The general filing process in North Dakota is similar to other states because the most of the bankruptcy process is governed by federal law. However, you will need to include some of the North Dakota-specific information on your bankruptcy forms.
You’ll also need to know about the North Dakota exemptions because federal exemptions are not available to you in North Dakota.
Here is some information to get you started.
Getting the Required Credit Counseling and Debtor Education in North Dakota
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 North Dakota 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 Dakota credit counseling agencies here.
- You can find the list of approved North Dakota debtor education agencies here.
North Dakota Bankruptcy Exemptions
North Dakota 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 that allow debtors to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions, in North Dakota, you can only use North Dakota exemptions.
To learn about North Dakota’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in North Dakota and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in North Dakota. To find other North Dakota exemptions, visit our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in North Dakota
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 Dakota
When you file for bankruptcy in North Dakota, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in North Dakota. 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 Dakota’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 Dakota-specific figures for these forms:
North Dakota Median Income. For a one-person household in North Dakota, the median income is $42,953. For a family of four, the North Dakota median income is $79,336. You can find median income figures for other household sizes in North Dakota here.
Example. Melissa is married and resides with her husband and two children. Their total household income is $72,000. She is eligible to file for Chapter 7 without completing the detailed means test calculations because her household income is less than $79,336.
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 Dakota 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 Dakota, 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 Burleigh County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $861 for a one-person household and $1,188 for a four-person household. If you live in Cass County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $921 for a one-person household and $1,272 for a four-person household. You can find housing expense standards for each North Dakota 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 North Dakota.)
Filing in the North Dakota Bankruptcy Court
There are is only one federal judicial district in North Dakota, so you don’t have to worry about filing in the correct judicial district as long as:
- you have lived in North Dakota 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 North Dakota, 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 office is in Fargo but there is also a location in Bismark.