Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated October 1, 2020
Before you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to make sure that you have access to all necessary forms. Filing for bankruptcy in Arkansas means that you will need to submit forms required by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. Although the Bankruptcy Court in charge of your case is federal, Arkansas law still affects many parts of the bankruptcy process. For example, Arkansas is one of the 19 states that, along with the District of Columbia, allows individuals filing bankruptcy to choose whether to take advantage of federal exemptions or state exemptions. It is therefore important to understand some of the ways that Arkansas bankruptcy is unique. That way, you will be able to fill out all necessary Arkansas bankruptcy forms with confidence. You can get the forms on the website for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas.
Voluntary Petition for Bankruptcy
The first Arkansas bankruptcy form that the Court needs from filers is a Voluntary Petition for bankruptcy. This form will act as a cover sheet for the rest of your bankruptcy documents. It will tell the Court who you are, where you live, whether you have ever filed for bankruptcy before and what Chapter of bankruptcy you are filing for now. Because you have decided to file for bankruptcy on your own and were not forced into filing for bankruptcy by a creditor, your bankruptcy is considered voluntary. The specific details of your income, expenses and debts will be spelled out in additional forms, commonly referred to as schedules.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule A/B: Property
Arkansas Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms contain many “schedules.” Each schedule you fill out will be lettered and will serve a specific, detailed purpose for the Court. Arkansas bankruptcy Schedule A/B concerns your property. You will need to answer questions about your property and list what you own in certain sections of the form. Although it’s important to be honest about what you own and how much it is worth, this form does not require extreme detail. For example, you will need to acknowledge that you own clothing, but you will not need to list that you own four pairs of underwear with Arkansas Razorbacks all over them.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule C: Exemptions
Arkansas bankruptcy Schedule C focuses on exemptions. Before you fill out this form, you will need to decide whether to take advantage of federal or state exemptions. Any property you own that can be considered exempt will be protected from your creditors, so it’s important to take this decision seriously. Most low-income Arkansas bankruptcy filers will be able to keep most or all of their property regardless of which exemption option they choose. In general, bankruptcies filed in The Natural State take advantage of federal exemptions, as they tend to be more generous in regards to most personal property.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule D: Creditors Who Hold Claims Secured by Property
Arkansas bankruptcy Schedule D addresses secured debt. While unsecured debt does not give a creditor any legal rights to your property, secured debt does. Generally, secured debt allows a creditor to take your property back if you fail to pay them. Sometimes, a creditor can force you to sell the property you put up before you were granted a loan, and take the proceeds from that sale. Mortgages, home equity lines of credit, car loans and some other vehicular or watercraft loans are secured. Credit card bills, medical debts and most personal loans are unsecured debt. In this Arkansas bankruptcy form, you will list any car loans, mortgages, or other secured debt you may have.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule E/F: Creditors Who Hold Unsecured Claims
Arkansas bankruptcy Schedule E/F provides details about your unsecured debt. In Arkansas bankruptcy Schedule E/F you will list both priority and non-priority claims. Certain unsecured debts are given priority by the Court over others. Priority claims are generally debts owed to the government, like taxes and governmental fines, and family support debts like overdue alimony payments and child support. Nonpriority debts, including credit card debts, medical bills and personal loans, are considered less pressing than priority debts are. When you file for Arkansas bankruptcy, the Court will prioritize payments to your creditors according to the kind of debt you owe each of them.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule G requires you to list any ongoing contracts or leases that may be affected by your bankruptcy. Specifically, you will need to list executory contracts and leases still in effect. An executory contract is a contract that requires you to pay for an ongoing service or membership. For example, gym memberships, cellphone contracts and certain business agreements are considered executory contracts. These agreements are ongoing and require you to “pay up” even though you have filed for bankruptcy, assuming you want to keep them. Similarly, if you have signed a lease on an apartment, a house, a car or rental equipment and the term of that lease is not yet complete, that information must be detailed in Schedule G of the Arkansas Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule H: Codebtors
