If you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Arkansas, you must file the bankruptcy petition and other forms in the appropriate Arkansas district court as well as participate in credit counseling.
Because most of bankruptcy is governed by federal bankruptcy laws, the general bankruptcy filing process in Arkansas is similar to other states. However, there is some Arkansas-specific information you’ll need for the bankruptcy forms. You’ll also have to know about the Arkansas bankruptcy exemptions, find an approved credit and debt counselor in Arkansas, and get some information on local forms, like the mailing matrix. Here’s how.
(For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
Getting Credit Counseling and Taking a Financial Management Course in Arkansas
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 Arkansas 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.)
- You can find the list of approved Arkansas credit counseling agencies here.
- You can find the list of approved Arkansas debtor education agencies here.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Exemptions
In bankruptcy, some of your property is “exempt,” meaning the Chapter 7 trustee cannot sell the property to repay your unsecured creditors. Exemptions play a role in Chapter 13 bankruptcy as well. In Arkansas, you can choose between the Arkansas state exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptions. (To learn more about how exemptions work, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)
To learn about Arkansas’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Arkansas and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Arkansas. To find other Arkansas exemptions, see Arkansas Bankruptcy Exemptions.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in Arkansas
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.)
Getting and Completing the Official Bankruptcy Forms
For more information about each of the official forms, including how to find them and fill them out, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
Finding Means Test Information for Arkansas
When you file for bankruptcy in Arkansas, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Arkansas. 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 Arkansas’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 22A – Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation (for Chapter 7), and
Form 22C – Statement of Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable Income (for Chapter 13).
Here’s how to find the Arkansas-specific figures for these means test forms:
Arkansas median income. For a one-person household in Arkansas, the median income is $34, 203; for a family of four it is $56,275. You can find the Arizona median income figures for all different family sizes here.
Example. Sue and Bob are married and have two children. Sue earns $40,000 and Bob stays home to take care of the kids. If Sue and Bob file for bankruptcy, their income qualifies them to file for Chapter 7.
Standard deductions. Forms 22A and 22C 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 Arkansas-specific figures you’ll need for Forms 22A and 22C on the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.justic.gov/ust. Click on “Bankruptcy Reform” and then “Means Testing Information.”
Example. The rent or mortgage deduction various by county. In Ashley County, if a family of three files for bankruptcy, the rent or mortgage deduction would be $553. For the same family living in Benton County, the deduction would be $935. You can find housing and utility expense standards for each of the Arkansas counties here.
Getting Local Bankruptcy Forms
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.
The Arkansas Bankruptcy court posts some local forms on its website here: www.arb.uscourts.gov/forms/forms.html.
Filing in the Correct Arkansas Bankruptcy Court
There are two federal judicial districts in Arkansas (see below). You can file in either:
- the district where you have been living for the greater part of the 180-day period before you file, or
- the district where you are domiciled—that is, where you maintain your home, even if you have been living elsewhere temporarily (such as on a military base).
How to Find Arkansas Bankruptcy Courts
You can use the Court Locator tool on the U.S. Trustee’s website to find bankruptcy court locations and websites. The two district bankruptcy courts in Arkansas share one website: www.azb.uscourts.gov.
The Arkansas bankruptcy court districts are as follows:
- Eastern District (main office in Little Rock)
- Western District (main office in Fayetteville)