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Filing Bankruptcy in Dover, Delaware

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Written by Attorney Karra Kingston
Updated July 28, 2020

If you live in Dover and like to attend the Firefly Music Festival but can’t afford it because creditors are garnishing your wages, then filing bankruptcy may be an option to consider. The same is true even if you never wanted to attend the Firefly Music Festival but are in over your head in debt. Sometimes unfortunate circumstances happen. Life throws things that are not  always predictable. If you have fallen into one of these circumstances which caused bills to pile up, you’re not alone. Hundreds of people file for bankruptcy every day. Maybe you unexpectedly have lost your job, lost a loved one, or someone in your household got sick or hurt. If you fall into one of these categories and believe you will never be able to get back on your feet then filing a Delaware bankruptcy is something to consider. Bankruptcy can help you erase your debts. If you are worried you don’t have the funds to hire a lawyer we can help. Filing a Dover bankruptcy can be quite simple if you use our guide to help you. First, you will need to determine which kind of bankruptcy works best for you. There are two types of consumer bankruptcy that individuals can file. The most common is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most of your debts are eliminated. The other kind of bankruptcy is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you pay your creditors as much as you can afford to pay while still paying your living expenses over a five year plan. Whatever doesn’t get paid gets discharged once the plan has been 

Dover Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost

You don’t need to spend money on hiring a bankruptcy lawyer to file a Dover bankruptcy. If you want to complete this process on your own, you can do so. However, we do recommend you at least sit with a bankruptcy lawyer to make sure you are making the right decision. Many bankruptcy lawyers don’t charge for the first  consultation. If you’re interested in hiring a lawyer, you may be wondering “How much does a Dover bankruptcy lawyer cost?” The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Dover usually starts at $1,500 but can go up depending on the complexity of your case. If you can afford to hire a lawyer to help you with filing bankruptcy in Dover, it’s often a good investment well worth it in the long run. But if you can’t, keep reading to find out how to file bankruptcy in Dover on your own.

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How to File Bankruptcy in Dover, Delaware for Free

The steps below will help guide you through your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Dover.  Follow these steps to successfully complete Delaware bankruptcy process.

Collect Your Dover Bankruptcy Documents

Filing bankruptcy in Dover  can seem exhausting. Especially, when you have to gather so much paperwork. However, if you stay calm and focused you will find that it is not so bad. The reason the Court wants to see your financial paperwork is to make sure that you are telling the truth and have not transferred property out of your name. Some of the paperwork the Court will ask you for is two years of tax returns, paystubs, vehicle titles, appraisals, and pay off statements. This information will allow you to explain to the Court why you are filing for bankruptcy. We recommend requesting a free credit report so that you have a list of all of your creditors. The form will ask for all of your creditors and you may miss one without having the list in front of you. Note, that medical bills usually do not show up on this list. In order to find out if you have any outstanding medical debt, you should contact the hospital or doctor and carefully go through any bills and collection notices you have received. 

Take Credit Counseling

To file your Dover bankruptcy, you will need to be counseled by an agency on whether filing for bankruptcy is the best decision for someone in your situation. These counselors will ask you for your income and expenses as well as your debts to make sure you understand why you are filing for bankruptcy. If a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Dover is not the right decision for you, they will provide you with other options you can consider. There are many counseling courses you can choose from online. Make sure to choose a program that has beenapproved by the Department of Justice. Once the course is completed you will need to file your certificate with the Court. 

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

When preparing to file a Dover bankruptcy you will need to use the documents you gathered above, to fill out your forms. The forms can seem long and frustrating, but they are the most important part of the process. Each form will provide you with directions to follow. Read them over carefully so that you fill out the information properly. The forms will pull together your entire financial history for the Court. This is the only way for the Court to determine what has really been going on in your life financially and make sure you are not abusing the system.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of questions. Remember to take your time and carefully review your answers. 

Get Your Filing Fee

Paying a $338fee may seem like a lot of money to some people. This is the cost of filing bankruptcy in Dover under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. The fees are used to process your case and pay the Trustee to administer your case. Low-income filers can ask the Court for permission to have their cases submitted for free. If your income is below 150% of the federal poverty line, you may be granted a fee waiver.  If the Court does not grant your fee waiver, then you can ask to pay the fee in installments. The Court will notify you if your request has been approved after reviewing the forms you submitted which should your income and expenses. 

You will not be able to file your forms online. Instead, you will need to file your Dover bankruptcy paperwork in paper. This means that you will need to print out a few copies of the forms so that you have a copy for you and one for the Court. If you don’t have a printer at home, you can visit the Dover Public Library to print your forms. Make sure to review all of the forms before you start printing them. Also, you will need to pay to print the forms so make sure you bring some money. 

