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Idaho Bankruptcy

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In a Nutshell

The most expensive part of filing bankruptcy in Idaho is typically lawyer's fees with the court filing fee being a close second. If your you income is below a certain threshold which makes paying the court filing fee impossible, you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho for free with no (or a free) lawyer and by asking the court to waive your court filing fee.

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer.  
Updated October 9, 2021

Did you know that the gemstone known as the star garnet is abundant in only two places in the world, Idaho and … India? Maybe. But did you also know that 3,245 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases were filed in Idaho in just 2018? That is one out of roughly every 400 adults in the state. And by the way things seem to be going with stagnant wages and rising prices, filings are on track to reach the same levels in 2019. This does not mean that Idahoans are failing, not by a long shot. It does mean, however, that you are not alone in trying to figure out how to make ends meet after an unexpected expense takes all your reserves. If you are at a point where having only one more thing "go wrong" could put you out on the street, you are doing the right thing by reading up on your bankruptcy options. The federal and Idaho bankruptcy laws exist to give honest but unfortunate people much needed relief from their creditors. If you are having to choose between paying a credit card bill and buying diapers, only to end up paying the credit card bill, then using the same card to buy the diapers, you are not doing yourself or your family any favors by keeping your head in the sand about the seriousness of the situation you are in. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Iowa can help you. This guide explains what you have to do and has links to a lot of worthwhile resources with additional information about what it all means.

How to File Bankruptcy in Idaho for Free

The most expensive part of filing bankruptcy in Idaho is typically lawyer's fees with the court filing fee being a close second. If your you income is below a certain threshold which makes paying the court filing fee impossible, you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho for free with no (or a free) lawyer and by asking the court to waive your court filing fee.

Collect Your Idaho Bankruptcy Documents

One of the requirements of filing bankruptcy in Idaho is a full and complete disclosure of all the information requested in the official bankruptcy forms. Since no one has all of this information in their head, the first step as you are starting this process is to collect the kind of documents that will make this easier for you. The more organized you are as you collect your documents, the more efficient you can be when it's time to plug your information into the forms. One of the documents filed in every Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho is a schedule of your living expenses. Having your check register and recent bank statements on hand will make figuring this out much easier if you don't already have a budget you follow. You will need every paycheck stub you have received in the last 6 months to confirm that you are eligible to file for relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Finally, one of the most important things when filing bankruptcy in Idaho is providing a notice of the filing to all of your creditors. Since the court has to rely on you to provide up to date mailing addresses for all of your creditors, you should obtain a copy of your credit report. Everyone is entitled to a free copy every 12 months, and you can request them online or through one of these methods.

Take Credit Counseling

Filing Chapter 7 in Idaho is only one of the options available if you are in financial distress. In order to make sure that folks considering bankruptcy know what their options are before filing their case, the Bankruptcy Code requires everyone take a credit counseling class in the 6 months before actually going to court to commence their Idaho bankruptcy. If you do not complete this course, you cannot be a debtor in bankruptcy. It's as simple as that. The good news is that the course itself only takes between 1 to 2 hours and you can take it online or by phone, from the comfort of your home and on your schedule. If you prefer to complete this requirement by taking the course in person, you will have to travel to Boise, as that is where Debt Reductions Services, Inc., the only approved provider offering this course in person, is located. The cost of the course varies between companies, though you should not have to pay more than $50. To find out which company will work best for you in terms of their course offerings and the costs associated with completing the course, check out this list of all companies approved to offer the course for Idaho bankruptcy cases.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

This is where all of the hard work you have put in getting yourself organized will pay off. The bankruptcy forms are exactly what they sound like, the specific forms everyone filing bankruptcy in Idaho or elsewhere in the United States has to complete and submit to the Bankruptcy Court. If you hire a lawyer, you'll probably be asked to fill out some kind of questionnaire, designed to elicit the information needed for your bankruptcy forms, that the lawyer uses along with your bankruptcy documents to prepare everything for your review and signature. All of the forms are available for free online, as is a detailed 49-page instruction manual. If you don't have a lawyer, you should check whether you are eligible to have Upsolve help you with this process. Regardless of how you do it, you will be signing everything that gets filed in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho under oath and penalty of perjury, so it is your responsibility to make sure that all of the information is accurate and complete. If you are unsure about whether something is important enough to include, include it. Full disclosure is the only way to get and keep the protections afforded to you by the Bankruptcy Code.