Oftentimes, married couples, business partners, and even parents and their children apply for loans and take out other debt together. If someone else could be held responsible for any of your outstanding debts, this person is considered a codebtor. In Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule H, you will need to list each codebtor for each debt you share with someone else. Creditors can still hold your codebtor responsible for your jointly held debt unless your codebtor is your spouse and you are filing for bankruptcy together. Although your codebtor will receive an official notice that you have filed for Arkansas bankruptcy through the Court, it’s important to let your codebtors know about your actions as soon as you can.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule I: Income
In Arkansas bankruptcy Schedule I, you will need to give the Court information about your income. If you work, you will need to provide information about your employer's name, place of business, your job and how long you have been working for your current employer. Also, this Arkansas bankruptcy form requires you to provide information about any other sources of income you have. These may include Social Security benefits, child and/or spousal support, disability benefits, and business income. You will be able to clarify your deductions on this form as well, such as taxes and certain kinds of insurance that will reduce your income in the eyes of the Court. Deductions help to explain why you may make a decent living but still can’t afford to pay your debts.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Schedule J: Expenses
You have the opportunity to list all of your expenses in Arkansas bankruptcy Schedule J. Just like information about your payroll deductions, expense information helps the Court to understand why your income can’t cover your bills. It’s important to be honest on these forms, even if some of your expenses feel indulgent. For example, you may be wary of admitting that you spend any money on entertainment. However, the Court recognizes that a minimal amount of income may justifiably be spent on entertainment. The point of this Arkansas Chapter 7 bankruptcy form is to help the Court understand where your money goes, not to unreasonably judge you for spending the money you earn on necessities and an occasional treat.
Declaration About Schedules
In your Declaration about Schedules, you will be required to swear that your bankruptcy forms are accurate and complete. This is the bankruptcy version of being asked to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” like witnesses are in court. You need to take this Arkansas bankruptcy form seriously because not telling the truth can lead to negative legal consequences, like accusations of bankruptcy fraud or contempt charges. You will also be asked if you used the assistance of a petition preparer for your bankruptcy forms. Using help from Upsolve does not need to be declared, as Upsolve is a free service and not considered a “bankruptcy petition preparer.”
Summary of Assets and Liabilities
Once you have finished filling out all of your schedules, you will need to transfer many of the totals listed in these schedules to the Summary of Assets and Liabilities form. Much like the Voluntary Petition acts as a cover sheet for your Chapter 7 documents, your Summary of Assets and Liabilities form helps the Court see the entire picture of your finances once it has viewed each “snapshot” of a portion of your finances in your schedules. Take care not to make mistakes when transferring this information. Your Arkansas Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms all need to be correct and complete to avoid unnecessary delay of your discharge order.
Statement of Intention for Filing Arkansas Chapter 7
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arkansas is a relatively straightforward process. Chances are, if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your finances will be fairly clear-cut and the mandatory Arkansas bankruptcy forms will not be overwhelming. However, dealing with your Statement of Intention for Filing Arkansas Chapter 7 form can be tricky. Here, you will be asked to decide whether you are going to give up any unexpired leases, secured debt and executory contracts you have or whether you are going to return affected property to the creditor you owe. These decisions require careful consideration, as you should avoid keeping any property you can't reliably pay for. Otherwise, all the benefits of your bankruptcy discharge could be at risk.
Statement of Financial Affairs
When completing your Statement of Financial Affairs for Arkansas bankruptcy, you will give the Court a sense of how your finances have evolved over the past several years. You will detail your past income and expenses, government assistance you have received, repossessions, garnishments, lawsuits, foreclosures, and other kinds of losses you may have suffered in the recent past. To file for Arkansas bankruptcy, the Court will need to understand why you can’t pay your bills and why you should not be required to participate in a 5-year Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. The Statement of Financial Affairs will help you provide this information because it paints a picture of how your financial transactions have impacted you over the last few years.
