When you run out of money before the month runs out, filing for bankruptcy in Indiana can be a good solution. The first step to gaining financial freedom is understanding the differences between filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Once you know which chapter will benefit you most, you can refer to this article to find other information you’ll need, like official bankruptcy forms, Indiana means test figures, credit counseling providers, and your local bankruptcy court. You’ll also have a chance to learn about protecting property in an Indiana bankruptcy.
Before the Indiana bankruptcy court forgives (discharges) your eligible debt, you must disclose all aspects of your financial situation, including assets, liabilities, income, expenses, and financial transactions. You’ll find the downloadable official forms on the U.S. Courts form page. After completing them, you’ll file your paperwork with the Indiana bankruptcy court and pay a filing fee or file a request for a fee waiver. Also, you’ll include proof that you’ve completed a credit counseling course (additional information below).
Federal law governs bankruptcy filings, including Indiana bankruptcy cases. Even so, some aspects of Indiana law and procedure play a part in the process.
You can find two types of Indiana-specific information (means testing figures and approved credit counseling providers) on the U.S. Trustee website:
Qualifying to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy isn’t automatic—your family income must not exceed a certain amount to pass the “means test.” If it falls below the Indiana median, you pass the test. If it’s greater than the median, you might still pass the test after you subtract certain standard expenses. You’ll find the income charts and expense figures on the U.S. Trustee’s website (select “Means Testing Information”). In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you won’t have to pass a means test. Instead, a similar calculation will help you determine your monthly payment.
Most people must complete a session with a credit counselor before filing for bankruptcy and a debt management course before the court will issue your discharge. The U.S. Trustee maintains a list of approved providers on its website under “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education.” Scroll down to find the providers in Indiana.
Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean giving up all your property. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get to exempt (protect) everything, either.
Here are some commonly-used Indiana bankruptcy exemptions. Statute citations are to the Indiana Code unless otherwise noted.
Indiana has two bankruptcy courts. On each court’s website, you can review the local rules and instructions for filing your paperwork (select “Filing Without an Attorney”).
Both districts in Indiana have several divisions. The court clerk will assign the bankruptcy court based on your county of residence. For filing guidance, contact one of the clerks’ offices listed below, or visit the Federal Court Locator page (choose “Bankruptcy” under the “Court Type” drop-down box).
Click the court name to go directly to the website.
Fort Wayne DivisionE. Ross Adair Federal Bldg and U.S. Courthouse
1300 South Harrison Street, Room 1188
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802-3435(260) 420-5100
Hammond DivisionU.S. Bankruptcy Court
5400 Federal Plaza, Room 2200
Hammond, Indiana 46320(219) 852-3480
Lafayette DivisionCharles A. Halleck Federal Building
230 North Fourth Street, Room 105
Lafayette, Indiana 47901-1322(765) 420-6300
South Bend DivisionRobert K. Rodibaugh U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse
401 S Michigan Street
South Bend, Indiana 46601-2304(574) 968-2100
Winfield K. Denton Fed Bldg and U.S. Courthouse
Indianapolis DivisionBirch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
46 East Ohio Street, Room 116Indianapolis, Indiana 46204(317) 229-3800
New Albany DivisionLee H. Hamilton Federal Bldg and U.S. Courthouse
121 West Spring Street
New Albany, Indiana 47150(812) 542-4540
Terre Haute Division (not staffed)United States Courthouse921 Ohio StreetTerre Haute, Indiana 47807(812) 231-1850
Indiana adjusts its exemption amounts periodically, and additional exemptions exist. To ensure that you have the correct figures, and to make sure you are using all exemptions available, check the Indiana statutes on the website for the Indiana General Assembly or speak with a bankruptcy lawyer.
Although this resource will help a filer find some of the information needed to prepare a bankruptcy filing, explaining the legal ramifications of filing is beyond the scope of this article. A do-it-yourself book like How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D. can provide you with a broader explanation of the process.