If you want to file for bankruptcy in Virginia, you will need to include some Virginia-specific information on your bankruptcy forms.
You’ll also need to know about the Virginia exemptions because federal exemptions are not available to you in Virginia. Much of this information is available online.
Here is some basic information and links to get you started.
Before you can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must have proof that you received credit counseling from an agency approved by the Bankruptcy Administrator in Virginia within the six month period before you file for bankruptcy. You’ll also have to take a debtor education course after you file, before you will be granted a discharge. (To learn more about this requirement, including the rare exceptions, see Credit Counseling & Debtor Education Requirements in Bankruptcy.)
Virginia has a set of bankruptcy exemptions which help determine what property you get to keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and play a role in how much you repay creditors in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)
Unlike some other states, in Virginia, you can only use Virginia exemptions.
To learn about Virginia’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Virginia and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Virginia. To find other Virginia exemptions, visit our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
Whether you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you need to fill out a bankruptcy petition, several schedules containing detailed information on what you own and who you owe money to and several other forms containing detailed information on your finances. You may also need to file a lengthy form known as the "means test" to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7 and a similar form for a 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.
When you file for bankruptcy in Virginia, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Virginia. If you income is less than the median, you will be eligible to file for Chapter 7 and, if you choose to file for Chapter 13 instead, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years).
If your income is above Virginia’s median income for a household of your size, you still might qualify for Chapter 7, but you will have to provide detailed information on your regular expenses and payments on secured debts by completing something called the means test to find out. Most Chapter 13 filers will also have to provide this information in a similar Chapter 13 form.
For information about each of these forms, including how to complete them, see:
Virginia Median Income. For a one person household in Virginia, the median income is $50,605. For a family of three, the Virginia median income is $71,644. You can find median income figures for other household sizes in Virginia here.
Example. John is married and resides with his wife and elderly mother-in-law. Their total household income is $68,000. He is eligible to file for Chapter 7 without completing the detailed means test calculations because his household income is less than $71,644.
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 other categories, you plug in a predetermined amount–sometimes that figure is standard for the entire country, other times it varies by county or region.
You can find all of the Virginia area state, county and region-specific figures that you will need to complete Forms 22A and Forms 22C on the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.justice.gov/ust. Click on "Bankruptcy Reform" and then "Means Testing Information."
Example. In Virginia, the standard amount that you list on your means test for housing varies by county or city and the number in your household. If you live in Alexandria, your mortgage or rent deduction is $1,700 for a one-person household and $2,346 for a four-person household. If you live in Prince George County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $999 for a one-person household and $1,379 for a four-person household. You can find housing expense standards for each Virginia 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 clerk’s office. You might even find these forms posted online at your bankruptcy court’s website. (Below you will find links to the bankruptcy courts in Virginia.)
There are two judicial districts in Virginia. You can file in either
the district where your are domiciled (which is the place where you maintain your home with evidence of the intent to stay) if you have been living elsewhere temporarily (such as on a military deployment or out of the area for temporary work assignment) for the 180 day period.
You can use the Court Locator tool on the U.S. Courts website to find bankruptcy court locations and websites. The two districts for the Virginia Bankruptcy Courts are:
If you are not sure which Virginia district you are in, you can you the Justice Department’s Judicial District Locator to find out.