If you want to file for bankruptcy in North Carolina, you will need to include some North Carolina-specific information on your bankruptcy forms.
You’ll also need to know about the North Carolina exemptions because federal exemptions are not available to you in North Carolina. Much of this information is available online.
Here is some basic information and links to get you started.
Getting the Required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education in North Carolina
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 Bankruptcy Administrator in North Carolina 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 North Carolina credit counseling agencies, divided by district, here.
- You can find the list of approved North Carolina debtor education agencies, divided by district, here.
North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions
North Carolina 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.)
Unlike some other states, in North Carolina, you can only use North Carolina exemptions.
To learn about North Carolina’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in North Carolina and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in North Carolina. For a list of other common exemptions in North Carolina, see North Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in North Carolina
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 may 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 North Carolina
When you file for bankruptcy in North Carolina, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in North Carolina. 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 North Carolina’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 North Carolina-specific figures for these forms:
North Carolina Median Income. For a one-person household in North Carolina, the median income is $37,892. For a family of three, the North Carolina median income is $54,310. You can find median income figures for other household sizes in North Carolina here.
Example. John is married and resides with his wife and child. Their total household income is $53,000. He is eligible to file for Chapter 7 without completing the detailed means test calculations because his household income is less than $54,310.
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 North Carolina 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 North Carolina, the standard amount that you list on your means test for housing varies by county and the number in your household. If you live in Wake County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $1,104 for a one-person household and $1,524 for a four-person household. If you live in Mecklenburg County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $1,028 for a one-person household and $1,419 for a four-person household. You can find housing expense standards for each North Carolina 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 links to the bankruptcy courts in North Carolina.)
Filing in the Correct North Carolina Bankruptcy Court
There are three judicial districts in North Carolina. You can file in either:
- the district where you have been residing for the greater part of the 180 days before you file, or
- the district where your are domiciled (which is the place where you maintain your home with evidence of the intent to stay) if you have been living elsewhere temporarily (such as on a military deployment or out of the area for temporary work assignment).
How to Find North Carolina’s Bankruptcy Courts
You can use the Court Locator tool on the U.S. Courts website to find bankruptcy court locations and websites. The three districts for the North Carolina Bankruptcy Courts are:
- Eastern District of North Carolina
- Middle District of North Carolina
- Western District of North Carolina
If you are not sure which North Carolina district you are in, you can use the Justice Department’s Judicial District Locator to find out.