When you’re having trouble making ends meet, bankruptcy can be the solution. But finding the information you need to file a bankruptcy case can be confusing and frustrating. Read on to learn where to find official bankruptcy forms, Maryland means testing information, approved credit counseling providers, and your local Maryland bankruptcy court. You’ll also find information about protecting property when you file bankruptcy in Maryland.
(To learn more about choosing the right type of bankruptcy for you, start by reading What Is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?)
Every bankruptcy starts with a packet of paperwork called the bankruptcy schedules. Before the Maryland bankruptcy court discharges (eliminates) your debts, you’ll use those forms to disclose the details of your financial situation—income, expenses, property, debt, and property transactions.
You can fill them out on the official bankruptcy forms webpage at no cost. Then, you’ll file the paperwork with your local bankruptcy court along with a filing fee or fee waiver and proof that you’ve taken the required education course (more below).
Federal law governs bankruptcy filings, but the laws of Maryland also come into play. Here’s what you need to know.
You’ll need two types of state-specific information to complete your paperwork: means testing figures and approved credit counseling providers. These can be found on the U.S. Trustee website.
On the Maryland Bankruptcy Court website, you’ll find local rules and instructions for filing your paperwork (select “Filing Without an Attorney” in the navbar). The Maryland bankruptcy court has three divisions, but only two accept cases for filing. You’ll file your bankruptcy case at the courthouse that serves your county.
Garmatz Federal Courthouse
101 West Lombard Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Harford, Howard, Kent, Queen Annes, Somerset, Talbot,
6500 Cherrywood Lane
Greenbelt, MD 20770
(Alleghany, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Garret, Montgomery, Prince Georges, St. Marys, and Washington.)
U.S. Post Office Building
120 East Main Street
Salisbury, MD 21801
(The court conducts hearings at this location, but does not accept filings.)
Just because you file for bankruptcy doesn’t mean you have to give up all your property. But, you might not be able to exempt (protect) everything—although many people can do just that. What you can protect depends on the assets on Maryland’s exemption list.
The Chapter 7 trustee will sell any unprotected (nonexempt) property and distribute the proceeds to your creditors. If you file Chapter 13 instead, you won’t lose property, but you’ll pay the value of the property to your creditors as a part of your Chapter 13 plan payment.
Here’s a list of common Maryland bankruptcy exemptions.
Maryland’s exemption amounts are adjusted periodically. To keep up to date with current figures, check for updates on the website for the General Assembly of Maryland.
This overview provides some, but not all, of the necessary information needed in a bankruptcy case. Filing for bankruptcy without a lawyer can be challenging. You’re responsible for familiarizing yourself with the law. Consider purchasing a do-it-yourself book like How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D. to help you make well-informed decisions about your bankruptcy matter.