Are you a resident of South Dakota and thinking of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy? Although most of bankruptcy (including the filing process) is governed by federal law, there is some South Dakota-specific information you will need to know before filing. Much of this information you can get online. Here's how.
(For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
In order to qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must show that you received credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in South Dakota within the six month period before you file for bankruptcy. You’ll also have to take a debtor education course before you get a bankruptcy 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 Dakota credit counseling agencies here.
You can find the list of approved South Dakota debtor education agencies here.
South Dakota has a set of bankruptcy exemptions which help determine what property you get to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and play a role in how much you repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Unlike some states, South Dakota does not allow debtors to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions – you must use the South Dakota exemptions.
To learn about South Dakota’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in South Dakota and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in South Dakota. To find other South Dakota exemptions and to learn more about exemptions and how they work, visit our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a bankruptcy petition, a number of schedules containing detailed information about your finances, and several other forms, including a lengthy form known as the “means test” (for Chapter 7) and a similar form for Chapter 13.
(For a list of the forms you must complete, see The Bankruptcy Forms: Getting Started.)
For more information about each of the official forms, including how to find them and fill them out, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
When you file for bankruptcy in South Dakota, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in South Dakota. 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, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years). This is called the means test.
If your income is above South Dakota’s median income, you still might qualify for Chapter 7, but you’ll have to provide detailed information about your expenses and payments on secured debts in order to find out. Most Chapter 13 filers also have to provide this information.
For more information about each of these forms, including how to find 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 South Dakota’s specific figures for these means test forms:
South Dakota median income figures. For a one-person household in South Dakota, the median income is $36,799. For a family of four, the South Dakota median income is $69,006. For larger families, add $7,500 for each individual in excess of four. These figures change periodically. You can find the most current figures for each household size here.
Example. Ted’s annual income is $65,000. He lives with his wife and two children. He will automatically pass the means test because his income is below $69,006.
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 others, you plug in a predetermined amount -- sometimes that figure is standard for the whole country, other times it varies by county or region. For example, national standards have been established for food, clothing, and several other expenses. However, housing and utilities are based on a local standard while transportation costs are based on a region-specific standard.
You can find all of the national and South Dakota-specific figures you’ll need for Forms 22A and 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 Dakota, the standard amount you list on your bankruptcy papers for housing varies by county. For example, if you live in Hughes County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $954 for a three-person household. You can find housing expense standards for each South Dakota county here. You can also find South Dakota’s allowable transportation expenses here.
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 filing clerk. Some courts post these forms online on the court’s website. (Below you’ll find a link to South Dakota’s bankruptcy courts.)
Since there is only one judicial district in South Dakota, you don’t need to worry about the rules for filing in the correct judicial district.
The main office is in Sioux Falls, but there are also divisional offices in Pierre, Aberdeen, and Rapid City.