Can I file bankruptcy from Overseas? 12 Answers as of July 04, 2013

I moved from the USA 3 years ago with my family to Asia and have about $60,000 in unsecured debt (USA credit cards.) My only source of income is my pension - deposited into a USA bank (USAA) monthly. I am finding it impossible to continue to pay the debt. I have no physical assets overseas or in the USA. Is it possible to file bankruptcy without going back to the USA? If it's not possible to do it from abroad, where should I go (what state) and how long do I have to stay to declare bankruptcy? Of course, the problem is even getting the money together for a plane ticket. Thank you for your help with this question.

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Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Interesting. I have done them for people out of the country. The hearing is arranged with the US Consulate. You will have to pay them a fee to do the hearing. The question then would be venue, which court should you file in? The form asks where you have lived or had assets in the last 180 days. I think you could pick the jurisdiction where your pension comes from.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/6/2011
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
You must reside in the district in which you file your bankruptcy case for the majority of the past 180 days.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 7/4/2013
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
First off, you need to live in the state where you are filing for the better part of 180 days (so 91 days before filing). Second, you need to personally be present for the 341 Meeting of Creditors unless you get approval from the court to take your deposition telephonically, or through interrogatories.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/1/2011
CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
Yes, any citizen may file.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/1/2011
Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
Are you a citizen of Asia? Do you have a residence or citizenship in any US state? Can you be sued in Asia on an American debt? You would probably have to come to the U.S. The lawyer would want to meet you and know you're real; presumably you could mail documents and possibly do a creditors' meeting by phone, but it's not certain. One thing to be careful about in the meantime is that if you're sued successfully (you do need to let them know your current address, so that if they sue you in the wrong jurisdiction a judgment wouldn't be valid) they could garnish your USAA account.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 7/1/2011
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C.
    Law Office of J. Thomas Black, P.C. | J. Thomas Black
    Yes, it is possible to file bankruptcy from overseas, at least if you have assets in this country. Bank accounts count as assets. The federal law that governs "venue" or the location where bankruptcy cases can be filed is 28 USC Sec. 1408(1). It states that a bankruptcy case can be filed in the federal district where your "principal assets in the United States" have been located for the longer portion of the 180 days preceding the filing of the case. Based on this law, a U.S. citizen who had relocated to Canada was allowed to file bankruptcy in New York, where her $194 bank account was in the case of In re McTague, 198 B.R. 428 (Bankr. W.D.N.Y., 1996). On similar facts, the same result occurred in In re Farmer, 288 B.R. 31 (Bankr. N.D.N.Y., 2002). My office recently filed a Chapter 13 case and confirmed the plan where the elderly couple had relocated to Panama, but had bank accounts here in the Southern District of Texas. The Chapter 13 Trustee at first opposed the case, but after doing the legal research, withdrew his Motion to Dismiss and the case was approved by the Bankruptcy Court. I'm not saying that filing bankruptcy here in the U.S. would be easy or inexpensive for you to accomplish, or even advisable. But it is possible, and if I were you I would contact a knowledgeable and experienced bankruptcy attorney in the district where your bank accounts are located and discuss your options thoroughly. Alternatively, I don't know of any reason why you could not move your bank accounts to the district in which you want to file, and then wait at least 91 days prior to filing the bankruptcy case.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed
    Bankruptcy Law Office of Robert Weed | Robert Weed
    If you stop paying the credit cards, you can probably get money for the plane ticket. It's not totally clear you need to file bankruptcy at all. Probably everyone you have been paying knows where you bank, but it seems like that should be easy enough to fix. Could you have your pension sent to a bank where you are? Those are the kinds of questions you need to be asking.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    You are required to reside for 180 days in the state where you file bankruptcy. Under Section 341 you must physically attend a meeting of creditors.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    With no assets here in the U.S. my first question would be why? Is there more to this than you posted? (And yes, you probably would have to attend court, and yes, residency could be a problem, and it is possible there will be no way to do it, depending on details we do not have).
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC
    Law Office of J. Scott Logan, LLC | John Scott Logan
    You are eligible to file in the state of your legal residence, which would likely be the last state in which you resided. You may file overseas, but may need to attend a meeting of creditors telephonically, via skype, or perhaps through a person with a valid power of attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Need to be a resident of a state. 91 days.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/1/2011
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