December 12, 2017
When you’re not making enough money to pay your bills each month, filing a bankruptcy case might be the answer. But knowing where to look for the information can be difficult to figure out. This article will help you find much of what you need to get started, including official bankruptcy forms, Delaware means testing information, credit counseling providers, your local Delaware bankruptcy court, and information about protecting your property in a Delaware bankruptcy.
(Are you wondering which bankruptcy chapter is best for you? Check out What Is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?)
You must take some steps before the Delaware bankruptcy court wipes out qualifying debt. You’ll disclose all aspects of your financial situation on official bankruptcy forms found on the U.S. Courts page. Then you’ll file the paperwork with the Delaware bankruptcy court along with a filing fee or a request for a fee waiver and proof that you’ve completed a credit counseling course (more below).
Federal law governs bankruptcy filings; however, Delaware law and other information will still come into play. Here’s what you need to know.
You’ll find two types of Delaware information on the U.S. Trustee website: means testing figures and approved credit counseling providers.
The court’s address and telephone number are as follows:
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
824 Market ST N
Wilmington, DE 19801
You’ll find instructions for filing your paperwork and the local rules on the Delaware Bankruptcy Court website (click on “Filing Without an Attorney” and "Court Info").
When filing a bankruptcy case, you’re allowed to protect (exempt) much of your property. You might even be able to keep all of it. Whether that’s possible will depend on if your property appears on the list of Delaware bankruptcy exemptions.
If you have to turn over nonexempt property, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee will sell it for the benefit of your creditors. You won’t have to give anything up in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, however. Instead, you’ll pay the value of the nonexempt property in monthly plan payments over three to five years.
In Delaware, spouses who file a joint bankruptcy can double the exemption amount as long as each has an ownership interest in the property.
Here are some common exemptions available under Delaware law. Unless otherwise indicated, all references are to the Delaware Code Annotated. (Note: When you file for bankruptcy in Delaware, you can exempt a total of $25,000 of any property described below, not including tools of the trade, retirement accounts, and your principal residence.)
Delaware adjusts its exemption amounts periodically and additional exemptions exist. Check with the official website of the Delaware Code for any updates.
You’ll need to understand how the law will affect your bankruptcy case before filing. Although this provides important information, it isn’t an all-inclusive overview. Consider purchasing a detailed self-help book such as How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D. for more details.