Filing for bankruptcy can be a complex and overwhelming process, but for individuals in Oklahoma facing financial difficulties, it may be a necessary step towards a fresh start. This article will provide an in-depth guide on how to file bankruptcy in Oklahoma, outlining the key steps and requirements involved.
Types of Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, involves the sale of non-exempt assets to pay off debts. Individuals must meet certain income requirements to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also called reorganization bankruptcy, allows individuals with a regular income to create a repayment plan to pay off 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.
To file bankruptcy in Oklahoma, individuals must meet certain eligibility criteria:
Credit Counseling: Before filing for bankruptcy, individuals must complete credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days.
Residency: The individual must have been a resident of Oklahoma for at least 91 days before filing for bankruptcy.
Means Test: For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, individuals must pass the means test, which compares their income to the median income in Oklahoma. If their income is below the median, they are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Otherwise, they may need to consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Complete Bankruptcy Forms: Individuals must complete the necessary bankruptcy forms, including the petition, schedules, and statements, which provide detailed information about their financial situation.
Filing Fee: There is a filing fee associated with bankruptcy. If individuals cannot afford the fee, they may request a fee waiver or installment payments.
Automatic Stay: Once the bankruptcy forms are filed, an automatic stay goes into effect, which stops creditors from attempting to collect debts or take legal action against the individual.
Meeting of Creditors: Approximately 20 to 40 days after filing, individuals must attend a meeting of creditors. This meeting allows creditors to ask questions about the individual’s financial situation and bankruptcy filing.
Financial Management Course: Before receiving a discharge, individuals must complete a financial management course from an approved agency.
Exemptions in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has specific bankruptcy exemptions that allow individuals to protect certain assets from being liquidated. Some common exemptions in Oklahoma include:
– Homestead exemption: Up to $50,000 of equity in a primary residence.
– Motor vehicle exemption: Up to $7,500 of equity in a motor vehicle.
– Personal property exemption: Up to $7,500 of equity in household goods, clothing, and other personal property.
– Retirement account exemption: Certain retirement accounts, such as IRAs and 401(k)s, are exempt from bankruptcy.
It is crucial to consult with a bankruptcy attorney or research the specific exemptions applicable in Oklahoma to ensure the protection of assets.
Filing for bankruptcy in Oklahoma requires careful consideration of the different types of bankruptcy, eligibility criteria, and the filing process. It is essential to seek professional advice from a bankruptcy attorney to navigate through the complexities of the bankruptcy system and ensure the best possible outcome for your financial situation.
– Oklahoma Bankruptcy Court: www.oknb.uscourts.gov
– United States Courts – Bankruptcy Basics: www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics