January 18, 2018
If you’re strapped for cash and unable to pay your bills at the end of the month, filing for bankruptcy in Kansas can help you get back on track. The first step toward financial well-being is understanding the differences between filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
After you’ve chosen the chapter you intend to file, and you’re ready to move forward, this article will help you locate information that can be difficult to find. For instance, you’ll need the following to file your case: official bankruptcy forms, Kansas means test figures, credit counseling providers, and your local bankruptcy court. Also, you’ll learn how to protect property in a Kansas bankruptcy.
Official Bankruptcy Forms
For the Kansas bankruptcy court to wipe out (discharge) your qualifying debt, you must provide details about your financial circumstances on official bankruptcy forms. For instance, you’ll supply information on your property, bills, income, expenses, and financial transactions. You’ll find downloadable forms on the U.S. Courts form page.
A case begins when the completed paperwork gets filed in the Kansas bankruptcy court. You’ll include a filing fee or a request for a fee waiver and proof that you’ve completed a credit counseling course (see below for more information).
Kansas Bankruptcy Information
Bankruptcy is a federal process, but you’ll still need some state information that is specific to Kansas.
Means Testing and Credit Counseling Information
You can find two types of information for Kansas on the website of the U.S. Trustee: means testing figures and approved credit counseling providers.
- Means test data. You can discharge qualifying debt by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your income qualifies and you pass a “means test.” If the family income is less than the median income of Kansas, you’ll pass. You might also pass if, after deducting allowed expenses, you don’t have enough income remaining to make a meaningful monthly payment to creditors. You’ll find the income charts and expense figures you need under “Means Testing Information.” In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll perform a similar calculation to determine your monthly plan payment.
- Credit counseling providers. Almost every filer has to complete a session with a credit counseling service before filing a case and a debt management course before receiving a discharge. You’ll find approved providers under “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education.” Scroll down to the District of Kansas.
Kansas Bankruptcy Court Website and Locations
On the Kansas Bankruptcy Court website, you’ll find the court’s local rules and instructions for filing your paperwork (click on “Filing Without an Attorney”). The District of Kansas has three divisions. The court clerk will assign a court based on your county of residence.
|U.S. Bankruptcy CourtRobert J. Dole Courthouse
500 State Avenue, Room 161
Kansas City, Kansas 66101(913) 735-2110
|U.S. Bankruptcy CourtFrank Carlson Federal Building
444 SE Quincy, Room 240
Topeka, Kansas 66683(785) 338-5910
|U.S. Bankruptcy CourtWichita U.S. Courthouse
401 N. Market, Room 167
Wichita, Kansas 67202(316) 315-4110
Kansas Bankruptcy Exemptions
You won’t lose all of your property when you file for bankruptcy in Kansas. But, you might not be able to exempt (protect) everything you own (although many people can do just that).
- Protected property. To keep the asset, it must appear on the list of Kansas exemptions or the list of federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
- Nonexempt property. If your property doesn’t appear on one of the exemption lists, the Chapter 7 trustee can liquidate (sell) the property and disperse the sales proceeds to your creditors. The process works differently in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You can keep your nonexempt property as long as you can afford to pay for it through a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
- Spousal property. Spouses filing together (a joint bankruptcy) in Kansas can double the exemption amount if they both have an ownership interest in the asset. If only one spouse owns the property, the exemption cannot be doubled.
Below you’ll find commonly used Kansas bankruptcy exemptions. Statute citations are to the Kansas Statutes Annotated.
- Homestead or residential property. You can protect the entire value of the real property or mobile home that you occupy (up to one acre if located in a town or city or up to 160 acres if located on a farm). (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-2301, Kan. Const. Art. 15 § 9.)
- Insurance benefits. Life insurance proceeds if the debtor files bankruptcy more than a year after the policy went into effect (Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 40-414, 60-2313(a)(7)); fraternal society benefits (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-2313(a)(8)).
- Motor vehicle. Up to $20,000 of equity in a motor vehicle that you regularly use to get to and from work. If the vehicle is equipped to assist with a disability, you can protect the full, unlimited value of the vehicle. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-2304(c).)
- Personal property. Furnishings, clothing, earned income tax credits, and supplies, including food and fuel, that are in your possession and are reasonably necessary at your residence for up to one year; jewelry up to $1,000 in value; burial plot or crypt. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-2304.)
- Pension, retirement, and life insurance benefits. ERISA-qualified benefits, IRAs and Roth IRAs and federal government pension needed for support and paid within three months prior to filing bankruptcy (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-2308); payment under a stock bonus, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, or similar plan or contract on account of illness, disability, death, age, or length of service, to the extent reasonably necessary for support (Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-2312). You might also be able to claim federal nonbankruptcy exemptions for retirement benefits.
- Public benefits. Earned income tax credit. (Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-2315.)
- Wages. 75% of disposable earnings or 30 times the federal minimum wage (whichever is greater). (Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-2310.)
- Tools of the trade. Books, furniture, tools, and supplies used in your trade or profession, up to $7,500. (Kan. Stat. Ann. §60-2304.)
Kansas offers other exemptions. Also, Kansas adjusts exemption amounts periodically. For the latest figures, as well as to ensure that you’re using all exemptions available, check the Kansas statutes on the website for the Kansas Legislature.
While this overview can help you find some of the information you’ll need to prepare your bankruptcy paperwork, you’re responsible for understanding how bankruptcy law works before filing. To learn more about the law and procedure, consider purchasing a do-it-yourself book like How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy by Attorney Cara O’Neill and Albin Renauer J.D.