If you recently moved to a new state, figuring out where you should file bankruptcy and which exemptions are available to you can be a little confusing. The one thing that remains the same no matter where you live and when you last moved is that you will be filing your bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court, which is a federal court.
The simplest answer to this question is that if you have resided in your current state for the 180 days prior to filing a bankruptcy, then your current state is the proper place to file. Most states have a few different districts so you would just need to find out which district you are in. It becomes a little more tricky when you have resided in your new state for less than 180 days. If you fall into this classification, then the proper state for you to file your bankruptcy in is the state in which you resided for the greater period of time prior to filing. For example; you have lived in Georgia for the last 10 years, but relocated to Florida 2 ½ months ago. Since you have only resided in Florida for approximately 75 days, it is proper for you to file your bankruptcy in Georgia because you resided there for the majority of the 180 days prior to filing.
Once you have figured out which district you should file your bankruptcy in according to where you live and how long you have lived there, you now need to decide whether you should file bankruptcy now or whether you should wait. If you have just moved to a new state and do not yet qualify to file your bankruptcy in your new state, then you need to look at the exemptions each state offers along with what assets you are going to want to protect when you file. If your old state offers better exemptions that will better protect your assets, then you should probably file sooner rather than later in your previous state. But if your new state has better exemptions that will benefit you more, then you may want to consider waiting to file your bankruptcy until you have resided in your new state for at least 730 days (2 years). If you have resided in your new state for anywhere between 180 days and 730 days, then you will have to use the exemptions of the state in which you resided in for the greater part of the previous 180 days.
However, your bankruptcy filing location does not necessarily have to be based on where you reside. You can also choose your location based on where the majority of your assets are located or the location of your principle place of business.
Luckily, if you find you have filed your bankruptcy in the wrong district, the bankruptcy court isn’t going to decline to accept your petition. Depending on the court, your case will either be transferred to the more appropriate district or dismissed. If your case is dismissed, you simply need to re-file your petition in the correct district.
If you are considering filing bankruptcy but recently moved, it is very important to meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your new state to first find out whether or not you are eligible to file in your new state and how your new state’s exemptions will affect your assets. If you recently moved to Florida, contact the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC today.