What is the difference in bankruptcy laws by state? 25 Answers as of August 11, 2011

I don't understand how bankruptcy is federal but the laws are different by state. I ask because I am from a different state than my wife. Are there laws on where to file?

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Heupel Law
Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
Bankruptcy is a federal law so it is the same between all states. However, every state has their own exemption laws, which dictates what types of property you can keep when you file bankruptcy. For example, in Colorado you can keep up to $5,000 of equity in cars, but Nevada allows $15,000 for a single car. Determining the exemptions can be a complicated process and requires the use of an attorney. Please our office for a free consultation and we can provide you with better advice.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/10/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
every state has different property exemption amounts
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/11/2011
Financial Relief Law Center
Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
Different states have different laws regarding how much or what kind of property you can exempt. Additionally, procedural matters may vary state by state. There are usually residency requirements you must meet prior to being able to file in a given state and take advantage of that state's exemptions. I would recommend contacting an attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation and to practically go about filing in a given state and determine how to go about a joint or separate petition.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/1/2011
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
There are difference in the exemptions, because the federal law uses the states exemption laws. Sounds crazy but that is how it works.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/1/2011
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
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Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 7/30/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    Bankruptcy law is federal but the definition of what is "property", how property is transferred, the rights and obligations concerning property, and what property you can keep (exemptions) is based on the law of the state where you reside unless that state uses the federal exemptions for bankruptcy cases. Most states have their own exemption laws to protect property from being taken by creditors and those usually apply to the federal bankruptcy case. Sone states are very generous with the exemptions and others very tight. In some states, such as Florida, you can keep a home of any value and not lose it in bankruptcy (and your creditors cannot take in in a lawsuit either) but in some states the maximum equity you can have is as little as $25,000.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    Bankruptcy is federal law. State law is applicable to a limited extent, for instance in determining exemption when the state has opted out of the federal exemption scheme.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Lewis Adams and Associates
    Lewis Adams and Associates | Lewis P. Adams
    The Bankruptcy laws are the same in every state. What are different are the property exemptions that protect property from sale. States are allows to elect to use the federal exemptions or create their own. Some states have more liberal exemptions than others. To use a state's exemptions, you must have resided in that state for two and a half years or use the previous state's exemptions. That prohibits debtors from moving from one state to another, just to take advantage of the better exemptions in a different state. To file in any state, you must be a resident for at least 6 months, but the last two and a half years determines which state's exemptions are used.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    Logical question, but the fact remains, the exemptions vary from state to state. If it makes you feel better, everything else is federal, and thus the same. Yes, there are laws where you can file, venue requirements require that you file where you've either resided, operated a business, or had your principal assets, for the better part of 180 days.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    What assets you can exempt and keep vary by state. So does the maximum income to be able to file a Chapter 7. When two spouses are in different states the case gets complex and a lawyer is vital to do this part right.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Glen A. Kurtis, P.C.
    Glen A. Kurtis, P.C. | Glen A. Kurtis
    In NY the debtor has a choice of whether to use federal exemptions or NY state exemptions. Depending on the situation it may be more beneficial to use one or the other.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Breckenridge and Walton
    Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
    Each state can keep their own exemption scheme only or opt to allow debtors to select the federal scheme if it is more attractive. We allow the choice, but since the state created a second choice in 2004 which has since been declared unconstitutional, the federal scheme is usually best.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    This question is huge. The state laws determine what property you're allowed to keep. It depends on what states you live in and where you consider home and where your assets are. You can't do this without help from a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton | Daniel Moulton
    State laws affect the exemptions you receive i.e., the amount of property you may keep
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Law Office of Harry L Styron
    Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
    The Bankruptcy laws are federal, and uniform throughout the United States. However, each state may designate different exemptions for property. In California you can elect between two different sets of exemptions, which are basically aimed one at people who own a home and one at people who do not. Other states can have different exemptions. You must file in the federal court district where you have been domiciled for the 180 days prior to the date of the petition (domicile is generally defined as where you show you permanently intend to live by such things as voter registration, drivers license and such. You can have residences in multiple states, and service members are generally domiciled in the state from which they enlist during their first term). It doesn't matter where you are "from".
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Based on residency, where you have lived for last few months. Determine exemptions on assets among other issues like transfers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    It is in regard to the exemptions and whether a state has chosen to opt out of the federal exemptions or not.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Grasso Law Group
    Grasso Law Group | Charles Grasso, Esq.
    The main difference state by state is in the area of exemptions. Each state can determine if they want to use the federal exemptions or "opt out" and use state created exemptions. Exemptions are used to keep certain property (personal and real) from becoming part of the bankruptcy estate. Exempted property can be kept by the debtor after filing bankruptcy. The venue or place where you file depends on where your residence is located. There is no issue if you have lived in a particular State for the past 2-years, then you must file in that State. Otherwise, the issue is usually determined by which State you lived for the past 6-months (or up to 2-years). If you did not live in any one State for the past 6-months then you look to where you spent the most time over the past 6-months.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    Bankruptcy law is federal, but within that federal law it states that certain state laws will be used in the bankruptcy process. Therefore bankruptcy may use such things as the exemption laws of the state where the Debtor lives for example, so the exemptions of a Debtor may be able to use in bankruptcy will vary from state to state depending on the state where the Debtor lives. Also, as an another example, some states are community property states and those laws are followed in bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    Yes, but this is something that each of you will need to ask a lawyer to see what you are each eligible for unless you find a bankruptcy lawyer who works in both states.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Braunstein Law, PC
    Braunstein Law, PC | Jacob Braunstein
    Bankruptcy is governed in a sense by both federal and state laws. Bankruptcy courts are federal in terms of jurisdiction and the laws governing one's ability to file bankruptcy are found in a set of federal statutes commonly known as the Bankruptcy Code. However, each state has its own statutes that may impact the bankruptcy estate, such as those relating to the exemption or inclusion of certain assets in the bankruptcy estate.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    Bankruptcy is federal law but there are certain state laws that apply, and that is why it differs from state to state. For example, Congress decided that states could decide whether to allow use of bankruptcy exemptions promulgated under the bankruptcy code or whether to establish their own.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/29/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    The bankruptcy code is a federal law. Exemptions which determine what property you can keep following a bankruptcy are largely based on state law. To complicate matters further, the bankruptcy code now requires you to look at where you have lived over the past two years to determine what state's exemption laws will apply. As these questions can be very complicated, it would be a very good idea to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney about the specifics of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/29/2011
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