If you live in Kentucky and want to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must participate in credit counseling before you file, complete the bankruptcy petition and other required forms, and file those forms in a Kentucky bankruptcy court. After filing, you must complete debtor counseling before receiving your discharge.
Because bankruptcy is mostly governed by federal bankruptcy laws, the general bankruptcy filing process in Kentucky is similar to other states. However, there is some Kentucky-specific information you will need to include on your bankruptcy forms. You’ll also have to know about the Kentucky bankruptcy exemptions and find an approved credit and debt counselor in Kentucky.
(For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
Here is the basic information you need to know before filing for bankruptcy in Kentucky.
Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and Pre-Discharge Debtor Education in Kentucky
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 Kentucky within the six month period before you file for bankruptcy. You’ll also have to take a debtor education course 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 Kentucky credit counseling agencies here.
You can find the list of approved Kentucky debtor education agencies here.
Kentucky Bankruptcy Exemptions
Kentucky has a set of bankruptcy exemptions which help determine what property you get to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and play a role in how much you repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
In Kentucky, you may use either the Kentucky state exemptions, or the federal bankruptcy exemptions. (To learn about the federal exemptions, see The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions.). You cannot mix and match from each list. If you choose to use the Kentucky state exemptions, you may also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
To learn about Kentucky’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Kentucky and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Kentucky. To find other Kentucky exemptions, see Kentucky Bankruptcy Exemptions.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in Kentucky
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 Kentucky
When you file for bankruptcy in Kentucky, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Kentucky. 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 Kentucky’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 Kentucky-specific figures for these means test forms:
Kentucky median income figures. For a one-person household in Kentucky, the median income is $38,356. For a family of three, the Kentucky median income is $51,859. These figures change periodically. You can find the most current figures for each household size here.
Example. Kevin’s annual income is $35,000. He lives alone. He will automatically pass the means test because his income is below $38,356.
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 Kentucky’s county-specific figures you’ll need for Forms 22A and 22C on the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.justice.gov/ust. Click on “Bankruptcy Reform” and then “Means Testing Information.”
Example. In Kentucky, the standard amount you list on your bankruptcy papers for housing varies by county. For example, if you live in Jefferson County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $794 for a one-person household. But if you live in Fayette County, the deduction is $836. You can find housing expense standards for each Kentucky county 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. Some courts post these forms online on the court’s website. (Below you’ll find a link to Kentucky’s bankruptcy courts.)
Filing in the Correct Kentucky Bankruptcy Court
There are two judicial districts in Kentucky (see below for links). 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 a military base).
Filing in the Kentucky Bankruptcy Court
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 Kentucky are: