Considering bankruptcy in Maine? Although the bankruptcy filing process is governed by federal law, there is some Maine-specific information you will need to file for bankruptcy. Much of this information you can get online. Here's how. (For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
Getting Credit Counseling and Debtor Education in Maine
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 Maine 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 Maine credit counseling agencies here.
- You can find the list of approved Maine debtor education agencies here.
Maine Bankruptcy Exemptions
Maine has a set of bankruptcy exemptions that help determine what property you get to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and they also play a role in how much you repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)
To learn about Maine’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Maine and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Maine. To find other Maine exemptions, see Maine Bankruptcy Exemptions.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in Maine
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, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
Finding Means Test Information for Maine
When you file for bankruptcy in Maine, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Maine. 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 Maine’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 Maine-specific figures for these means test forms:
Maine median income. For a one-person household in Maine, the median income is $40,532. For a family of four, the Maine median income is $74,738. You can find figures for other household sizes in Maine here.
Example. Jean is a single mother with three dependent children. She makes $45,000 per year, which is less than the median for a family of four; therefore, she passes the means test. Joe, on the other hand, is unmarried, has no children and also makes $45,000, but he does not pass the means test because his income exceeds the $40,532 single-person median in Maine.
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 Maine county and region-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 Maine, the standard amount you list on your means test for your housing expenses depends upon the county in which you live. For example, if you live in York County, you can deduct up to $1,025 for mortgage or rent, but if you live in Kennebec County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $719.
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 Maine’s bankruptcy court.)
Filing in the Maine Bankruptcy Courts
Since there is only one judicial district in Maine (see below for the link), you don’t need to worry about the rules for filing in the correct judicial district.
There are two court locations -- one in Bangor and one in Portland. Which court you file in will depend on your county. See the court website's county map at www.meb.uscourts.gov/w_county_map.html to find out which location is correct for you.