How to File for Bankruptcy in Louisiana
Anyone facing bankruptcy in Louisiana should become familiar with the federal rules and laws regarding the process of filing for bankruptcy. The process of filing for bankruptcy in Louisiana is very similar to process of filing anywhere else in the country. Of course, taking time to become familiar with the specific steps required when filing for bankruptcy in the state of Louisiana is also important. It is necessary to determine which form of bankruptcy you will qualify to file under before taking any formal steps. Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the two most common forms of bankruptcy in the United States. However, they are not the only options. Farmers and fishermen qualify for a special form of bankruptcy called Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Some debtors with unusually high debt amounts or business debts are eligible to qualify for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is recommended that anyone filing for bankruptcy in Louisiana should seek the help of an attorney. The complex nature of the bankruptcy process creates the need for professional guidance to avoid delays, penalties and extra fees.
Beginning the Bankruptcy Process
The bankruptcy process officially begins once a debtor files a petition with the court. This is an important step because the act of filing a petition instantly triggers what is called an automatic stay. An automatic stay prevents creditors from attempting to collect unpaid debts or contacting a debtor for any reason. All debtors will be required to complete and submit something called a means test very early in the bankruptcy process. This test serves as a crucial step because it is what is used to determine a person’s eligibility for various forms of bankruptcy. Debtors will be required to answer questions regarding income, liabilities, assets and more.
Key Steps in the Bankruptcy Process in Louisiana
Debtors are required to complete a credit counseling course at some point during the six months leading up to actually filing a petition with the court. This course must be administered by an agency that is approved in the state of Louisiana. A list of approved course providers can be found here. In addition, it is required that all debtors complete a debtor education course during the bankruptcy process. A list of approved course providers can be found here. One final requirement is attendance at something called a meeting of creditors. This mandatory meeting provides creditors with an opportunity to prove that a debtor has nonexempt assets that can be collected under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. In addition, creditors may be able to contest the terms of a payment plan created under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
A Closer Look at the Bankruptcy Process in Louisiana
Louisiana’s bankruptcy court is divided between the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is located in New Orleans. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana is located in Baton Rouge. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Louisiana has locations in Alexandria, Lake Charles, Monroe, Lafayette and Shreveport. The cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the state of Louisiana is $335. The cost to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Louisiana is $310. A full list of the fees that can be expected when filing for bankruptcy in the state of Louisiana can be found here. Forms that can be used when filing for bankruptcy in the state of Louisiana can be accessed here.