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Bankruptcy in Washington D.C.

Who can file for bankruptcy in Washington D.C?

Any resident of Washington D.C. who finds themselves unable to pay their current debts is able to seek relief by filing for bankruptcy.  The only question is whether or not you will be allowed to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or if you will be forced to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

How do I know if I am eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

According to the bankruptcy abuse prevention and consumer protection act of 2005, a persons eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be determined by administering a means test.  A means test works by comparing the petitioners income from the previous year to the average income in their area for the same time frame.  If the petitioners income is higher than the average income, they will be required to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  If the petitioners income is lower than the average income, they will be allowed to choose between Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If I file for bankruptcy will my spouse be effected as a result?

Since Washington D.C. is not a community property state, you can file for bankruptcy without the involvement of your spouse.  The only way you will be responsible for any of your spouse’s debts is if you voluntarily assumed responsibility for these debts.  An example of this would be if you chose to co-sign on a loan with your spouse.  In this event, you will need to file for bankruptcy with your spouse if you wish to have this debt discharged as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

What are Washington D.C.’s property exemption laws?

The following are the basic property exemptions in Washington D.C.

  • $125,000 worth of value in your home
  • $2575 worth of value in your vehicle
  • $8625 worth of value in home furnishings and other personal items( no 1 item can exceed $425 in value)
  • $1625 worth of professional books or tools of the trade

What do I need to do before I can file for bankruptcy?

All persons who wish to file bankruptcy in Washington D.C. must participate in an approved credit counseling course prior to being eligible for bankruptcy relief.

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