Although bankruptcy is Federal law, each state has a part to play in the case. For example, if you live in Woodridge, Illinois and retain a Woodridge bankruptcy attorney, then property rights are determined under Illinois bankruptcy law as it pertains to your individual case. The filing may be Federal, but the law regarding how much property you can protect from creditors and from the Trustee in bankruptcy is Federal. Some states rely solely on Federal exemptions and Federal law with regard to the prosecution of the case. If you live in Illinois, you at least have your property rights determined under the state of Illinois laws.
If you live within the large metropolitan area of Chicago, then you will be filing in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The Clerk may reference your case as one of Chicago bankruptcy. Alternatively, the Clerk may classify the case as one filed simply within the Northern District. In any event, your 341 meeting of creditors court date will take place within the Chicago city limits should you reside in Chicago. Chicago also has the greatest number of Judges and Trustees. It is also the branch that hears the most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases within the state. If you are unfamiliar with the process in Chicago, you will have to learn the dates, times, protocols and general rules of the Clerk and of the court.
If you live in Illinois, you do have the option to file bankruptcy yourself. Although this is an option, is it not one that I would recommend. Basically, the filing of a bankruptcy case today has become somewhat of a specialty. You have to time everything properly so that pre-filing requirements as well as post-filing requirements are satisfied. If you fail to follow the proper time frames, the case can be dismissed on proper notice of the court. The system has gotten so specialized that several attorneys who used to file a case here and there have ceased filing bankruptcy cases.
As with any legal matter, it is strongly recommended that you seek proper legal advice. If you are even considering claiming bankruptcy, you want to meet with a professional who handles bankruptcy on a daily basis. You should explore the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 to see which chapter provides the best relief under your particular circumstance. Without the proper counsel, you may just file under a chapter that hurts you instead of helps you. There is so much information available on the internet if you want to learn more. Bankruptcy is a big step. Make certain that you have found the right attorney to handle your case.