Get Your Filing Fee

The court filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho is $338. It may seem odd to you that the court charges a fee from people who are literally declaring bankruptcy, but keep in mind, everyone's case is different. Filing bankruptcy in Idaho provides relief to people who are unable to pay all of their debts as they come due; that does not mean the same thing for everyone. If you have the ability to pay this fee, you should purchase a money order from a U.S. Post Office near you, as the court may not accept cash. You will only be able to ask the court to waive this fee if your income is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. If you do not qualify, but can't wait to file your case until you've come up with the full fee, you should prepare this application to pay the court filing fee in installments and take it with you to file along with all of your other bankruptcy documents. This will give you up to 4 months to pay the fee according to a payment schedule set by the court.

You should wait to print all of the forms for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho until have completed your credit counseling class and collected the full filing fee, or prepared the appropriate application to waive the fee or pay it in installments, as some of the information contained in the forms is time sensitive. If you do not have a printer at home, you can get everything printed at a local print shop, or check if your local library offers any print services. If you are not working with Upsolve for this process, make sure you give yourself enough time to get everything printed as it can be confusing to keep track of all the different forms, especially considering that the all kind of look alike. (Upsolve users are given a single PDF document to print "as is" thereby reducing the chance of missing any part of the documents required when filing Chapter 7 in Idaho.) The good news is that the court does not require the forms to be in any specific format; any printer that can print 8.5" x 11" documents will do the trick. Even though it may be tempting, don’t staple any of the forms together and don’t print on both sides of the paper as the court will not accept that.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

If you are filing bankruptcy in Idaho without a lawyer ("pro se"), you can file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case by either mailing everything to the court or by going to the court to personally hand in your documents. Since mailing everything can result in a delay, it is better to go to the court to handle this in person. This way, if there are any issues with your paperwork, you will know right away; you may even be able to fix whatever needs fixing right then and there. There are three locations to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho: Boise, Coeur d'Alene, and Pocatello. You can file your documents at any one of the locations, but the county you live in will determine which division your case will be assigned to. When you get to the courthouse you will be required to pass through building security, so make sure you leave anything that might make the Federal Marshals nervous at home. The clerk's office is open to the public from 9 AM to 4 PM every day and tends to be busiest towards the end of the day. If you want to avoid standing in line with everyone else filing bankruptcy in Idaho without a lawyer that day, try to avoid going there at the end of the day, if you can.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

After your bankruptcy petition is filed, the court assigns a trustee to administer, or handle, it. The trustee's job is to make sure you are following all applicable Idaho bankruptcy laws, review and verify the information disclosed in your bankruptcy forms, and sell nonexempt (unprotected) assets for the benefit of your creditors. If you don't have anything the law allows your trustee to sell, they notify the court that nothing will be distributed to your creditors and that your case is ready to be closed once your discharge has been entered. Everyone filing Chapter 7 in Idaho must provide a copy of their most recent income tax return to their trustee at least 1 week before the date of their creditors' meeting. Since each one of the trustees handling Idaho bankruptcy cases operates independently, they each have a slightly different process for processing their cases. Because of that, you may receive a letter from your trustee asking you to send in some other documents along with your tax return. If you do, make sure to follow the instructions in the letter carefully and submit everything timely. Part of your duties as a debtor in Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho is cooperating with the trustee.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

Now that your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho has been filed and you are headed towards your discharge, you are ready to take bankruptcy course 2. In fact, you can't actually take this course until after you've filed your case. Instead of debt relief options, this course is intended to teach folks filing bankruptcy in Idaho ways to create a budget that makes sense for their families and responsibly manage their finances going forward. Everyone filing Chapter 7 in Idaho must takes this course or their discharge will not be entered by the court. Instead, the court will simply close your case once the trustee has completed their work, without ever granting you a discharge, the primary goal of every Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho. As before, you must take this course from a provider that has been approved to offer it in your state. Once done, don't forget to find out whether they will file your certificate of completion with the court. If not, make sure to complete and file this certification with the court instead, as the judge won't know that you have in fact complied with this requirement otherwise.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

Attending the 341 meeting, or creditors' meeting, is the final requirement that everyone filing Chapter 7 in Idaho has to complete in order to get their discharge. Other things that require you to act may happen later on in the case, but what that is depends entirely on your specific circumstances. The meeting is scheduled by the court to take place between 20 and 40 days after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho has been filed with the court. Approximately 5 to 6 cases are scheduled for the same time slot as yours, so you will see other people in the meeting room with you. This is nothing to be worried about, though, as everyone is there for the same reason. Once your case is called, your trustee will check your picture ID and acceptable proof of social security number, then put you under oath to ask you a few questions. The trustees ask everyone filing Chapter 7 in Idaho the same standard questions about their paperwork, but if there is anything unusual about your case, they may ask you about that as well. Creditors may appear and ask you questions, too, though that rarely happens. As long as you review your copy of the bankruptcy forms you submitted to the court when you filed your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho and prepare a little bit beforehand, the 341 meeting will be over before you realize it's started.

