How to File for Bankruptcy in Alabama
Filing for bankruptcy in the state of Alabama is a process that closely mirrors the process of filing for bankruptcy throughout the rest of the United States. It will be necessary for anyone filing for bankruptcy in the state of Alabama to become familiar with the federal rules and regulations involved. It is also beneficial to put some time into researching the local rules and requirements for residents in the state of Alabama. It will be necessary to determine which form of bankruptcy is appropriate for your situation before taking any steps or filing a petition with the court.
Most people will qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This form of bankruptcy allows for debts to be discharged. People who do not qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy often qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows for a payment plan to be set up through the court. Farmers and fishermen have the option to file for a special form of bankruptcy called Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Anyone with large amounts of debt or business-related debts may qualify for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Starting the Bankruptcy Process in Alabama
The specific form of bankruptcy that you will qualify for will ultimately be determined by the court. This will be done through something called a means test. A means test is essentially a comprehensive examination of your finances that is used to determine your ability to pay back debts that are owned to creditors. Debtors are asked to provide information regarding income, assets, liabilities and more. All information provided must be honest and accurate. Any attempts to conceal financial information or hide assets could result in serious penalties.
Filing for bankruptcy in Alabama is slightly different than filing for bankruptcy in most other states. This is because Alabama bankruptcy cases do not fall under the jurisdiction of the United States Trustee Program. This means that debtors and their attorneys should take all questions regarding bankruptcy cases filed in Alabama's three judicial districts to the local bankruptcy administrator.
Requirements When Filing for Bankruptcy in Alabama
It will be necessary to file a petition with the court to formally begin the bankruptcy process. This petition will trigger what is called an automatic stay. An automatic stay prevents creditors from contacting a debtor or making any attempts to collect debts. It will also be necessary to attend something called a meeting of creditors before the bankruptcy process can come to a close. This meeting provides creditors with a chance to prove that a debtor possesses nonexempt assets. In addition, the terms of a payment plan for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case can also be contested.
The Specifics of Filing for Bankruptcy in Alabama
The bankruptcy court in Alabama is divided between the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Alabama and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama has locations in Anniston, Decatur, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Alabama has locations in Opelika and Dothan. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Alabama has locations in Mobile and Selma.
Forms needed to file for bankruptcy in Alabama can be found here. The cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Alabama is $335. The cost to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Alabama is $310. A full list of fees that can be expected when filing for bankruptcy of any type in Alabama can be found here.