If you want to file for bankruptcy in New Jersey, there is information online that can help you.
The general filing process in New Jersey is similar to other states because the most of the bankruptcy process is governed by federal law. However, you will need to include some New Jersey-specific information on your bankruptcy forms.
Here is some information to get you started.
Getting Credit Counseling and Debtor Education in New Jersey
Before you can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must have proof that you received credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in New Jersey within the six month period before you file for bankruptcy. You’ll also have to take a debtor education course after you file, before you will be granted a 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 New Jersey credit counseling agencies here.
- You can find the list of approved New Jersey debtor education agencies here.
New Jersey Bankruptcy Exemptions
New Jersey has a set of bankruptcy exemptions which help determine what property you get to keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and play a role in how much you repay creditors in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)
In New Jersey, you have the option of using the New Jersey exemptions or the federal exemptions..
For a list of other common exemptions in New Jersey, see New Jersey Bankruptcy Exemptions.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in New Jersey
Whether you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you need to fill out a bankruptcy petition, several schedules containing detailed information on what you own and who you owe money to and several other forms containing detailed information on your finances. You also need to file a lengthy form known as the "means test" to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7 and a similar form for a 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 New Jersey
When you file for bankruptcy in New Jersey, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in New Jersey. If you income is less than the median, you will be eligible to file for Chapter 7 and, if you choose to file for Chapter 13 instead, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years).
If your income is above New Jersey’s median income for a household of your size, you still might qualify for Chapter 7, but you will have to provide detailed information on your regular expenses and payments on secured debts by completing something called the means test to find out. Most Chapter 13 filers will also have to provide this information in a similar Chapter 13 form.
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 New Jersey-specific figures for these forms:
New Jersey Median Income. For a one person household in New Jersey, the median income is $60,322. For a family of two, the New Jersey median income is $67,503. You can find median income figures for other household sizes in New Jersey here.
Example. David is married and has no children. He lives with wife. Their total household income is $65,000. He is eligible to file Chapter 7 without having to complete the detailed means test calculation because their household income is less than $67,503.
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 other categories, you plug in a predetermined amount–sometimes that figure is standard for the entire country, other times it varies by county or region.
You can find all of the New Jersey area state, county, and region-specific figures that you will need to complete Forms 22A and Forms 22C on the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.justice.gov/ust. Click on "Bankruptcy Reform" and then "Means Testing Information."
Example. In New Jersey, the standard amount that you list on your means test for housing varies by county and number in your household. If you live in Bergen County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $2,030 for a one-person household and $2,800 for a four-person household. If you live in Monmouth County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $1,704 for a one-person household and $2,352 for a four-person household. You can find housing expense standards for each New Jersey 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 clerk’s office. You might even find these forms posted online at your bankruptcy court’s website. (Below you will find a link to the bankruptcy court in New Jersey.)
Filing in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court
There are is only one federal judicial district in New Jersey, so you don’t have to worry about finding the correct judicial district as long as:
- you have lived in New Jersey for the greater part of the 180 days before you file, or
- you have been domiciled (which means the place where you maintain your home with evidence of your intent to stay) in New Jersey, if you have been living elsewhere temporarily (such as on a military deployment or out of the area for temporary work assignment).
If you don’t meet these requirements, you might need to file in the state that you previously resided in.
The main location is in Newark but there are also offices in Trenton and Camden.