If you live in New Hampshire and want to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must obtain a credit counseling certificate and complete the bankruptcy petition along with other required forms.
Because most of bankruptcy is governed by federal bankruptcy laws, the general bankruptcy filing process in New Hampshire is similar to other states. However, you will have to follow the local rules and may need to fill out additional New Hampshire-specific bankruptcy forms. In addition, which bankruptcy exemptions you will be allowed to use depends on New Hampshire law.
(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 New Hampshire.
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 New Hampshire 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 unique set of bankruptcy exemptions – these determine what property you get to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and help determine how much you repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)
New Hampshire allows you a choice between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and New Hampshire exemptions. However, you must pick either the federal or state bankruptcy exemption system. You cannot mix and match. Both sets contain exemptions for similar properties such as your home or motor vehicle. But the exemption amounts vary depending on the system you choose.
To learn about New Hampshire’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in New Hampshire and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in New Hampshire. To find other New Hampshire exemptions, see New Hampshire Bankruptcy Exemptions. For more information on the federal exemptions, see The Federal 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 New Hampshire, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in New Hampshire. 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 New Hampshire'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 New Hampshire-specific figures for these means test forms:
New Hampshire median income figures. Currently, the median income in New Hampshire is $51,550 for a single-person household, $61,679 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. Robert is single and lives alone. If his annual income is below $51,550 he will automatically pass the means test and qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If his income is above $51,550, then he will need to complete the entire means test form to find out if he qualifies to file for Chapter 7.
New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire 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 Coos County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $718 for a one-person household. But if you live in Rockingham County, the deduction is significantly higher at $1449. You can find housing expense standards for each New Hampshire 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 a link to New Hampshire’s bankruptcy court)
You can use the Court Locator tool on the U.S. Trustee’s website to find bankruptcy court locations and websites. For more information on New Hampshire’s bankruptcy court, see District of New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court.