If you want to file for bankruptcy in South Carolina, there is information online that can help you.
The general filing process in South Carolina is similar to other states because the most of the bankruptcy process is governed by federal law. However, you will need to include some South Carolina-specific information on your bankruptcy forms.
Here is some information to get you started.
Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and Pre-Discharge Debtor Education in South 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 U.S. Trustee in South 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 South Carolina credit counseling agencies here.
- You can find the list of approved South Carolina debtor education agencies here.
South Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions
South 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.)
Some states give you the choice between federal and state exemptions. In South Carolina, you can only use South Carolina state exemptions.
To learn about South Carolina’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in South Carolina and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in South Carolina. To find other South Carolina exemptions, visit our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in South 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 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 South Carolina
When you file for bankruptcy in South Carolina, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in South Carolina. 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 instead, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years).
If your income is above South 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, 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 South Carolina-specific figures for these forms:
South Carolina Median Income. For a one-person household in South Carolina, the median income is $37,660. For a family of four, the South Carolina median income is $62,912. You can find median income figures for other household sizes in South Carolina here.
Example. Carter is married and has two children. He lives with wife and their two chidren. Their total household income is $61,000. He is eligible to file Chapter 7 without having to complete the detailed means test calculation because his household income is less than $62,912.
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 South 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 South Carolina, the standard amount that you list on your means test for housing varies by county and number in your household. If you live in Richland County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $805 for a one-person household and $1,111 for a four-person household. If you live in Beaufort County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $1,127 for a one-person household and $1,556 for a four-person household. You can find housing expense standards for each South 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 a link to the bankruptcy court in South Carolina.)
Filing in the South Carolina Bankruptcy Court
There are is only one federal judicial district in South Carolina, so you don’t have to worry about finding the correct judicial district as long as:
- you have lived in South Carolina 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 South Carolina, 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 clerk’s office and main location is in Columbia but hearings are also held in Spartanburg and Charleston.