Filing for bankruptcy in Missouri? Although most of bankruptcy (including the filing process) is governed by federal law, there is some Missouri-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.)
Here’s what you need to know if you are filing for bankruptcy in Missouri.
In order to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must receive credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in Missouri within the six month period prior to filing. You’ll also have to take a debtor education course before you can get a bankruptcy discharge. (To learn more about this requirement, including the rare exceptions, see Credit Counseling & Debtor Education Requirements in Bankruptcy.)
Each state has a set of bankruptcy exemptions – these 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. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)
Some states allow you to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions, but in Missouri you can only use the Missouri exemptions. Missouri offers many of the same exemptions found in the federal bankruptcy exemptions such as a homestead or motor vehicle exemption. However, they vary in the amount you are allowed to exempt.
To learn about Missouri’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Missouri and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Missouri. To find other Missouri exemptions, see Missouri 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 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 Missouri, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Missouri. 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 Missouri'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, see:
Here’s how to find the Missouri-specific figures for these means test forms:
Missouri median income figures. Currently, the median income in Missouri is $38,895 for a single-person household, $50,603 for a household of two people, and more for larger families. These figures change periodically. You can find the most current figures for each household size here.
Example. John and Sally are a married couple living in the same household. They have no children or other dependents. Their combined annual income is $45,000. They will automatically pass the means test and qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy because their total income is less than $50,603.
Missouri standard deduction figures. Forms 22A and 22C list categories of living expenses 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 a national standard, other times the number varies by county or region.
You can find all of the Missouri 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. Housing and utility expense standards vary by county depending on how expensive it is to live there. If you live in Adair County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $522 for a one-person household. But if you live in Andrew County, the deduction is $708. You can find housing expense standards for each Missouri county here.
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 links to Missouri’s bankruptcy courts.)
There are two federal judicial districts in Missouri (see below for links). You can file in either:
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 Missouri are: