If a debtor chooses to file bankruptcy he/she files a voluntary petition for bankruptcy with the court.  If a creditor attempts to force an individual into a bankruptcy it is considered involuntary.  Basically, this happens when a creditor feels that the only way they will recover anything from the debtor is to force them into bankruptcy.  At this point, the creditor will file a motion with the court.  If the court grants this motion the debtor is required to proceed with the bankruptcy.   If a debtor receives notice of an involuntary bankruptcy and does not wish to be in bankruptcy, he/she should contact an attorney as soon as possible.  It is possible to defend against this motion, but there is a very small window of time to respond.  If you do not respond in time the court may grant the motion.  If a debtor does win his/her case and does not have to file for bankruptcy he/she may be able to get the costs of attorney’s fees and the defense reimbursed.
This may all sound frightening; however, there are certain minimum amounts of debt.  A creditor cannot just force anyone into a bankruptcy.  Minimums depend on whether a debtor has a business or it is simply personal.   Importantly, and involuntary bankruptcy cannot be filed as a Chapter 13.  Depending on your situation, you may prefer, or need to file a Chapter 13.  The long and short is, if you get notice of an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.  It may be in your best interest to file for bankruptcy, and that is something an attorney can help you determine.  Whether you want to defend against an involuntary case, or consider a voluntary bankruptcy, it is always a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney.
There is another circumstance where debtor(s) may find themselves in an involuntary bankruptcy.  Any time an individual files for bankruptcy the bankruptcy trustee has the ability to look into financial records, assets, and property.  If the bankruptcy property finds an asset (that could be a house, cars, property, money, etc.) particularly one that was not properly disclosed or valued on the petition, you may be held in an involuntary bankruptcy.  As a general rule, a debtor has the right to dismiss their case at any time, however, as stated, if the bankruptcy trustee determines there are assets that could be liquidated to pay some of your debts you may not be able to dismiss your case.
If you have any questions, or would like to set up a free consultation, contact a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney today.