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FAQs: For General Public
What are my options to obtain copies of case documents, including certified copies? What are my options to review a case that was sent to the National Archives?
Is there any place I can get free or low cost legal advice before I file?
Here are a few possibilities to consider:
1. The Oregon State Bar has a lawyer referral program which will direct you to an attorney who has agreed to provide limited consultation at reduced rates. The Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Program can be contacted by calling 503-684-3763 in the Portland metropolitan area or 1-800-452-7636 if calling from other areas.
2. If you are low income and live in one of the counties listed below, you can call the legal aid office for your county. If you meet the income and asset guidelines, you will receive an appointment to meet with a volunteer lawyer.
- Clackamas, Columbia, Hood River, Multnomah, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill counties: Call (503) 224-4086 or (800) 228-6958 (Portland Regional Office of Legal Aid Services of Oregon)
- Lane County: Call (541) 485-1017 ext. 340 (Lane County Legal Aid/Oregon Law Center)
- Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties: Call (541) 385-6950 or (800) 678-6944 (Central Oregon Office of Legal Aid Services of Oregon)
- Gilliam, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler counties: Call (541) 276-6685 or (800) 843-1115 (Pendleton Regional Office of Legal Aid Services of Oregon)
3. The Debtor-Creditor Section of the Oregon State Bar, in cooperation with Legal Aid Services of Oregon, has a Bankruptcy Clinic. Anyone who is thinking about filing a consumer chapter 7 case can come to the class, but only those low income people who have separately made an appointment through the legal aid office will receive individual help from their volunteer attorney after the class. For further information on the Bankruptcy Clinic, click here.View Details»
What is a subpoena, and how do I serve it on another party or a witness?
What is a subpoena?
A subpoena is a document that directs a person to appear in person to testify or produce documents that may be used as evidence in court, including bankruptcy court. The subpoena can compel testimony or document production at a deposition, trial, evidentiary hearing, or examination under Federal Rule of Bankruptcy Procedure (FRBP) 2004. The person to whom a subpoena is directed may be a party or a nonparty to a bankruptcy contested matter or adversary proceeding.
A party not served with a subpoena need not testify at a trial or evidentiary hearing at the request of another party.
At the request of a party not represented by an attorney, the clerk of court will issue a subpoena. The requesting party must complete blanks in the subpoena and cause it to be served on the person to whom the subpoena is directed.
The requesting party is responsible for learning rules that govern subpoenas. The details of those rules are beyond the scope of this explanation. Those details include distinctions depending on the type of proceeding, the type of testimony or evidence sought, and the location of the person to whom the subpoena will be delivered.
FRBP 9016 makes Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (FRCP) 45 applicable to a subpoena in a bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding. FRCP Rule 45 governs obtaining and serving a subpoena. Other rules govern the events for which testimony or documents may be subpoenaed, such as for an FRBP 2004 examination, inspection of documents or other things (FRCP 34), or a deposition (FRCPs 30 and 31). Those rules are beyond the scope of this explanation.
Types of subpoenas
There are four types of subpoena forms available on the Local Forms page of the court’s website:
- B2540, Subpoena for Rule 2004 Examination
- B2550, Subpoena to Appear and Testify at a Hearing or Trial in a Bankruptcy Case or Adversary Proceeding
- B2560, Subpoena to Testify at a Deposition in a Bankruptcy Case or Adversary Proceeding
- B2570, Subpoena to Produce Documents, Information, or Objects or Permit Inspection of Premises in a Bankruptcy Case or Adversary Proceeding
A request for a subpoena may be submitted orally or in writing to the bankruptcy court case administrator. See the contact list for the Eugene office or Portland office for contact information for the case administrator assigned to the case or proceeding. An issued subpoena will be signed on behalf of the clerk but otherwise blank. FRCP 45(a)(3). The requesting party must complete the subpoena’s blanks before it is served.
● Personal service
A subpoena must be delivered personally to the person whose attendance is required by the subpoena. FRCP 45(b)(1).
● The person who delivers the subpoena (the server)—
- Must be at least 18 years of age and
- Cannot be a party to the proceeding in which the subpoena is issued. In other words, the requesting party cannot be the server.
● Proof of service
- The back side of a subpoena contains blanks to show proof of service. The server must fill in the blanks and sign under penalty of perjury.
- Do not file the subpoena or proof of service unless the court orders you to do so.
