May 4, 2017
If you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Arizona, you must file the bankruptcy petition and other forms in the appropriate Arizona district court as well as participate in credit counseling.
(For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
In order to qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must show that you received credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in Arizona within the six month period before you file for bankruptcy. You’ll also have to take a personal financial management class (also called debtor) before you get a bankruptcy discharge. (To learn more about this requirement, including the rare exceptions, see Credit Counseling & Debtor Education Requirements in Bankruptcy.)
In Arizona, as in every other state, there are exemption laws that help determine what property you get to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy and that play a role in how much you repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some states allow debtors to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions.) Arizona, however, does not. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions.)
To learn about Arizona’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Arizona and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Arizona. To find other Arizona exemptions, see Arizona Bankruptcy Exemptions.
When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a bankruptcy petition, a number of schedules containing detailed information about your finances, and several other forms, including a lengthy form known as the “means test” (for Chapter 7) and a similar form for Chapter 13.
(For a list of the forms you must complete, see The Bankruptcy Forms: Getting Started.)
For more information about each of the official forms, including how to find them and fill them out, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
When you file for bankruptcy in Arizona, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Arizona. If your income is less than the median, you will be eligible to file for Chapter 7 and, if you choose to file for Chapter 13, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years). This is called the means test.
If your income is above Arizona’s median income, you still might qualify for Chapter 7, but you’ll have to provide detailed information about your expenses and payments on secured debts in order to find out. Most Chapter 13 filers also have to provide this information.
For information about each of these forms, including how to complete them, see:
Form 122A-1 – Statement of Your Current Monthly Income, and
Form 122C-1 – Statement of Current Monthly Income and Plan Period.
Here’s how to find the Arizona-specific figures for these means test forms:
Arizona median income. For a one-person household in Arizona, the median income is $46,779. For a two-person household it’s $58,684, and more for larger families. You can find Arizona figures for other household sizes here.
Example. Margarita and Edgardo have one toddler. They file a joint bankruptcy. Their combined family income is $57,000. They will pass the means test because their family income is below the Arizona median income for a family of three.
Standard deductions. The forms have a comprehensive list of expense categories, such as housing, transportation, food, and childcare. For some of those categories (like childcare), you provide the actual amount you spend. For others, you plug in a predetermined amount -- sometimes that figure is standard for the whole country, other times it varies by county or region.
You can find all of the Arizona area, borough, and region-specific figures you’ll need on the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.justice.gov/ust. Click on “Means Testing Information.”
Some judicial districts and bankruptcy courts require bankruptcy filers to complete additional “local forms.” To find out if your court requires additional forms, contact the bankruptcy filing clerk. Some courts post these forms online on the court’s website. (Below you’ll find a link to Alabama’s bankruptcy court.)
For example, in Arizona, the bankruptcy court has issued very specific guidelines for the mailing matrix (the list of all your creditors that you are required to file as part of your bankruptcy case).
Since there is only one judicial district in Arizona, you don’t need to worry about the rules for filing in the correct judicial district. The Arizona Bankruptcy Court website is www.azb.uscourts.gov.
The Arizona bankruptcy court (and offices) is located in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Flagstaff, and Prescott.