How to File for Bankruptcy in South Dakota
Filing for bankruptcy in South Dakota is a process that involves many guidelines and deadlines. Anyone considering the option of filing for bankruptcy should take time to become familiar with the federal laws and guidelines involved. It is also important to take time to learn about the local requirements for filing for bankruptcy in South Dakota. Determining which form of bankruptcy to file for is one of the most important steps to take when beginning the bankruptcy process. Most people will file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a way of having debts discharged by the court. A good number of people also end up filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This form of bankruptcy allows for a payment plan to be set up through the court.
One of the biggest questions people have when it comes to the bankruptcy process in South Dakota is whether or not it's necessary to seek the guidance of an attorney. While it is possible to file for bankruptcy without any legal representation, it is highly recommended that all debtors seek the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney familiar with South Dakota's bankruptcy laws. The detailed and complicated nature of the bankruptcy process can make it difficult for a person without a legal background to properly fill out all necessary paperwork and follow the guidelines of the court.
Key Steps in the South Dakota Bankruptcy Process
A means test is a crucial part of the bankruptcy process. A means test requires a debtor to submit detailed information regarding their finances to the court. This can include details like assets, liabilities, income amounts and more. The test will ultimately determine which form of bankruptcy a person is permitted to file for. A debtor can formally enter the bankruptcy process by filing a bankruptcy petition with the court. This petition will activate something called an automatic stay. An automatic stay serves to prevent all creditors from making attempts to collect debts or contact a debtor. One other key step in the bankruptcy process is something called a meeting of creditors. This is a mandatory meeting for all debtors. It is typically a brief and uneventful meeting. However, the meeting is important because it provides creditors with a final opportunity to prove that a debtor in a Chapter 7 case has nonexempt assets. In addition, creditors can object to any aspects of a payment plan that has been set up under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
There are also two more additional steps that are key parts of the bankruptcy process. Anyone preparing to file for bankruptcy must complete a credit counseling course during the six months leading up to filing a formal petition with the court. This course must be taken through an agency that is approved in the state of South Dakota. A list of approved providers can be found here. In addition, it is necessary for a debtor to complete a debtor education course during the bankruptcy process. A list of approved course providers for this requirement can be found here.
A Closer Look at the Bankruptcy Court in South Dakota
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Dakota has locations in Pierre and Sioux Falls. The fee to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition with the court in South Dakota is $335. The fee to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition with the court in South Dakota is $310. The full list of fees that can be anticipated when filing for bankruptcy of any kind in the state of South Dakota can be accessed here. The forms needed when filing for bankruptcy in South Dakota can be found here and here.