Filing for Bankruptcy in Tennessee
If you are planning on filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee, you should know the different options available to you. Specifically, Tennessee bankruptcy laws allow consumer debtors to file for Chapter 7, Chapter 13, Chapter 12, or Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Which type of bankruptcy is right for you will depend on your specific circumstances. You also must meet certain eligibility requirements for each bankruptcy type. Before filing for bankruptcy, you should consult with a Tennessee bankruptcy lawyer.
The Basics of Bankruptcy in Tennessee
In Tennessee, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows consumer debtors to reorganize their debts and make regular payments over a three- to five-year period. Chapter 7, on the other hand, waives most consumer debts, allowing the debtor to start with a clean slate. Chapter 12 is reserved for farmers and fishermen, and Chapter 11 is for those who are ineligible to file for Chapter 13 because their debts are too high. Chapter 11 also allows debtors to reorganize their debts.
However, filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee will not rid you of all debt. Under the law, there are several types of debt that will remain after you declare bankruptcy. These debts include:
- Your most recent back taxes
- Most student loans
- Fines owed to government agencies
- Child support
- Fraudulent debts
In addition, in 2005 Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). This law limits who can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Now, debtors must prove their eligibility to file for Chapter 7. If they cannot prove their eligibility, they may file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 11.
If you want to know whether you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee, you should contact a Tennessee bankruptcy attorney in your area.
Filing for Tennessee Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you are planning on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee, the first thing you will need to do after hiring a lawyer is complete a form known as the Statement of Financial Affairs. In this form, you list detailed information about your finances, including your debts, assets, expenses, and income. You'll also have to include a list of your creditors. A creditor is a person or entity you owe money to.
Next, you must file this document with the proper bankruptcy court and pay the associated fees. The court will then alert all your creditors of your intentions to file for bankruptcy. At this point, they will be barred from making collecting attempts on your overdue accounts.
A court-appointed trustee will then come to collect your non-exempt property. Non-exempt property includes items such as a second car, a second home, stocks, bonds, and cash. These items are then sold to pay your creditors.
In addition, you will be required to appear at a 341 meeting. A 341 meeting is where the trustee and your creditors get to ask you questions about your assets and debts. Creditors then have up to 60 days to object to your bankruptcy filing. If there are no objections, your bankruptcy will proceed, and your remaining debts will be discharged, or forgiven.
Tennessee Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemptions
When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee, you are allowed to keep certain items known as exemptions. The following is a non-comprehensive list of some of these exemptions available to you:
- School books and pictures
- Burial plots
- Health aids
- Personal injury awards up to a certain point
- Social Security and unemployment benefits
Because these exemptions are subject to change, you should check with a Tennessee bankruptcy lawyer to better understand what property may be exempt.
Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Tennessee
If you are unable to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you may be able to file for Chapter 13.
To begin filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Tennessee, you and your attorney must first review your finances to come up with a three- to five-year debt repayment plan. This plan must address how you expect to repay your debts over this multi-year period. In particular, you must be able to show how you will pay priority claims, such as back taxes, in full.
Once the plan is drafted, you give it to a court-appointed trustee. The trustee will review the plan, and if he or she approves it, the plan will go to your creditors. The creditors may then raise any objections. If no objections are made, then you may begin following your repayment plan.
Because you will be issuing payments to your trustee on a regular basis, you should have a steady source of income and some disposable income if you are filing for Chapter 13.
Tennessee Bankruptcy Courts
To file for bankruptcy in Tennessee, you must submit corresponding documentation to the right court. The following is a list of Tennessee bankruptcy courts: