Filing Bankruptcy in Tennessee for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

Learn where to find some of the information you'll need to file for bankruptcy in Tennessee.

When you just can’t seem to get all your bills paid each month, filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee might be the solution for you. The first step toward a fresh start is understanding the differences between filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Once you know which chapter will benefit you most, you’ll want to begin preparing your filing. This article explains where to find some of the information you’ll need when completing the bankruptcy paperwork, such as official bankruptcy forms, Tennessee means test figures, credit counseling providers, and your local bankruptcy court. Also, you’ll learn about legal exemptions that protect property in a Tennessee bankruptcy.

Official Bankruptcy Forms

Before the Tennessee bankruptcy court forgives (discharges) your eligible debt, you must first disclose all aspects of your financial circumstances. You’ll use the official bankruptcy forms to list your property, debt, income, expenses, and recent property transactions (such as selling a car, closing a bank account, or transferring property to a new owner).

You can get free copies of the forms on the U.S. Courts form page. The completed forms get filed in the Tennessee bankruptcy court. With your paperwork, you’ll include:

Tennessee Bankruptcy Information

Bankruptcy is a process under federal law, but Tennessee residents will need some state information to complete the paperwork.

Means Testing and Credit Counseling Information

You can find two types of Tennessee-specific information on the website of the U.S. Trustee: means testing figures and approved credit counseling providers.

  • Means test data. To file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee, you must pass the “means test” by having a family income lower than the median of the state. If your family income exceeds the median income of Tennessee, you might pass the test after you subtract allowed expenses. You’ll find the income charts and expense figures under “Means Testing Information.” In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the calculation helps you determine your monthly plan payment.
  • Credit counseling providers. Most filers must complete a session with a credit counseling service less than 180 days before filing for bankruptcy. After filing, you’ll take a debt management course prior to receiving a discharge (the order that wipes out debt). Select “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education” and scroll down to the federal districts in Tennessee for a list of approved providers.

Tennessee Bankruptcy Court Locations and Websites

The three federal judicial districts each have a court website with the court’s local rules and instructions for filing your paperwork. (Clicking on the link below will take you to the site. Select “Filing Without an Attorney,” “Local Rules,” or “Pro Se” from the navbar.)

Each of the federal districts has multiple divisions. To determine where to file your case, visit the Federal Court Locator page. In the drop-down box, choose “Bankruptcy” and enter your location.

Eastern District of Tennessee

Middle District of Tennessee

Western District of Tennessee

Historic U.S. Courthouse
31 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402-2722
(423) 752-5163
James H Quillen U.S.Courthouse
220 West Depot Street, Ste. 218
Greeneville, TN 37743-4924
(423) 787-0113
Howard H Baker U.S. Courthouse
800 Market Street, Ste. 330
Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 545-4279
U.S. Post Office & Courthouse
Second Floor Courtroom
200 South Jefferson Street
Winchester, TN 37398
(423) 752-5163
(This location isn’t staffed.)
Nashville Division
701 Broadway, Room 170
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 736-5584
Columbia Division
Federal Building and Courthouse
815 South Garden Street
Columbia, TN 38401
(615) 736-5584
Cookeville Division
L. Clure Morton Post Office and Courthouse
9 E Broad Street
Cookeville, TN 38503
(615) 736-5584
Western Division
200 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 410
Memphis TN 38103
(901) 328-3500
Eastern Division
111 South Highland Avenue, Suite 107
Jackson TN 38301
(731) 421-9300

Tennessee Bankruptcy Exemptions

Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean you’ll lose all of your property, but you might not get to keep (exempt) all of it, either. You can determine the status of your property by reviewing the list of exemptions for people filing bankruptcy in Tennessee.

  • Exempt property. If your property appears on the list, you’ll be able to protect it in your bankruptcy matter.
  • Nonexempt property. If your property doesn’t appear on the exemption list, the Chapter 7 trustee can sell it for the benefit of your creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy works differently. You keep your nonexempt property as long as you can pay for it in the Chapter 13 repayment plan.

To learn more about the property you can keep when you file your bankruptcy case—and to see a list of commonly-used exemptions—visit Tennessee Bankruptcy Exemptions.

This article provides resources that a filer can use when preparing a bankruptcy case. It does not cover all aspects of bankruptcy, and each filer is responsible for understanding the law. If you plan to file without an attorney, consider purchasing a do-it-yourself book like How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D.

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