Filing for bankruptcy in Nebraska? Although most of bankruptcy (including the filing process) is governed by federal law, you will need Nebraska-specific information in order to file for bankruptcy. You may also be required to complete additional bankruptcy forms specific to Nebraska. The good news is you can find most of this information 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 Nebraska.
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 Nebraska 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 its own set of bankruptcy exemptions – these determine what property you are allowed 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 Nebraska you can only use the Nebraska exemptions. As a result, you must look to Nebraska law to determine how much property you can exempt.
To learn about Nebraska’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Nebraska and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Nebraska. To find other Nebraska exemptions, see Nebraska 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 Nebraska, your income gets compared to the median income for a household of your size in Nebraska. 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 Nebraska'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 Nebraska-specific figures for these means test forms:
Nebraska median income figures. Currently, the median income in Nebraska is $39,192 for a single-person household, $55,519 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. Mary is a single mother and lives with her five-year-old son. She has no other dependents and no one else lives with them. Her annual income is $50,000. Since she cares for a two-person household and her income is less than $55,519 she qualifies to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without having to complete the entire means test form.
Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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 Adams County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $641 for a one-person household. However, if you live in Arthur County, the deduction is only $323. You can find housing expense standards for each Nebraska 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 Nebraska’s bankruptcy court.)
You can use the Court Locator tool on the U.S. Trustee’s website to find bankruptcy court locations and websites. You can find specific information on Nebraska’s bankruptcy court at District of Nebraska Bankruptcy Court.