Filing for bankruptcy in Mississippi? Although federal law governs most aspects of a bankruptcy case, including the filing process, Mississippi bankruptcy courts have their own local rules and requirements you will need to know if you are planning to file for bankruptcy. Much of this information you can get online. Here's how.
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 Mississippi 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.)
Mississippi 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. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.) Mississippi law requires bankruptcy debtors to use the Mississippi exemptions only - they cannot use the federal exemptions.
To learn about Mississippi’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Mississippi and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Mississippi. To find other Mississippi exemptions, see Mississippi Bankruptcy Exemptions.
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. Mississippi bankruptcy courts require all bankruptcy cases to be filed electronically, although if you do not have an attorney, you can file your forms on paper.
When you file for bankruptcy in Mississippi, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Mississippi. 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 Mississippi’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 information about each of these forms, including how to complete them, see:
Here’s how to find the Mississippi-specific figures for these means test forms:
Mississippi median income. For a one-person household in Mississippi, the median income is $33,126. For a family of three, the Mississippi median income is $45,536. You can find figures for other household sizes in Mississippi here.
Example. Karen and Jim are married and have one child. Their annual income combined is $55,000. If Karen wants to file bankruptcy, she will have to do further calculations to determine if she passes the means test, because her household income exceeds $45,536 (if you are married and want to file bankruptcy by yourself, you must still include your spouse's income on the means test).
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.
You can find all of the Mississippi area, borough, and region-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 Mississippi, the standard amount you list on your bankruptcy papers for housing and utilities varies by county and depends upon the number of people in your household. For example, if you live in Jackson County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $854 and your utilities deduction is $510 for a family of three. If you have a family of three and live in Adams County, however, these figures change to $585 for a rent or mortgage payment and $526 for utilities. You can find housing expense standards for each Mississippi area 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 Mississippi’s bankruptcy court.)
There are two federal judicial districts in Mississippi (see below for links). You can file in either:
You can use the Court Locator tool on the U.S. Trustee’s website to find bankruptcy court locations and websites. The two district bankruptcy courts in Mississippi are: