December 19. 2017
When you’re having difficulty making ends meet, filing for bankruptcy in Arkansas can be a good solution. The first step is deciding whether you’re better off filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Then you’ll complete your bankruptcy paperwork (petition) and submit it to the federal bankruptcy court.
But finding the information you’ll need to complete the petition can be challenging. In this article, you’ll learn where to find the law that allows you to protect property in an Arkansas bankruptcy. You’ll also find other helpful information, such as where to find official bankruptcy forms, Arkansas means test figures (for qualification purposes), required course providers, and your local bankruptcy court.
Before the Arkansas bankruptcy court can discharge (wipe out) your qualifying debt, you must agree to be completely transparent about your financial condition. On official bankruptcy forms, you’ll disclose the amount of money you make, your monthly expenses and bills, all of the property you own, and past financial transactions, such as a property transfer or bank account closure.
You can fill out and download the forms on the U.S. Courts form page.
You’ll file the paperwork in the Arkansas bankruptcy court, along with a filing fee or a request for a fee waiver, and proof that you’ve completed the required prefiling bankruptcy course (more below).
Federal law governs bankruptcy filings, but some aspects of Arkansas law and procedure will also come into play.
Filing for bankruptcy doesn’t mean you’ll lose everything. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get to exempt (keep) all of your property, either.
You’ll be able to protect any property that appears on the list of Arkansas exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptions list. As an Arkansas resident, you’ll pick the list that will work best for you, but you can’t pick and choose individual exemptions from both lists. (If you use the Arkansas list, you’ll be able to use federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, too.)
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee appointed to manage your matter will sell any property that doesn’t appear on the exemption list for the benefit of your creditors. By contrast, you can keep all of your property in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. But, there’s a catch. You must pay the nonexempt property value to your creditors through the three- to five-year Chapter 13 repayment plan.
Here are the more common exemptions available under Arkansas law. Spouses filing a joint bankruptcy in Arkansas can double the exemption amount if they both own the property (except for the homestead exemption). (References are to the Arkansas Code Annotated or the Arkansas Constitution.)
Additional exemptions exist. Also, Arkansas updates exemption amounts periodically. Check the Arkansas statutes on the website for the Arkansas State Legislature to make sure you are using all exemptions available and that you have the most recent figures, or meet with a local bankruptcy lawyer.
You can find two types of Arkansas-specific information on the website of the U.S. Trustee: means testing figures and approved course providers.
Each court creates its own rules that you must follow, and some might have local forms, too. You’ll find the court’s local rules and instructions for filing your paperwork on the Arkansas bankruptcy court website by clicking on “Filing Information“ on the navbar.
Arkansas has two districts—the Eastern and Western districts—and several divisions within those districts. To determine where to file, go to “Court Information” and click on “Arkansas Map-County Codes-Case Numbering.”
Eastern District of Arkansas
Western District of Arkansas
|U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse
300 West 2nd Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
|Divisional OfficeFederal Building Room 31635 E. Mountain StreetFayetteville, AR 72701(479) 582-9800|
This article provides resources that will help a filer find some of the information needed to prepare a bankruptcy filing; however, each filer is responsible for understanding the law. A do-it-yourself book like How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D. can help you make important decisions in your case.