How to File for Bankruptcy in Minnesota
It takes preparation to file for bankruptcy in the state of Minnesota. The first necessary step to take involves becoming familiar with the federal bankruptcy laws that apply in all states. Minnesota's own bankruptcy laws closely follow the federal laws that are in place. Anyone considering filing for bankruptcy in Minnesota should also take time to learn about the local laws and rules that apply in the state.
It is important to follow all bankruptcy rules correctly at every stage of the bankruptcy process. Seeking the guidance of a bankruptcy attorney before taking any steps toward filing a bankruptcy petition with the court is highly recommended. The complicated and detailed nature of the bankruptcy process can often be confusing for a person to handle alone. There are many deadlines and requirements that must be met. Any errors that are made when filing a petition with the court could result in fees and delays. In addition, any attempts to provide false information or conceal assets could results in strict penalties and a case being thrown out of court.
What Are the Bankruptcy Options Available to People in Minnesota?
Most people will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a form of bankruptcy that allows for debts to be discharged through the court. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a form of bankruptcy that allows for a debtor to set up a structured payment plan through the court. There are also some alternative forms of bankruptcy that may be appropriate in certain circumstances. Chapter 12 bankruptcy is available to farmers and fishermen. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is open to debtors with high amounts of debt or business-related debt.
Starting the Bankruptcy Process in Minnesota
The bankruptcy process officially begins when a debtor files a formal petition with the court. This petition will trigger something called an automatic stay. This automatic stay instantly prevents any creditors from attempting to contact a debtor or trying to collect any debts. While a formal bankruptcy petition is an important step, it is not actually the first step a debtor must take. All debtors must complete a credit counseling course during the six months before they formally file for bankruptcy. This course must be taken through a provider that is approved in the state of Minnesota. A list of approved providers for this course can be found here. In addition, a debtor education course must be taken once the bankruptcy process is in motion. A list of approved providers for this course can be found here.
A debtor will be asked to submit a means test to the court at some point. A means test is important because it takes into account a debtor's assets, income and liabilities to determine which form of bankruptcy is appropriate. Another key part of the bankruptcy process is something called a meeting of creditors. This mandatory meeting is notable because it provides creditors with an opportunity to prove that nonexempt assets remain in a debtor's possession. It also serves as an opportunity for creditors to appeal the details of a payment plan that has been set up under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
A Glance at the Bankruptcy Court in Minnesota
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Minnesota has locations in St. Paul, Minneapolis, Duluth and Fergus Falls. The local forms needed when filing for bankruptcy in Minnesota can be found here. The fee to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Minnesota is $335. The fee to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Minnesota is $310. The full list of fees that can be anticipated when filing for bankruptcy in Minnesota can be found here.