How to File for Bankruptcy in Wisconsin
Filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin is a detailed process that requires preparation and research. Most of the steps involved in the process of filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin mirror the steps that must be taken when filing in all other states. In addition, there are some specific details regarding the process of filing in Wisconsin that are important to know about. Seeking the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney is highly recomended for anyone considering filing for bankruptcy in the state of Wisconsin.
Deciding which form of bankruptcy is appropriate for a specific situation is a key step in the bankruptcy process. Most people end up filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for debts to be discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy establishes a payment plan that makes it possible for a debtor to pay back debts over time. There are also some uncommon forms of bankruptcy that are appropriate for certain situations. Chapter 12 bankruptcy is an option that exists exclusively for farmers and fishermen. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is an option that is available to certain debtors with high debt amounts or business-related debts.
The First Steps to Filing for Bankruptcy in Wisconsin
The bankruptcy process formally begins when a debtor files a petition with the court in Wisconsin. This petition will trigger something that is called an automatic stay. An automatic stay is important because it prevents creditors from trying to collect debts or attempting to contact a debtor in any way. It is also necessary to complete a means test for the court early in the bankruptcy process. A means test will help to determine which form of bankruptcy a person should file for. The test requires a debtor to submit detailed information regarding assets, income, liabilities and more. It is important to answer all components of a means test honestly and accurately. Any errors or attempts to conceal information regarding assets could result in penalties. A meeting of creditors must also be attended at some point during the bankruptcy process. This is a mandatory meeting that providers creditors with a chance to prove that there are nonexempt assets that can be forfeited. It also provides creditors with an opportunity to contest aspects of a payment plan that has been set up for a Chapter 13 case.
Anyone considering filing for bankruptcy must first complete a credit counseling course in the six months leading up to formally filing. This course must be provided by an agency that is approved in the state of Wisconsin. The list of approved providers can be found here. In addition, a debtor education course must be completed during the bankruptcy process. A list of approved providers for this course can be found here.
A Closer Look at Wisconsin's Bankruptcy Process
Wisconsin's bankruptcy court is divided between the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin has locations in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Oshkosh. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin has locations in Madison and Eau Claire. The cost to file a petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the state of Wisconsin is $335. The cost to file a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the state of Wisconsin is $310. A full listing of all of the fees that can be anticipated when filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin can be found here. The forms required when filing for bankruptcy in the state of Wisconsin can be found here.