My ex-spouse has filed bankruptcy. He/she has listed me as a co-signer on a scheduled debt. What should I do? Does my divorce decree protect me?
If your ex-spouse has filed a chapter 7 and if you are a co-signer with your ex-spouse on a debt, the creditor can normally require the entire payment of that debt from you even though the divorce decree assigns the debt to your ex-spouse. The provisions of the divorce decree are not binding upon creditors. Depending on the terms of your divorce decree, however, non-support debts ordered to be paid by the ex-spouse under the decree may not be discharged.
If your ex-spouse has filed a chapter 12 or 13, the "automatic" stay extends to any individual co-debtor that is liable on consumer debts with the debtor [11 USC §§1201 & 1301]. In order to pursue collection from a co-debtor, the creditor must file and prevail on a Motion For Relief From Co- Debtor Stay using LBF #s 1220 and 1220.5 for chapter 12) or LBF #720.80 (for chapter 13 see also LBF #720 (Notice of Motion) and LBF #720.50 (General Relief From Stay Procedure). In addition, a chapter 12 or 13 debtor may be able to discharge non-support marital debt ordered in a divorce decree, even if it is not dischargeable in chapter 7.
As this is a very complicated area of law, you should seek legal advice from an experienced bankruptcy attorney for a thorough explanation of your rights and obligations in this area as soon as you find out that your ex-spouse has filed a bankruptcy.View Details»
I am getting mail from the court and don’t know why or who this person/company is. What do I do with these documents/notices?
Debtors are supposed to list everyone they owe money to at the time of filing. If they are unsure whether or not money is still owed, many times the debtor will list them anyway as a precautionary measure. If you are sure that you do not know the person/company who is the debtor you are certainly free to recycle the documents/notices as you see fit. You may also send the court a copy of the notice, and date and sign a request that you be removed from the mailing list in that case.
If you are trying to find out why you were listed by the debtor, you should call the debtor’s attorney. No one at the court will be able to help you with that information.View Details»
Who do I notify about a possible fraudulent filing?
The Office of the United States Trustee reviews complaints about possible fraudulent filings and, if appropriate, notifies the U.S. Attorney for further investigation. For more information contact:
For cases filed in Portland:
Office of the US Trustee
1220 SW 3rd Ave #315
Portland OR 97204
Phone: (503) 326-4000
For cases filed in Eugene:View Details»
Office of the US Trustee
405 E 8th Ave #1100
Eugene OR 97401-2706
Phone: (541) 465-6331
How do I get a hearing date?
Each judge maintains an individual hearings calendar. The procedure for obtaining a hearing date depends upon the nature of the hearing.
1. The §341(a) hearing ("meeting of creditors") is automatically scheduled by the Court shortly after the filing of the bankruptcy petition. The date and time of such hearing is contained in the notice sent by the Court to the debtor and to all creditors. The date and time of a confirmation hearing in a Chapter 13 case is likewise contained in that notice.
2. To schedule a hearing resisting a motion for relief from stay in a Chapter 7 or 13 case, or to schedule a hearing resisting a motion for relief from co-debtor stay in a Chapter 13 case, review the requirements set forth in LBF 720 (Notice of Motion).
3. To schedule a hearing regarding a motion to extend or impose the automatic stay, to object to a debtor's attempt to obtain an extension of the automatic stay to cure a pre-petition residential rental deficiency, or to object to a landlord's attempt to obtain a termination of the automatic stay to continue with eviction proceedings, review the requirements of LBF 721.3 (Procedures Re Motions/Objections To Extend/Impose 11 USC §362 Automatic Stay Pursuant To §362(c),§362(l),§362(m) or §362(n)).
4. To obtain hearing dates for any other purpose (including hearings on relief from stay motions in Chapter 11 or 12 cases and relief from co-debtor stay motions in Chapter 12 cases), contact the courtroom deputy for the judge assigned to the case.View Details»
Where do I get a copy of the Local Rules for the Bankruptcy Court (also known as LBRs or Local Bankruptcy Rules)?
How can I learn more about bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy Basics provides basic information to debtors, creditors, court personnel, the media, and the general public on different aspects of the federal bankruptcy laws. It also provides individuals who may be considering bankruptcy with a basic explanation of the different chapters under which a bankruptcy case may be filed and answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the bankruptcy process.View Details»