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Consumer Information

Federal Bankruptcy Code, Rules, and Forms

The full text of the federal Bankruptcy Code is available at the Law Information Institute Web site maintained by Cornell University Law School. See U.S. Code: Title 11 - Bankruptcy.

The Federal Bankruptcy Rules and Official Bankruptcy Forms are available on the federal courts’ Web site. See United States Bankruptcy Courts for more information.

For Same-Sex Married Couples

In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held in United States v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) may not constitutionally be applied to same-sex married couples whose marriages are legally recognized under state law. Although the United States is not the sole regulator with respect to bankruptcy law and procedure, the U.S. Trustee Program’s position is that same-sex married couples should be treated in the same manner as opposite-sex married couples for all bankruptcy purposes.

In light of Windsor, the USTP will interpret the terms “spouse,” “marriage,” and “husband and wife” in the Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules to include same-sex married couples. The USTP will also interpret these terms to refer to individuals who are lawfully married under any state law, including individuals married to a person of the same sex who were legally married in a state that recognizes such marriages, but who are domiciled in a state that does not recognize such marriages. Thus, the USTP will apply the relevant Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rule provisions to same-sex spouses just as it would apply them to opposite-sex spouses.

For more information, refer to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Consumer Information.

For Pro Se Debtors

Information about filing bankruptcy is available on the Web site of the federal bankruptcy courts at United States Bankruptcy Courts.

For Homeowners

Resources may be available if you are in danger of losing your home because you are behind in mortgage payments. Government agencies that provide information and assistance include the Department of Housing and Urban Development (Find a Housing Counselor and Avoiding Foreclosure) and the Federal Trade Commission (Facts for Consumers).

In addition, you may be eligible to modify your mortgage to make your monthly payments more affordable through the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), even if you have filed for bankruptcy relief. For more information on HAMP, please review the HAMP Fact Sheet in English [PDF - 268 KB] or Spanish [PDF - 268 KB] and the HAMP FAQs in English [PDF - 102 KB] or Spanish [PDF - 107 KB], or visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov. Also available on this site is a video that describes HAMP -- what it is and how it works, particularly within the bankruptcy context. Click here to view the video.

Scam operators target people whose home mortgages are in trouble. For more information, refer to Bankruptcy Foreclosure or Mortgage Rescue Scams, the Homeowners' Concerns section of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Consumer Information, and this FBI and USTP issued Intelligence Assessment [PDF - 126 KB].

You may find more information on various types of financial fraud, including where to report financial fraud, at www.StopFraud.gov, the Web site of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

Health Insurance

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law in 2010, institutes a number of changes regarding health insurance coverage and the protections and benefits available to consumers. For information on finding health care coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs under the ACA, please visit www.healthcare.gov.

 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 2:13 PM