Filing for bankruptcy in New Mexico? The general filing process in New Mexico is similar to other states because most of the bankruptcy process is governed by federal law. However, you will need to include some New Mexico-specific information on your bankruptcy forms.
Here is some information to get you started.
Getting the Required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education in New Mexico
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 Mexico 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 Mexico credit counseling agencies here.
- You can find the list of approved New Mexico debtor education agencies here.
New Mexico Bankruptcy Exemptions
New Mexico 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 Mexico, you have the option of using the New Mexico exemptions or the federal exemptions.
To learn about New Mexico’s exemptions, including the federal exemption option, for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in New Mexico and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in New Mexico. To find other New Mexico exemptions, visit our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in New Mexico
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 and fill them out, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
Finding Means Test Information for New Mexico
When you file for bankruptcy in New Mexico, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in New Mexico. 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 Mexico’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 Mexico-specific figures for these forms:
New Mexico Median Income. For a one-person household in New Mexico, the median income is $37,246. For a family of four, the New Mexico median income is $54,640. You can find median income figures for other household sizes in New Mexico here.
Example. Delores is married and has one child. She lives with her husband, her child, and her elderly aunt. Their total household income is $53,000. She is eligible to file Chapter 7 without having to complete the detailed means test calculation because her household income is less than $54,650.
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 Mexico 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 Mexico, the standard amount that you list on your means test for housing varies by county and number in your household. If you live in Sante Fe County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $1,063 for a one-person household and $1,466 for a four-person household. If you live in Bernalillo county, your mortgage or rent deduction is $906 for a one-person household and $1,250 for a four-person household. You can find housing expense standards for each New Mexico 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 Mexico.)
Filing in the New Mexico Bankruptcy Court
There are is only one federal judicial district in New Mexico, so you don’t have to worry about filing in the correct judicial district as long as:
- you have lived in New Mexico for the greater part of the 180 days before you file, or
- you have been domiciled (which is the place where you maintain your home with evidence of the intent to stay) in New Mexico, 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 this requirements, you might need to file in the state that you previously resided in.
The clerk’s office and the main courthouse is in Albuquerque but hearings are also held in Roswell and Las Cruces.