Chapter 7 Statement of Your Monthly Income: 122A-1
To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an applicant must pass the Chapter 7 Means Test. The Means Test examines whether a household's size, income, and expenses fall within eligibility limits set by the Bankruptcy Code. In your bankruptcy form 122A-1, you show the Court how much money you have earned or received in the 6 months before filing bankruptcy. Of all the Arkansas Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms you are required to fill out, this is one of the most important. This form allows you to say to the Court, “I deserve to have my eligible debts discharged now, not 3-5 years from now under the Chapter 13 process.”
Statement About Your Social Security Numbers: Form 121
One of the most important pieces of personal data you possess is your Social Security number. This unique number is only issued to one living person at a time and it’s the way that the federal government identifies you. This number is so important that it justifies an entire Arkansas bankruptcy form just so you can confirm that your Social Security number is complete and correct. Take care to fill out bankruptcy form 121 carefully, as a mistake in reporting your Social Security number could not only slow down your Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, but also impact someone else’s credit if their social security number is mistakenly associated with your Arkansas bankruptcy. If your spouse is filing bankruptcy with you, you will need to include your spouse’s Social Security number here too.
A creditor matrix is a list of all of the people and businesses you owe money to. To fill your creditor matrix out, you will need the names and addresses of your creditors. It is important to be accurate when filling this Arkansas bankruptcy form out because the Court will use this information to inform your creditors that you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Don’t forget to include your landlord, if you have an unexpired lease on a house or an apartment that you want to get out of. Also make sure to include all creditors affected by current executory contracts you want to terminate, like any gym where you currently maintain a membership.
Verification of Creditor Matrix Arkansas
Your verification of creditor matrix Arkansas is another form that lets the Court know you are telling “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” This document confirms that your creditor matrix is complete and accurate to the best of your knowledge. It is important to take this form seriously, as the Court will frown upon learning that you have not made every effort to list your creditors and their contact information accurately. The Arkansas Bankruptcy Court will use the information on your creditor matrix to notify everyone affected by the bankruptcy. It’s important to get this information right because leaving a creditor off the list can lead to their debt surviving your Arkansas bankruptcy case.
Credit Counseling Course Certificate for Chapter 7 in Arkansas
You can’t file your credit counseling course certificate until you have taken a credit counseling course approved specifically for Arkansas bankruptcy filers. Once you complete this course, you will be given a certificate confirming you have passed the class. You will file this certificate with the rest of your Arkansas Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. There are numerous courses approved by the U.S Department of Justice for credit counseling. In addition to the in-person courses listed on the DOJ’s website for Arkansas, you can take an online course that is approved for use by Arkansas bankruptcy filers even though the company is somewhere across the country. Just make sure that the credit counseling course is an approved one before you take the class, otherwise, your attendance will not fulfill this bankruptcy requirement.
Arkansas Bankruptcy Fee Waiver
The fee to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arkansas is $335. Many low-income applicants cannot afford to pay this fee. Thankfully, the Court allows applicants to file an Arkansas bankruptcy fee waiver request. This form allows you to ask the Court to waive the fee requirement so that you can file your case for free. You will likely qualify for a fee waiver if you make 150 percent of the poverty line (or less) and you can clearly show the Court that you will remain unable to pay this fee in installments even after you are no longer making payments to your current creditors. You will be sent notice of whether your fee waiver request was approved after this Arkansas bankruptcy form has been processed.
Arkansas Specific Bankruptcy Forms
The Arkansas Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms are made up entirely of the official national forms that folks filing bankruptcy all over the country are required to complete. There are no local forms required for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arkansas. The court provides has put together this detailed listing of the filing requirements, including all required forms, to folks thinking about filing for bankruptcy protection.
Eastern and Western District of Arkansas Bankruptcy Requirements
The Arkansas Bankruptcy Court covers both the Eastern and Western District of Arkansas and is, in fact, the only bankruptcy court in the nation that spans multiple districts. The county you live in determines which of the divisional offices will be handling your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arkansas. Neither District lists any specific requirements for Arkansas bankruptcy cases.