptcy is first considered until events that occur after the case is over. Together, the first eight chapters should provide the reader with a basic knowledge of what happens in a typical consumer bankruptcy. The remaining chapters may then be consulted as necessary.

Chapters 9 through 16, infra, contain a more detailed discussion of the legal issues frequently arising in consumer bankruptcy cases. As these issues are so often present, those who practice regularly in bankruptcy courts should become knowledgeable in the areas covered by these chapters as well as the chapters preceding them.

Finally, Chapter 17, infra, contains a discussion of issues involved in representing family farmers and family fishermen in cases under chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code and Chapter 18, infra, addresses issues related to representing consumers as creditors when a merchant, landlord, or other entity is in bankruptcy.

Volume Two consists of a set of appendices that contain basic bankruptcy reference materials. These materials have been substantially updated and revised for this Eleventh Edition. They should be used in preference to older editions and supplements which no longer present accurate versions of current law. As new digital updates are published, they should be consulted for the most current available materials.

Appendix A, infra, reprints the text of the United States Bankruptcy Code64 as well as selected provisions of other relevant statutes.65Appendix B, infra, reprints the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure as amended through December 2017. Appendix C, infra, contains bankruptcy regulations, fees, and agency notices, including a rule on credit counseling agencies, debtor audit standards, and fee schedules.

Appendix D, infra, includes those Official Forms promulgated by the federal Judicial Conference which are generally relevant to consumer bankruptcy practice, as amended through December 2017. These forms are regularly changed, so it is important not to rely on old forms, including those reproduced in prior editions of this treatise. The forms required to institute a case are included as sample completed bankruptcy schedules illustrating how to prepare an initial filing. Many commonly occurring issues encountered in filling out the official forms are addressed. Other Official Forms are included in blank. To complete the forms, practitioners can use either a specialized bankruptcy document preparation program or the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format fillable forms available for download on the website of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.66

Appendix E, infra, contains some additional forms that, though not “official,” are in common use. Although they may be filed as is in most jurisdictions, local practice may impose different requirements.

Appendix F, infra, is a sample bankruptcy interview form that can be filled out either by an advocate or by clients directly. It may need to be edited to accommodate local practice. The form is available online under “Practice Tools” as companion material to this treatise in Microsoft Word format, to facilitate adapting the interview form to individual needs. A Spanish version is also available in Word format.

Appendix G, infra, contains more than 180 model pleadings and form letters for representing consumer debtors. The Appendix includes a number of pleadings specially adapted to respond to the 2005 Bankruptcy Code changes, and also includes pleadings commonly used by consumers as creditors. These forms are intended to serve as a guide for addressing issues that commonly arise in consumer bankruptcy practice. A listing of these forms can be found both in the table of contents and at the beginning of Appendix G, infra. All these forms are available online under “Pleadings and Discovery” as companion material to this treatise in Microsoft Word format, so that they can be edited for actual use.

Appendices H and I, infra, contain several useful practice aids. A “Date Calculator” is available at www.nclc.org, to assist practitioners in computing the time periods for critical prepetition events that may affect the debtor’s decision when to file a bankruptcy petition. Appendix H.1, infra, contains a sample of this calculator with a detailed description of the prepetition events. Appendix H, infra, also contains information and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms that can facilitate obtaining a client’s tax returns or tax transcripts, which may have to be filed in a bankruptcy case. Appendix H, infra, also contains interim procedures on waivers, best practices for consumer bankruptcy cases, and other helpful resources. Appendix I, infra, contains Census data, IRS standards, and other information that relates to the application of the means test mandated by sections 707(b)(2) and 1325(b)(3) of the Code.67

Appendix J, infra, is a summary of state exemption laws. The Appendix includes information to help determine the applicable exemption law in a bankruptcy proceeding based on the domiciliary provisions found in Code section 522(b)(3)(A).

Appendix K, infra, contains sample handouts for clients, which answer many common bankruptcy questions. These handouts are available online under “Practice Tools” as companion material to this treatise, in Microsoft Word format, so that they can be edited for individual use.

Appendix L, infra, lists a number of official and unofficial websites which provide useful information for the bankruptcy practitioner. Another helpful resource is the bibliography of articles and books on consumer bankruptcy which is found at the end of Volume One.

Footnotes

  • 64 {64} The full Code is reprinted with the exception of chapters 9 and 15 and subchapters III and IV of chapter 7, which are not relevant to consumers.

  • 65 {65} A red-lined version of the Code showing the changes made by the 2005 amendments is available online as companion material to this treatise.

  • 66 {66} The Official Bankruptcy Forms are available at www.uscourts.gov. Not all of the forms are available in a fillable PDF format.

  • 67 {67} These figures are updated at various times each year, so it is important to check the current amounts at www.usdoj.gov. Most commercial bankruptcy software programs are updated by their vendors when new figures are put into effect.