Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 29, 2020
While the economy of Kansas City is growing quickly, the growth rate is unstable. People in Kansas City file bankruptcy for several reasons, such as job loss, medical bills, divorce, and high credit card debt, etc. Divorce is one of the main reasons why people file for bankruptcy, and some cities in Kansas have a high divorce rate of nearly 19%. Bankruptcy is a legal procedure where a person tells a judge they can’t pay their debts. You declare bankruptcy to tell the Court that you don’t have the means to repay your debt and need protection from your creditors. There are different types of bankruptcy proceedings. However, the most common types, for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 proceedings. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City means you will keep most of your assets as they are protected—with a few exceptions. Usually, remaining unpaid debt is wiped out. Chapter 13 means that you agree on a plan to repay all or some of your debts over three to five years. The amount that you will have to pay depends on your income, how much debt you owe, and what your goals are.
Wondering what type is better for you? Most people consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City if they have little to no disposable income. In contrast, those who own property that they want to keep, consider Chapter 13. Bankruptcy often comes with many negative myths and misconceptions. Let’s discuss some of them. A common misconception in Kansas City bankruptcy cases is that people think they would end up losing all their assets if they file for bankruptcy. Another myth that people have is that bankruptcy will ruin their financial future. Neither one of those things are true Some people believe that they need money to pay a bankruptcy lawyer just to find out about bankruptcy protection. In fact, you can get free legal help and, if you can’t afford an attorney, file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City on your own (“pro se”).
Kansas City Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
While you can act as your own lawyer when it comes to filing bankruptcy in Kansas City, depending on your circumstances you may be better off hiring an experienced and competent bankruptcy lawyer if your case is complex. A lawyer can help you fill out all the paperwork and gather all the necessary documents. They will also answer your questions about filing bankruptcy in Kansas City to put you at ease. The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Kansas City varies from $800 to $1,300, but many attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Hiring an attorney is a good investment if your case is complex.
How to File Bankruptcy in Kansas City, Kansas for Free
Are you looking to file bankruptcy in Kansas City, but don’t have the financial resources to hire a bankruptcy lawyer? Wondering how to file bankruptcy in Kansas City? This City Guide will help you through the process so that you can get debt-free as soon as possible. Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to financial stability.
Collect Your Kansas City Bankruptcy Documents
Take your time to collect all the relevant documents to support the story you’ll have to tell in your bankruptcy forms. Kansas City bankruptcy documents include your bank statements, paycheck stubs, student loan records, your tax returns, home and car valuations, and credit card bills. These documents will reflect your true financial situation. Some additional documents that you will need are copies of your 401k or pension statement, your personal identification, your life insurance policy, and your original social security card. Being organized will help you in completing your bankruptcy forms efficiently. If you plan to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City and are considering hiring an attorney, bring copies of your Kansas City bankruptcy documents to the initial consultation. Doing so will not only help your lawyer assess your case but showing up prepared will also make you a more desirable client.
Take Credit Counseling
Filing bankruptcy in Kansas requires you to participate in a credit counseling session. This course costs between $10 to $50. You can complete it quickly within ninety minutes either over the phone or online. You can easily find a comprehensive list of all approved credit counseling agencies for Kansas City bankruptcy cases on the U.S. Trustee’s website. Some notable creditor counselors in Kansas are Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. and Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Inc., though unfortunately neither of them have a Kansas City location. After completion, you will get a certificate proving that you have taken the course. This certificate will be submitted to the Court along with the rest of your bankruptcy forms. It’s one of two credit counseling courses that will need to take to complete your Kansas City bankruptcy.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Once you’ve decided that filing bankruptcy in Kansas City is your best option, you should get started on your bankruptcy forms. To file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City, you’ll have to complete several forms. These forms describe your current financial status as well as recent financial transactions. Some of the forms are as follows:
A bankruptcy petition to cover the highlights, such as who you are, where you live, and what type of bankruptcy you’re filing
Schedules and statements asking for in-depth information about your financial situation
A form for something called the “means test”
Get the officialCourt forms to make sure your bankruptcy proceedings go smoothly, without any delay. If your judge or creditors feel or find out that you’ve not been accurate or entirely forthcoming in your bankruptcy filing, it may jeopardize your case. Some of the mistakes that people make when filing bankruptcy in Kansas City is not filling the forms correctly. For example, a common mistake that people make on the Means Test is that they list child support they don’t actually receive, making it look like they make more money than they actually do.
Get Your Filing Fee
You will have to pay a filing fee when filing your paperwork with the Bankruptcy Court unless you are eligible for a fee waiver. Note that there are several fees that you will pay when you are filing bankruptcy in Kansas City.
For filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City, you will have to pay:
Combined, this means that the cost to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City is $335. In case the Court waives your fee, you don’t need to pay it when filing bankruptcy in Kansas City. However, to qualify for a fee waiver, you have to meet the following conditions:
Your income has to be below 150 percent of the poverty line
You have to be unable to pay the $335 in installments after filing bankruptcy in Kansas City
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
After completing your forms, the next important step is to print out the forms so you can file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City. It’s essential to ensure that all the information you have provided is complete, accurate, and up to date when filing bankruptcy in Kansas City. A checklist can help you organize things since there are many different forms. It’s recommended that you print out an extra set of the bankruptcy forms for yourself, so you can have with you at the 341 meeting and keep for your records. Printing everything at the same time means you know you have the same information in your version as the version that you provided to the Court for your Kansas bankruptcy.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Filing bankruptcy in Kansas City takes careful preparation as well as an understanding of legal issues. Any misunderstandings of the law or mistakes in the filing process can affect your rights. Remember that bankruptcy judges and Court employees are prohibited by law from providing legal advice. Finding the right Court is important, so make sure you head to the Robert J. Dole United States Courthouse to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City. Also, when you’re going to the Court, keep in mind that you will need to pass through security on your way in and this can take some time, so plan accordingly. If you moved within the past 180 days, the right place to file your bankruptcy forms is the location where you lived for the most part of the 180 days. However, as Kansas is a single district this only applies if you moved from out of state.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City, the Court will appoint a bankruptcy Trustee to oversee and administer your case. Note that the Chapter 7 bankruptcy Trustee is charged with many responsibilities, such as ensuring that all your paperwork is accurate. For example, if you state that you earn $4,000 per month in your bankruptcy papers, your Trustee will compare it to your paycheck stubs to make sure the figure is accurate. You will have to send your bankruptcy Trustee documents that will substantiate the information you have provided to the Court when filing bankruptcy in Kansas City, such as pay stubs, and tax returns.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
You’ll have to complete another step to get that magic piece of paper known as the discharge. Wondering what that is? You will have to complete a course in financial management. This course is intended to teach people who filed bankruptcy in Kansas City tools to manage their finances responsibly. The purpose of the course is to empower folks who had to seek relief by filing bankruptcy in Kansas City to better manage their finances so they can truly take advantage of the fresh start the discharge grants them. There are a couple of approved debtor education providers in Kansas though none of them have an office in Kansas City, so most people filing bankruptcy in Kansas City take this course online or over the phone. You have to complete this course within 60 days after the 341 meeting and file a certificate of completion with the Court or your discharge won’t be entered.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
After you have filed your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City, a 341 meeting (also known as a Meeting of Creditors) will be scheduled, and your case will be randomly assigned to a local judge and a Trustee. The 341 meeting will be held about one month after filing your bankruptcy. The Trustee’s job is to manage the case and determine if there are any assets to sell in order to pay creditors. The primary purpose of the 341 meeting is to offer an opportunity for the Trustee and your creditors to openly question you under oath about your Kansas bankruptcy case, including the petition, schedules, and statements you submitted to the Court. It’s a good idea to arrive fifteen minutes early to the 341 meeting. This may also give you a chance to hear what kinds of questions are being asked by watching someone else’s case. Make sure you are well prepared for this meeting by reviewing your bankruptcy forms and supporting documents beforehand and remember to bring your picture ID and original security card.
Dealing with Your Car
In most cases, you won’t lose your car during your Kansas bankruptcy case, provided your equity (market value of vehicle minus any debt associated with the vehicle) in the vehicle is fully exempt. Through the Kansas motor vehicle exemption, you could keep your car, van, truck, or other vehicle with a value (or equity) of up to $20,000 even after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas City. It’s one of the most generous exemptions in the country. The good news for couples is that Kansas allows married couples to double the exemption, which means you can protect up to $40,000 worth of equity in your vehicle with your spouse. Although the Kansas exemption laws help protect your vehicle from the bankruptcy Trustee, note that it doesn’t protectyour vehicle from a lien creditor. This is the bank that you are paying for your car loan. If you have a car with outstanding debt, you can keep the car by “reaffirming” the car debt and continuing to make payments on it, or, if the loan is unaffordable for your budget, surrender the car and discharge your obligation to pay the loan.
Kansas Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Kansas City
Kansas Means Test
If your income is more than the Kansas median household income for a household of the same size, then you will have to complete the Kansas Means Test calculation. The purpose of the Kansas bankruptcy Means Test is to ensure that people who make enough money to pay at least some of their debts don’t abuse the system. Find out about the Chapter 7 income limits to make sure you are eligible for filing bankruptcy in Kansas City.
Median Income Levels for Kansas
Kansas Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for Kansas
Kansas Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
|Household Size||State Poverty Level||Fee Waiver Limit (150% PL)|
Kansas Bankruptcy Forms
The Kansas bankruptcy forms comprise official national forms and a few local forms that are created specifically for use within the Kansas bankruptcy district. You will have to complete these forms when filing bankruptcy in Kansas City. Some of these Kansas bankruptcy forms are complicated as there are dozens of decisions you will need to make when completing them, but taking your time and carefully reading the instructions will help.
The Kansas bankruptcy exemptions determine the property, such as a car, you can protect from creditors when you are filing bankruptcy in Kansas. Many bankruptcy filers in Kansas City keep everything they own; however, that is not always the case. If you are married and file together in a joint bankruptcy, then you can double most of the exemption amounts, provided both spouses have an ownership stake in the property. In Kansas, you have to use Kansas bankruptcy exemptions to protect your property and can’t use the federal bankruptcy exemptions if you’ve lived in the state for at least 2 years when your Kansas bankruptcy is filed with the Court.