Online bankruptcy filing refers to filing your case through the internet, which is how most lawyers file nowadays, as opposed to walking into the Federal courthouse and handing the court clerk a stack of papers and documents that is required to be filed when opening up a new case. In many districts throughout the United States, including the Southern District of California, which covers San Diego County, courts no longer accepts over-the-counter filings by attorneys. Absent special circumstances, online is required by all attorneys. In such districts, your attorney has no choice but to file your bankruptcy petition and schedules online.
Online Filing In San Diego Is a Requirement
The online filing requirement represents a growing shift by Federal Court system, and definitely in San Diego County, toward simplifying the process of scanning documents into court records as well as a movement in the Federal court system toward continually striving to employ a more green policy. In fact, the state courts in California are following suit, just at a much slower pace.
In the San Diego bankruptcy court, it used to be that attorneys would print out stacks of schedules and statements and send a messenger to the Federal courthouse to hand-deliver the documents to the court clerk. The clerk would then manually scan all of the documents into the Federal Court computer systems. It would then take a few days before the filed documents would be accessible to attorneys viewing the electronic court records management system.
There were three problems with the old system. First, the manual scanning of documents was a waste of court resources because court personnel would have to spend time scanning documents into a computer system at the expense of devoting time expeditiously processing case files. Second, the printing out of documents and sending them to the Court was a waste of paper and conflicted with Federal government’s effort to employ a more green policy. Third, during the few days it would take for court personnel to scan documents into the court’s record management system, attorneys could not access, or even see, case documents that were filed for several days.
The requirement of online filing remedied all of these problems. Now, every bankruptcy attorney in San Diego must file bankruptcies online through the internet. Upon the filing, the records become part of the court’s electronic records and are accessible immediately by all attorneys with access to documents online.
With the implementation of the online filing system, the Court is able to conserve its resources, paper is conserved as well, and San Diego bankruptcy cases are administered more efficiently. Bankruptcy lawyers have instant access to documents the moment the documents are filed.
So all that online bankruptcy filing means is that your case, once prepared by your lawyer and signed by you, is going to be filed with the court through the internet instead of over-the-counter at the Federal courthouse.
Is Online Bankruptcy Filing Reliable?
Online bankruptcy filing is actually more reliable than hand-delivering documents to the court. With a hand-delivery filing system, there is a potential for many things to go wrong: a messenger could deliver the documents to the wrong court; the messenger could get into a car accident; the messenger could quit his or her job and never make it to the courthouse; important pages of your bankruptcy documents could fall out due to carelessness while your documents are en route to the courthouse, or a whole slew of other potential problems could occur. Although such problems are unlikely and would rarely be expected to occur, they are nonetheless possibilities when doing over-the-counter filings.
With online bankruptcy, there is no potential for any of the issues associated with hand-delivery. Your legal documents go straight from your attorney’s computer to the court’s electronic record system. Moreover, upon the filing of your bankruptcy or any related documents, court records are updated and your attorney can actually see how the document was filed and see it exactly as the judge will see it. Your San Diego bankruptcy lawyer can also verify that the filed document appearing before the judge’s eyes has all intended pages attached to it and is otherwise correct and in order. Furthermore, if there is any error with the filing, your attorney can immediately correct the problem by amendment, instantly update the court records, and then verify that court records have been updated correctly.