Go to Court to File Your Forms

You will now have to go to Court to file your Dover bankruptcy. The Court is open from Monday through Friday excluding federal holidays. The Court where you will need to file all of your paperwork is located at 824 North Market Street in Wilmington. Make sure to bring with you a photo ID and some money just in case you have to pay for parking. Also, you will have to get through security, so try not to bring too much with you when you go. If you need directions, you can visit the Court’s website

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

When you finish filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Dover, the Court will appoint a Trustee to review your documents and oversee your case. This person, usually an attorney or accountant,  does not work for the Court. They represent your unsecured creditors. The Trustee will ask you questions about your financial circumstances and events that occurred shortly before filing bankruptcy in Dover. Before your Trustee can prepare for this meeting, you’ll need to send copies of certain documents, so they can prepare for your 341 meeting.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

Time to take another online education course. The Court requires you to take a debtor education class before your Dover bankruptcy case can result in a discharge. If you don’t take the course the Court will not issue discharge of your debts. This course provides information to help you better structure your finances in the future. The course will provide ways you can save and budget your money so that you don’t fall into the same financial issues in the future. Make sure that you only choose a program that has been approved by the Department of Justice. Make sure you send a copy of the certificate to the Court.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

Bankruptcy trustees conduct meetings between debtors (the person who filed a Delaware bankruptcy case) and their creditors. Creditors, however, rarely show up. Most likely, you and your Trustee will meet together face to face. The Trustee will swear you in and ask you questions relating to the forms you submitted to the Court. This meeting gives the Trustee an insight into why you’re filing bankruptcy in Dover. The Trustee wants to make sure you aren’t hiding assets or didn’t just rack up a bunch of debt without ever intending to pay it. This is a casual meeting so there is no need to stress out. As long as you are honest and not hiding anything you will be okay!

Dealing with Your Car

If you own your vehicle, you can use an exemption to keep your car so that the Trustee doesn’t take it to pay your creditors. If you’re still making payments on your vehicle because you own or lease it at the time your Dover bankruptcy is filed, you’ll need to decide whether you want to enter into reaffirmation agreement, redeem the car or surrender your car. Entering into a reaffirmation agreement allows you to keep the vehicle. However, if you fail to make the payments, the car can be taken away and you will still have to pay the rest of the loan. If you decide to redeem your car then you can work out a deal with the lender to keep the car and pay only what the vehicle is worth. Lastly, surrendering your car allows you to walk away from it completely. If you choose this scenario the lender won’t be able to go after you. You should think what option best fits your financial circumstances. 

Delaware Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Dover

Delaware Means Test

To complete your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Dover and get a discharge, you’ll need to pass theDelaware bankruptcy Means Test. The Delaware bankruptcy Means Test determines if you qualify to file bankruptcy based on certain income limits. If you live in a low-income household, you most likely qualify under the Means Test. If you don’t pass the Means Test you may want to look at some alternative options. An attorney can help you go over your figures to see if perhaps you missed something. If after rechecking your figures you didn’t miss anything they may recommend another option for you. 

Median Income Levels for Delaware

Delaware Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed In 2023
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income

Poverty Levels for Delaware

Delaware Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed In 2023

Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.

Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)

Delaware Bankruptcy Forms

There are many bankruptcy forms  that you need to make sure are completed properly to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Dover.  The forms may seem long and complicated. However, each of these Delaware bankruptcy forms easy directions for you to follow. Remember to list all of your property on Schedules A/B. If necessary, take a survey of property throughout your home to ensure you don’t forget anything. 

Delaware Exemptions

In your Dover bankruptcy forms, you will have to use an exemption to protect your property from your Trustee. Exemptions are laws that stop creditors from taking certain property away from people. . Make sure you pay close attention when reviewing your Delaware bankruptcy exemptions. If you choose the wrong exemptions the Trustee will be happy because he will be able to sell your property to pay off creditors. The Court allows certain exemptions so that you are able to keep most or all of your property. Delaware is considered an “opt out” state which means they don’t recognize the federal bankruptcy exemptions, so you’ll need to apply Delaware-specific exemptions to your property only. 

Written By:

Attorney Karra Kingston


Ms. Kingston began her career as a bankruptcy attorney. She has appeared in front of many federal court judges and has helped numerous debtors obtain a fresh start. Ms. Kingston understands the complex federal rules for discharging debt. While working as a bankruptcy attorney, Ms... read more about Attorney Karra Kingston

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