Filing for bankruptcy can be a complex and overwhelming process, but understanding the steps involved is crucial for those considering this option. This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to file bankruptcy in Missouri, outlining the necessary requirements and procedures to help individuals navigate through this challenging process.
Types of Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, is the most common type of bankruptcy filed by individuals. It involves the liquidation of non-exempt assets to pay off debts, providing a fresh start for debtors.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also referred to as reorganization bankruptcy, allows individuals with a regular income to create a repayment plan to settle their debts over a period of three to five years. This type of bankruptcy is suitable for those who want to keep their assets and catch up on missed payments.
Credit Counseling: Before filing for bankruptcy in Missouri, individuals are required to complete a credit counseling course from an approved agency within 180 days prior to filing their bankruptcy petition.
Means Test: To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, individuals must pass the means test, which compares their income to the median income in Missouri. If their income is below the state median, they are eligible for Chapter 7. Otherwise, they may need to consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Forms: The next step is to gather the necessary documents and complete the bankruptcy forms. These forms include the petition, schedules, and statements that provide detailed information about the individual’s financial situation, assets, debts, income, and expenses.
Bankruptcy Court: The bankruptcy petition must be filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern or Western District of Missouri, depending on the debtor’s place of residence.
Filing Fee: There is a filing fee associated with bankruptcy petitions, which varies depending on the type of bankruptcy filed. If the debtor cannot afford the fee, they may request a fee waiver or installment payments.
Automatic Stay: Once the bankruptcy petition is filed, an automatic stay is put into effect, providing immediate relief from creditor actions such as collection calls, wage garnishments, and foreclosure proceedings.
Meeting of Creditors: Within 20 to 40 days after filing, a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 meeting, is scheduled. The debtor must attend this meeting and answer questions under oath regarding their financial affairs.
Debtor Education Course: After the meeting of creditors, individuals must complete a debtor education course from an approved agency. This course provides financial management education to help debtors make better financial decisions in the future.
Filing for bankruptcy in Missouri requires careful consideration and adherence to specific procedures. Understanding the different types of bankruptcy, meeting the filing requirements, and following the necessary steps can help individuals navigate this challenging process successfully. It is essential to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to ensure all legal requirements are met and to receive proper guidance throughout the bankruptcy process.
– United States Courts: Bankruptcy Basics – www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics
– United States Bankruptcy Court – Eastern District of Missouri: Filing Without an Attorney – www.moeb.uscourts.gov/filing-without-attorney
– United States Bankruptcy Court – Western District of Missouri: Bankruptcy Basics – www.mow.uscourts.gov/bankruptcy-basics