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Kansas Bankruptcy

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In a Nutshell

If you are unable to afford a lawyer to help you with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas you can file without one, saving on legal fees. Additionally, your court filing fee can be waived as long as your income is below a certain amount and the court finds that you don't have enough money left over at the end of the month to pay the $338 court fee even after filing bankruptcy in Kansas.

Written by Attorney Andrea Wimmer.  
Updated October 9, 2021

If you are constantly worried about how to deal with an unexpected medical bill or car repair expense, or are in a situation where you have no money left to buy groceries after making all of your minimum payments, so you end up having to use your credit card yet again, then filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas may be the most responsible thing you can do for your family. No one who is faced with more debt than they can handle, whether that is due to a medical emergency, out of control interest rates, or a loss of income, is ever happy to consider bankruptcy as an option, but a most folks feel a great sense of relief just as soon as they take their first steps towards seeking the relief and protections offered by the bankruptcy laws. Although it may not feel like it, having to take advantage of the laws designed to help you in this very situation is not a failure. Life happens and your value to yourself, your family and your community is not determined by whether you can keep up with a system seemingly designed to ensure that you are in debt for as long as possible. This guide will provide you an overview of what the process of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas would look like for you.

How to File Bankruptcy in Kansas for Free

If you are unable to afford a lawyer to help you with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas you can file without one, saving on legal fees. Additionally, your court filing fee can be waived as long as your income is below a certain amount and the court finds that you don't have enough money left over at the end of the month to pay the $338 court fee even after filing bankruptcy in Kansas.

Collect Your Kansas Bankruptcy Documents

Filing bankruptcy in Kansas requires quite a bit of legwork before you ever go to court. The good news about this is that you can do everything on your own time as you are getting ready to file your case. The more organized you are, the more in control you will feel once your Kansas bankruptcy case has been filed with the court. Collecting your bankruptcy documents early in the process is the first step to getting organized. Everyone filing bankruptcy in Kansas has to provide a copy of their most recent federal income tax return to their trustee after the case is filed, so that should be the first document to find and put in your bankruptcy folder. Since your income from last year won't really be indicative of what you are currently earning, you also need the paycheck stubs you have received in the last 6 months. In order to make sure you are providing the court with accurate addresses for all of your creditors, it's a good idea get a copy of your credit report from each one of the three credit reporting agencies. You can request all of them online or by contacting the agencies directly.

Take Credit Counseling

When the Bankruptcy Code was last amended, Congress included a provision requiring everyone filing bankruptcy in Kansas or elsewhere in the United States take a credit counseling class. This class takes about 1 - 2 hours to complete and can be taken online, over the phone, or in person. The providers specifically approved for Kansas bankruptcy cases that have in-person options have locations in Salina and Wichita (Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Inc.) as well as Lawrence and Topeka (Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc.). As long as the company you are using to complete this course is authorized to offer it to folks filing bankruptcy in Kansas, it does not matter which method you choose. There is a small cost associated with the course, so make sure to shop around to find a method and price that works for you. Once you have completed the course, you will receive a certificate of completion. The certificate is valid for 180 days which is perfect in light of the fact that you have to complete the course in the six months before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas is filed.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

The bankruptcy forms are the documents everyone filing bankruptcy in Kansas has to submit to the court. If you are completing the forms on your own, you can get a full forms package for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas from the court's website. Each one of the forms can also be downloaded for free as a standalone fillable PDF file. This part of the process tends to be the most tedious and takes the longest. If you are eligible to use Upsolve for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas, we will prepare the forms for you based on the information you submit to us. If you hire a lawyer to help you, their office will prepare the forms. Regardless of how you complete the forms, you are the one that has to sign them before filing Chapter 7 in Kansas. That's why whether you are filling everything out yourself or with someone else's help, it's critically important to pay close attention to all of the questions and requests contained in the forms and, if you are doing it yourself, the form instructions. Ultimately, in your best interest to take your time and make sure all of the requested information is properly disclosed. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression on the court and if it looks like you are hiding something, or have been careless in the execution of your duties as a debtor, the court does have the authority to withhold your discharge, eliminating the primary benefit of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas.

Get Your Filing Fee

The fee to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas is $338. If at all possible, you should plan on having the full amount ready in the form of a money order by the time your bankruptcy forms are completed, and your credit counseling has been done. You can purchase a money order from any U.S. Post Office near you. The court will only grant an application to waive the fee if your monthly income is not enough to pay the fee in installments even after filing bankruptcy in Kansas. If you are in a position where you have to file quickly and can't wait until you've had the chance to save up the full amount, you can ask the court for permission to make payments on the fee after your Kansas bankruptcy case has been filed. This makes sense if your paychecks are being garnished because it allows you to get the protection of the Bankruptcy Court right away, thereby stopping the garnishment. However, missing just one of the payments can result in your case being thrown out by the court, so make sure that stopping the garnishment will free up enough money each payday to make the payments to the court.

If you are filing bankruptcy in Kansas without a lawyer ("pro se") you cannot use the court's electronic filing systems to submit your documents to the court. Instead, you have to provide everything on paper. If you hired a lawyer, they'll print out a copy of everything before filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas so you can review and sign all the required documents. If you are working with Upsolve, we'll send you a single file that you can print as-is. If you completed everything on your own, on the other hand, you will have to make sure you get all required documents printed and signed before submitting everything to the court. Unless you used the forms packet from the Kansas Bankruptcy Court, chances are you have everything saved on your computer as a separate file. In order to ensure that you are not accidentally duplicating one form and missing another one altogether, it's best to start by printing out a checklist listing all required forms first. Even though you are printing the documents for a legal purpose - filing bankruptcy in Kansas - don't worry about printing them on legal paper. All forms are designed to be printed on regular 8.5" x 11" paper, so any home or office printer will work.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

Even though you can technically file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas by submitting all your forms by mail, it is best to take the time to bring everything to the court in person. This is especially true if it is important to get your case filed by a certain date as you won't be able to fix any errors or omissions on the spot the same way you might be able to if you are at the courthouse in person. The Kansas Bankruptcy Court has locations in Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita and you can head to any one of them to file your Kansas bankruptcy documents. Make sure you have a valid picture ID with you when you head to the court, as it is required to gain entrance to the building. Once you have passed the security checkpoint at the entrance, make your way to the clerk's office as they are the ones that will assist you with filing bankruptcy in Kansas. If you printed a second copy of all your documents for your own records, you can bring it with you and get it stamped by the clerk once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas has officially been filed.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

The trustee is the person assigned by the court to handle your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas. As mentioned before, you have to provide a copy of your federal income tax return to the trustee at least 7 days before your 341 meeting. You will find out the name and contact information for your trustee, as well as the date set for your creditors' meeting shortly after filing Chapter 7 in Kansas when you receive the official notice from the court.

Since each one of the trustees operates independently, they all have a different system for doing their due diligence. That's why it is important to keep an eye out for a letter from your trustee after your Kansas bankruptcy has been filed, as they may request certain other information from you. Even though the trustee does not represent you, you both share a common goal: the orderly administration of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas. That is why it's important to carefully review any correspondence you receive from the trustee assigned to your case. Other documents they may request from you include recent paycheck stubs, bank statements, and documentation about your assets, such as copies of your vehicle titles or mortgage documents.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

In addition to adding the credit counseling requirement, Congress also added a requirement that everyone filing bankruptcy in Kansas take a debtor education course. This course can only be completed after your case has been filed. Instead of providing information about debt relief options, this course aims to educate people who are in a Kansas bankruptcy on how to responsibly manage their finances going forward. The idea is to set you up for the best possible financial future once you obtain your discharge. That is why you won't be eligible to have your discharge entered unless and until to complete the course. While there is no hard deadline take the course, if you haven't done so by the time the discharge is supposed to be entered, the court may close your case instead. The same companies that offer the prefiling course in-person also offer this financial management course in person. However, as before, you are also able to complete the course online or by phone. Once done, find out whether your provider will file a certificate of completion with the court in your Kansas bankruptcy case; if not, make sure you file this certification instead as that is the only way the court will know that you completed the course.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The 341 meeting, or creditors' meeting as it is also called, is the one time everyone filing Chapter 7 in Kansas has to go to court. The primary purpose of this meeting is for the trustee that is handling your case to ask you certain questions in person and while you are under oath. This is also the time the trustee verifies that your name and social security number match the name and social security number on your bankruptcy documents. That's why it's important to make sure that you have two acceptable forms of identification when you go to your creditors' meeting. The meeting is called a creditors' meeting because technically your creditors may attend and ask you questions while you are under oath as well, but that rarely happens. The typical 341 meeting for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas takes less than 10 minutes, including the ID check and the administration of the oath. If you are nervous, worried or stressed about the meeting, you shouldn't be. It's easy enough to prepare for the meeting and as long as you remember to take a deep breath and answer truthfully it will be over before you know it. Most people who file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas walk away from the meeting surprised by how truly painless it was.

Dealing with Your Car

If you have a car loan you are still paying on when you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas, your car will play two distinct roles in your case. First regardless of whether you owe money on it, your vehicle is an asset you own. The loan that is associated with your car is a secured debt. How you deal with the debt is up to you. You can either walk away completely and surrender the vehicle to the creditor. Your Kansas bankruptcy enables you to do that and your discharge protects you from having to pay the balance left on the loan. There is, of course, a couple of ways to deal with the loan that will allow you to keep the car instead. One such option utilized by a lot of people filing Chapter 7 in Kansas is entering into a reaffirmation agreement with the bank. This prevents your personal liability on the car loan from being discharged, but as long as you continue to make the payments as set forth in the reaffirmation agreement (the terms typically track the terms of the original loan, though every now and then a lender may agree to modify the terms in your favor as part of the reaffirmation process) you get to keep the car. Once the loan is paid off, you will own the vehicle free and clear as though you never filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas.

Kansas Bankruptcy Means Test

You are only eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas if you pass the Kansas bankruptcy means test. First, your income in the 6 months prior to filing your Kansas bankruptcy case is compared to the median household income for a household of your size. If you exceed the income limits, you may only file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas if part two of the Kansas means test for bankruptcy determines that you are unable to pay even a portion of your debts as part of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Data on Median income levels for Kansas

Kansas Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income

Data on Poverty levels for Kansas

Kansas Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021

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

Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)

Kansas Bankruptcy Forms

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms you will use for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas are a combination of the national forms used across the entire United States and the Kansas bankruptcy forms used only in the Sunflower State. When your Kansas bankruptcy is filed with the court, you will have to use this Kansas bankruptcy form to disclose the income you earned in the 60 days prior to filing your case. All of the Kansas Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms can be downloaded for free from the form section of court's website.

District of Kansas Requirements

If you plan on filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas without a lawyer ("pro se"), you should carefully review the court's Pro Se Debtor Handout to learn all the specific requirements imposed by the Kansas bankruptcy laws and procedures. It is also important to note that the court will not allow you to bring your cell phone into the courthouse. Whether you are at the courthouse to file your Kansas bankruptcy case, attend your 341 meeting, or for any other reason, you will have to return your phone to your car or leave it with building security on your way in.

Kansas Bankruptcy Exemptions

If you have lived in the Sunflower State for at least two years at the time your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas is filed, you are required to use the Kansas bankruptcy exemptions to protect your assets. Kansas has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions, other than the protections the federal bankruptcy exemptions provide for a debtor's right to receive certain benefits, such as social security benefits, a veterans' benefit and more. If you file a Kansas bankruptcy case but you haven't lived in the state for two years, you have to look to the laws of the state you lived in 2 - 2.5 years before your case is filed with the court to determine which exemptions are proper for you.

Kansas Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

Since exemption laws can be difficult to navigate at times, hiring a lawyer for your Kansas bankruptcy case can be a good investment. The only way to find out how much your bankruptcy case would cost is talking to a lawyer in your area, but generally speaking the average cost of a bankruptcy lawyer to handle a standard Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas is $1,050.

  • Attorney cost estimate: $800 – $1,300

Not everyone who needs the help of a lawyer for their Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas can afford to hire one. If your income is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, you may qualify for free legal assistance through one of the Kansas legal aid organizations listed below.

Kansas Legal Services, Inc.
(785) 233-2068
712 South Kansas Avenue, Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66603

Nationwide Service (NYC Office)

Kansas Court Locations

Frank Carlson Federal Building and United States Courthouse

Frank Carlson Federal Building and United States Courthouse
444 Southeast Quincy Street Topeka, KS 66683

Robert J. Dole United States Courthouse

Robert J. Dole United States Courthouse
500 State Avenue Kansas City, KS 66101

Kansas Judges

Kansas Bankruptcy Judges
DistrictJudge Name
District of KansasHon. Dale L. Somers
District of KansasHon. Robert E. Nugent
District of KansasHon. Robert D. Berger

Kansas Trustees

Kansas Trustees
TrusteeContact Info
Robert L. Baer
(785) 730-8542
Patricia E. Hamilton
(785) 408-8000
J. Michael Morris
Linda S. Parks
Steven R. Rebein
Christopher J. Redmondchristopher.redmond@christopherredmondlawfirm.com
(913) 312-5675
Darcy D. Williamson
(785) 233-9908

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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