Dealing with Your Car

One of the least recognized benefits of filing bankruptcy in Idaho is the fact that it gives you a number of options on how to deal with your car. If you have a car with a loan outside of bankruptcy, the only option you have is to pay it off or trade it in and end up with an even bigger loan. You can't just give the vehicle back to get out of having to pay the loan. After filing Chapter 7 in Idaho, you will get to choose what you want to do with your car. If you like the car, and the loan works for you, you can enter into a reaffirmation agreement to keep everything basically as it was before. If you like the car, but the balance left on the loan is much higher than what it's actually worth, you can buy the car for its actual value and discharge what's left on the loan through a process called redemption. If none of that makes sense, you can also just surrender the car to the creditor and walk away from it all, knowing your liability on the loan is being discharged as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho.

Idaho Bankruptcy Means Test

Since filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho grants such wide-ranging relief, only folks who pass the Idaho means test for bankruptcy are eligible for it. Initially, this means comparing your household income to the median income of a similar household. If your income exceeds the limit, you must complete the second part of the Idaho bankruptcy means test, to show that you do not have enough disposable income to pay your creditors even a portion of what you owe them. If so, you qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho.

Data on Median income levels for Idaho

Idaho Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2022
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income

Data on Poverty levels for Idaho

Idaho Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2022

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

Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)

Idaho Bankruptcy Forms

The Idaho Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms are comprised of the official national forms and some local forms created by the court. All of the documents required for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho, along with detailed instructions, have been bundled and made available as a single downloadable file on the court's website. Each one of the forms can also be downloaded individually.

District of Idaho Requirements

Every individual filing an Idaho bankruptcy case must file a separate "Statement of Domestic Support Obligation" in addition to all of the other forms and documents. The court has created a local form for this purpose. Additionally, if you did not receive any paycheck stubs in the 60 days before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho was filed, you have to file a separate document with the court stating as much and explaining why you did not receive any. A copy of this statement must be provided to both your case trustee, and the office of the local U.S. Trustee.

Idaho Bankruptcy Exemptions

Everything you own when you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho is considered an asset in your case. Exemption laws determine which of these assets your trustee is able to sell for the benefit of your creditors. While some states use the federal bankruptcy exemptions, Idaho requires everyone to use the Idaho bankruptcy exemptions instead. However, if you had not lived in the state for at least 2 years when your Idaho bankruptcy was filed, you may not use the Idaho bankruptcy exemptions and must instead follow the exemption laws of whichever state you lived in 2 - 2.5 years ago.

Idaho Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer representing debtors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Idaho ranges, on average, from $800 to $1500. Depending on how well your assets align with the available exemptions, even the high end of this range could be money well spent.

  • Attorney cost estimate: $800 – $1,500

Not everyone who needs a lawyer can afford one. If you need a lawyer for your Idaho bankruptcy matter, but don't have the ability to pay for one, contact one of the Idaho legal aid organizations in your area. Even if they can't take your case for some reason, they may be able to refer you to another organization providing legal aid in Idaho.

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.
(208) 336-8980
1447 S. Tyrell Lane, Boise, ID 83706-4044

Nationwide Service (NYC Office)

Idaho Court Locations

James A. McClure Federal Building and United States Courthouse

James A. McClure Federal Building and United States Courthouse
550 West Fort Street Boise, ID 83724

Idaho Judges

Idaho Bankruptcy Judges
DistrictJudge Name
District of IdahoHon. Terry L. Myers
District of IdahoHon. Joseph M. Meier
District of IdahoHon. Jim D. Pappas

Idaho Trustees

Idaho Trustees
TrusteeContact Info
J. Ford Elsaesserdocuments@eaidaho.com
(208) 263-8871
David P. Gardnerdpg@winstoncashatt.com
(509) 838-6131
Noah G. Hillenngh@hillenlaw.com
(208) 297-5774
R. Samuel Hopkinssamhopkins@cableone.net
Gary L. Rainsdontrustee@filertel.com

Written By:

Attorney Andrea Wimmer


Andrea practiced exclusively as a bankruptcy attorney in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases for more than 10 years before joining Upsolve, first as a contributing writer and editor and ultimately joining the team as Managing Editor. While in private practice, Andrea handled... read more about Attorney Andrea Wimmer

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