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How to File Bankruptcy with an Attorney in Iowa

In 2005 the Federal government made changes to all the states bankruptcy codes on how you will need to proceed to file for bankruptcy and what you need to do to qualify. With the changes in 2005, first it now requires anyone whom is filing bankruptcy after October 17, 2005 to go through credit counseling.  This has to be done within six (6) months before you may file and then you must complete a financial management instructional course after filing.

The other thing which is key in filing bankruptcy in Iowa, is that if you do not use an attorney, you’ll still be required to follow all legal procedures of bankruptcy law. A bankruptcy lawyer is a vital resource to make sure that you don’t end up losing your house. A good, experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you keep your car, your house, heirlooms, and other important protected assets under the bankruptcy law. There is a bankruptcy evaluation form to the right of this page which you can use to get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation from a qualified bankruptcy lawyer in Iowa.

Iowa Bankruptcy Means Test

Also, with the changes in 2005 the State of Iowa established the Act Means Test.  This test is an income and expense analysis to determine if you would qualify for filing Chapter 7 or if you must file Chapter 13.

What does The Iowa Means Test Do?

This takes your average income for the 6 months prior to filing and then compares it to the states median income.  If it falls below the median than you may file Chapter 7.  If it is above then you look at the remaining components of the test to see if you can still file Chapter 7 or if you will be required to file Chapter 13.  To stay under the filing of Chapter 7, you must be unable to pay at least $6,000 over the next five years to all of your unsecured creditors, this after all your monthly expenses have been paid.

Qualifying to File Chapter 7 in Iowa

However, if you can afford to pay more than the $6,000, but less than $10,000 over a five year period, then a calculation determines whether your Chapter 7 will be a successful one.  The court will look to see if you can pay 25% or more of your unsecured debt, if you can then you will be denied Chapter 7.  However, if you can afford that then your Chapter 7 will be successful.

What do I need to File Bankruptcy in Iowa?

When getting prepared to file you must have the following items:

  1. Itemized your current income sources;
  2. Major financial transactions for the last two years;
  3. Your monthly living expenses;
  4. All of your debts both secured and unsecured; and
  5. Property assets and possessions, not just real estate

You will also want to include your last two years of tax returns, deeds of real estate and car titles.  You may also include any documents pertain to terms of loans you may have.

How do I file Bankruptcy?  You will need to determine which property you believe is exempt from any seizure.  The state of Iowa has a list of exemptions that your attorney will have.  When ready to file you will need to file a two page petition with other forms, depending on the type of bankruptcy you are filing.  One of these forms will be a schedule where you will be asked to describe your current financial situation and recent transactions in the last two years.

What are the Bankruptcy Fees in Iowa?

The Cost associated with Chapter 7 is $274; Chapter 13 $189.  The fees CANNOT be waived; however you may be able to pay installments on them.

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