December 18, 2017
When your bills exceed your income, filing for bankruptcy in Iowa can be a good solution. If you’re not sure how to go about it, start by learning the differences between Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. After choosing the chapter that will best solve your debt issues, you’ll gather together your financial documents. But you’ll need more information before you can complete the paperwork.
In this article, you’ll learn how to protect property in an Iowa bankruptcy, as well as where to find the official bankruptcy forms, Iowa’s means test figures (for qualification purposes), approved courses, and the local bankruptcy court.
Before the Iowa bankruptcy court wipes out (discharges) your qualifying debt, you must detail your financial situation on bankruptcy forms. You’ll list all of your property, your bills, how much money you make, and certain financial transactions, such as property sales and bank account closures.
You can complete and download the official bankruptcy forms on the U.S. Courts form page. You’ll submit your paperwork to the Iowa bankruptcy court along with a certificate proving that you’ve taken the required counseling course (more information below). You’ll also pay a filing fee or submit a request for a fee waiver.
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law and takes place in federal court, so the overall process is the same in every state. However, you’ll still need information particular to the state of Iowa.
You can find two types of Iowa-specific information on the U.S. Trustee’s website: means test figures and approved course providers.
Iowa’s bankruptcy court is broken up into two federal districts. Each has its own bankruptcy court and website.
On each court’s website, you’ll find helpful information by selecting “Filing Without an Attorney” on the navbar. For instance, that’s where you’ll locate the court’s local rules of practice and any local forms you might be required to file. You’ll also find instructions for filing your paperwork.
You can contact the court clerk’s office for help in determining where to file your case. Or, you can use the Court Locator tool. Click on the district name to go directly to the court’s website.
|111 7th Ave. SE, 6th FloorCedar Rapids, Iowa(319) 286-2200 320 6th StreetSioux City, Iowa(319) 286-2200||U.S. Bankruptcy CourtSouthern District of Iowa110 East Court AvenueSuite 300Des Moines, Iowa 50309(515) 284-6230|
You won’t lose all your property when you file bankruptcy, but you might not be allowed to exempt (protect) all of it, either. Each state, including Iowa, decides what property a bankruptcy filer can exempt. You’ll find exemptions in Iowa’s statutory law (the Iowa Code). You can also claim certain federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
If an item isn’t exempt, the Chapter 7 trustee appointed to manage your case will sell it for the benefit of your creditors. If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, however, you can keep nonexempt property as long as you can pay for it through your three- to five-year plan.
Below are some of the most commonly used Iowa bankruptcy exemptions. Spouses filing a joint bankruptcy in Iowa can double the exemption amount if they both own the property.
Iowa adjusts its exemption amounts from time to time, and additional exemptions exist. Check for the most recent figures and other exemptions on the website for the Iowa Legislature or by speaking with a bankruptcy attorney.
The intent of this article is to provide helpful resources for bankruptcy filers; however, it cannot cover all information you’ll need to know before filing for bankruptcy. Also, each filer is responsible for verifying necessary information and understanding the law. Consider purchasing a book like How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D. for more information about important issues that can arise in your case.