If you live in Oregon and are thinking about filing a consumer bankruptcy, you must complete a credit counseling course and a bankruptcy petition and other required forms before you file those forms with the proper Oregon bankruptcy court.
Because most of bankruptcy is controlled by federal law, the filing process in Oregon is similar to that in other states. However, you'll need to use some state-specific information, such as the Oregon property exemptions, on your bankruptcy forms.
(For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
Read on to learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Oregon.
To qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a credit counseling course within 180 days before you file for bankruptcy. You'll be required to complete a second course, called a debtor education course, before you receive your discharge in bankruptcy. (To learn more about this requirement, including the rare exceptions, see Credit Counseling & Debtor Education Requirements in Bankruptcy.)
Each state is permitted to establish its own set of bankruptcy exemptions that determine the type and amount of property you are permitted to keep when you file bankruptcy and play a role in how much you repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)
As of July 1, 2013, if you file for bankruptcy in Oregon you can elect to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the Oregon exemptions.
To find out more about Oregon's exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Oregon and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Oregon. For a list of other common exemptions in Oregon, see Oregon Bankruptcy Exemptions.
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, one of the forms you must complete is a complex calculation called the "means test." There is a similar form for Chapter 13.
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 a bankruptcy in Oregon, you must compare your income to the median (average) income for a household of the same size. If your income is below the median, you qualify to file under Chapter 7 and if you choose to file under Chapter 13, you can choose a three-year repayment plan instead of five years. This is called the means test.
If your income is above Oregon's median, you might still qualify for Chapter 7, but you'll have to provide detailed information about your expenses 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 Oregon income figures for these means test:
The current Oregon median income for a single-person household is $42,877. The median for a household of two is $52,316, and it increases in accordance to your family size. The median income figures are updated periodically. Look here to find the most current figures for each household size.
Eugene's annual gross income is $41,500. Because he lives alone, he will automatically pass the means test because his income is below $42,877.
Forms 22A and 22C list categories of living expenses, such as mortgage or rent (housing), food, and healthcare. For some of those categories, such as childcare, you list and deduct the actual amount you spend. For others, you input a predetermined amount, which may be a national standard or may be based on the county or region in which you live.
You can find all of the Oregon county 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."
Housing and utility expense standards vary by county. If you live in Crook County, your mortgage or rent expense is $887 for a single-person household. If you live in Jefferson County, the deduction is $783. You can find housing expense standards for each Oregon county 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 links to Oregon's bankruptcy courts.)
The Oregon bankruptcy courts are located in Eugene and Portland. You can find more information about these courts on the District of Oregon Court website here. You can file in either: