The Alabama Homestead Exemption

In Alabama, the homestead exemption allows you to protect some of the equity in your home if you file for bankruptcy.

By , Attorney · University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law

If you're considering filing for bankruptcy in Alabama, the Alabama homestead exemption will help you protect the equity in your home. This article explains how much the Alabama homestead exemption will cover and how to apply it in your bankruptcy case.

Homestead Exemptions Available in an Alabama Bankruptcy

In Alabama, you'll use Alabama's state exemptions and the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions. Although some states allow residents to use federal bankruptcy exemptions, this option isn't available in Alabama.

Alabama Homestead Exemption

Homestead exemption amount


Can spouses who file a joint bankruptcy double the exemption?


Homestead exemption law

Ala. Code §§ 6-10-2, 3, 4, 12

Other information

Protects up to 160 acres; amounts are subject to change.

Where to find other exemptions.

Filing for Bankruptcy in Alabama

Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

What Property Is Protected by the Alabama Homestead Exemption?

In Alabama, the homestead exemption applies to up to 160 acres of real property on which your home, condominium, or mobile home is located. To claim the homestead exemption, you must occupy the property as your principal place of residence. Learn more about protecting property when filing for bankruptcy in Alabama.

When Can I Use Alabama Bankruptcy Exemptions?

You can file for bankruptcy in Alabama after living there for more than 180 days. However, you must live in Alabama at least 730 days before filing. Otherwise, you'd use the previous state's exemptions.

If you lived in multiple states during the two years before filing for bankruptcy, you'd use the exemptions of the state you lived in for most of the 180 days before the two-year period that immediately preceded your filing. (11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(A).)

Learn more about filing for bankruptcy after moving to a new state, the current amount of the federal cap, and other essential exceptions to homestead exemptions.

Do I Need to File a Homestead Declaration in Alabama?

In Alabama, you must file a homestead declaration before you file for bankruptcy to claim the homestead exemption. A homestead declaration is a form filed with the county recorder's office or office of the probate judge in your county to put your right to a homestead exemption on record.

Where Can I Find the Alabama Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption Statute?

You'll find Alabama's homestead exemption on the Alabama Legislature website in Alabama Code §§ 6-10-2, 3, 4, 12. Still, the best way to protect your assets is by consulting with a local bankruptcy lawyer.

What Else Do I Need to Do to Keep a Home in Bankruptcy?

If you can't protect all of your home equity, you might not be able to keep your home. Typically, the Chapter 7 trustee appointed to your case would sell the house, return the exemption amount to you, pay off the mortgage, and pay creditors with the amount remaining after deducting the trustee's fee.

In Chapter 13, you'd need to pay creditors the value of the nonexempt equity through the Chapter 13 plan. You can learn about other requirements you'll need to meet in Your Home in Chapter 7 or Your Home in Chapter 13.

Claiming the Alabama Bankruptcy Homestead Exemption

When completing your bankruptcy forms, you'll do the following:

  • disclose your home on Schedule A/B: Property
  • list your home and the homestead exemption law on Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt, and
  • if filing for Chapter 7, explain whether you plan to keep or surrender the home on Statement of Intention for Individuals Filing Under Chapter 7.

Because your home is likely your most valuable asset, consider consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer to ensure you can protect it in bankruptcy.

Need More Bankruptcy Help?

Did you know Nolo has been making the law easy for over fifty years? It's true—and we want to make sure you find what you need. Below you'll find more articles explaining how bankruptcy works. And don't forget that our bankruptcy homepage is the best place to start if you have other questions!

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Options If You Can't Afford a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Helpful Bankruptcy Sites

Department of Justice U.S. Trustee Program

United States Courts Bankruptcy Forms

We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer.

Updated September 15, 2023

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