THIS ONLINE TOOL IS FOR SELF-REPRESENTED DEBTORS ONLY
Bankruptcy has serious long-term financial and legal consequences and hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended. Individuals filing for bankruptcy without an attorney are still responsible for knowing and following all the legal requirements. The Bankruptcy Court is not permitted to provide legal advice.
What is eSR?
- eSR is an online tool to help individuals complete a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition when they have decided to file bankruptcy without an attorney.
- eSR is not available to attorneys or bankruptcy petition preparers and is not designed for business or corporate bankruptcy filings.
Why use eSR?
- There is no cost to use eSR. Pay only the required filing fee for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case.
- eSR has a guided, step-by-step process that allows up to 45 days to complete the package for submission.
- Your personal information is only accessible by you, using a unique login and password.
- There is no software to download or purchase.
- eSR is accessible 24 hours a day from any internet-enabled computer.
eSR CANNOT be Used If:
- You do not have a working email address;
- You are filing for a non-individual (e.g., corporation, partnership, LLC.);
- You are filing a Chapter 11 case (eSR can only be used to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13);
- You are an attorney representing a client or you are a petition preparer; or
- You need legal advice about the risks to your assets and the financial consequences of filing a bankruptcy case.
How Do I File Bankruptcy Using eSR?
- BEFORE OPENING THE PROGRAM:
- Obtain credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency.
- Determine which chapter of the Bankruptcy Code you are eligible to file. See Bankruptcy Basics.
- Collect all your financial documents because you will need them to complete the petition. When filing for bankruptcy, documentation is necessary. Use these convenient checklists to ensure you have everything needed to file via eSR:
Ensure your computer meets these requirements:
A computer or tablet with an Internet connection
- Note: eSR will NOT work from a smart phone
- Adobe Reader (version 8 or higher)
- Pop-up blocker must be disabled
- Browser requirements – it is recommended that you use the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, Edge, Chrome or Safari.
- A computer or tablet with an Internet connection
- READY TO BEGIN: PREPARING YOUR eSR PETITION PACKET
- You may begin using eSR by clicking the button below.
- Create a user profile, provide an email address (this will also serve as your login ID), and create a password for eSR.
Using eSR, answer ALL questions presented, which will cover topics such as property you own, your household income, and debts. When adding names of creditors MAKE SURE to include their addresses.
- From the first day you begin work in eSR, you have up to 45 days to complete the petition. If you do not submit your petition to the bankruptcy court for filing within 45 days, whatever you have done will be deleted from the eSR system. If you do not think you will finish within 45 days, please print out a copy of your work for future reference.
Click Submit when prompted.
- Note: your bankruptcy petition is NOT considered filed and does NOT receive a case number at this point. Additional items must be received by the Court.
- If you are filing bankruptcy to delay or stop a foreclosure action on your home, it is very important for you to understand that using eSR may delay the filing of your case until the Court receives the additional items required to complete your filing.
- See Flowchart on How to Prepare a Petition Using eSR.
- AFTER SUBMITTING YOUR eSR PETITION PACKET:
- You will receive an email at the email address you provided to set up an eSR profile that confirms the electronic receipt of the bankruptcy petition submitted to the Court. Please note that a confirmation email does not constitute filing a bankruptcy case. The confirmation email will include additional documents required to open your case.
- Within 7 days of submitting your petition, you must provide the following items to complete your bankruptcy filing:
These items can be uploaded using the Electronic Document Submission System (EDSS), or mailed or hand-delivered to the Clerk’s Office at:
***The Court cannot open your case and issue a case number until these items are received. *** Your bankruptcy petition will be deemed filed as of the date/time the Court RECEIVES all these documents. Failure to properly complete and submit these documents may delay the filing of your bankruptcy petition and the opening of your case.
- Mail or hand deliver to the Court the filing fee (Money Order or Certified Check ONLY, made payable to “Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court”). Or if applicable, submit the Application to Pay in Installments OR Application to Waive the Chapter 7 Filing Fee. Fee waiver is not available for Chapter 13 cases.
What Happens AFTER I Submit the Additional Forms?
- Once your case is filed, the Court will send you a Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing containing your case number and information about your meeting of creditors.
You MUST attend the meeting of creditors, as instructed on the Notice.
- For trustee information concerning the meeting of creditors click here.
- By submitting your petition through eSR, you have consented to receive certain notices from the court electronically through Debtor Electronic Bankruptcy Noticing (DeBN).
- A deficiency notice will be sent for any other required documents that were not included in the initial filing.
- AUTOMATIC STAY: An automatic stay (injunction) is NOT in effect until a bankruptcy case number is issued by the bankruptcy court.
- FILING HOURS: The bankruptcy case may be opened if the eSR petition packet is submitted and additional documents are received by the Court between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm on business days only. If the eSR documents are submitted outside this time frame, the case may be processed on the next business day.
- DEFICIENT FILINGS: eSR only allows a one-time submission. Any schedules or statements not completed at the time the eSR package is submitted cannot be completed later using eSR. All subsequent pleadings and amendments to pleadings must be filed either using the Electronic Document Submission System (EDSS), or in paper form via mail or dropped off at the Court’s Columbia location: 1100 Laurel Street, Columbia, SC 29201-2423.
For technical assistance regarding eSR, please contact the Help Desk at 803-253-3624. Please note, the Clerk's office is prohibited from giving legal advice.
Because bankruptcy can have serious long‑term financial and legal consequences, including loss of your property, you should hire a lawyer and carefully consider all your options before you file. A lawyer can explain to you what may happen as a result of filing for bankruptcy. If you decide to file for bankruptcy, a lawyer can help protect you, your family, your home, and your possessions.
Although the law allows you to represent yourself in the bankruptcy court, you should understand that many people find it extremely difficult to represent themselves successfully. The rules are very technical, and a misstep or inaction may affect your rights. If you file without a lawyer, you are still responsible for knowing and following all the legal requirements.
Bankruptcy fraud is a serious crime; you could be fined and imprisoned if you commit fraud in your bankruptcy case. If you make a false statement, you could be fined up to $500,000.00 or imprisoned for up to 5 years or both. See 18 USC §§ 152 and 3571.