Filing Bankruptcy in Covington, Kentucky

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Written by the Upsolve Team.  
Updated August 1, 2019

Unlike the recent events that drew a lot of unwanted attention to Covington in the media , Upsolve is attempting to shine a spotlight on the plight of individuals in Covington who can no longer afford to make ends meet. If you live in Covington and are living paycheck to paycheck, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington can provide you with a financial safe haven, and eventually, a fresh start. The modern day bankruptcy system was enacted in 1898 in order to allow everyday Americans, and not just companies, to file for bankruptcy protection. Since 1898, thousands of Americans have taken advantage of the bankruptcy protections available under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the modern day Bankruptcy Code to clear medical, credit card, and pay day loan debt, to name just a few. And since 2016, Upsolve has been at the forefront of that effort to give more Americans access to this relief. On average, our users clear $47,595 of debt when they successfully complete their Chapter 7 bankruptcy. And if you qualify for our service, you can too! A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington immediately puts a halt to collection activity by any of your creditors. This means they can no longer call you at home or work, send you threatening letters, try to repossess your car, or even sue you in Court, while your case is pending. If you complete your bankruptcy, you will be granted a discharge, which legally eliminates all of your dischargeable debt. You and your family get a fresh start! From that point on, you can slowly rebuild your credit. Even if you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington, there is another type of bankruptcy available to you, called Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 also eliminates your debt. However, a Chapter 13 does this by reducing and consolidating your debt into one monthly payment. This is known as a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Through this plan, individuals in Chapter 13 pay off as much of their debt as they can given their financial circumstances in three to five years. 

Covington Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost

To hire an attorney to represent you in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington costs between $1,100 and $1,200. If the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer is more than you can afford, those who qualify, can file bankruptcy in Covington with Upsolve for free! And another alternative for those who can't afford to hire an attorney, is free legal aid. Legal aid organizations provide low cost or free legal services to low income individuals and the elderly. In Covington, Legal Aid of the Blue Grass provides services to low income families with children. These services include assistance with Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy matters. So, whether it’s the personal, professional, assistance of an attorney; the free, or low cost service of legal aid; or the technology and expertise of Upsolve, help is available to assist you with filing bankruptcy in Covington.

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How to File Bankruptcy in Covington, Kentucky for Free

As a government supported nonprofit, with a mission to help low-income Americans in financial distress get a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy at no cost, Upsolve can’t help everyone we would like to see get a fresh start. But whether you qualify for our assistance or not, this guide will give you a step-by-step road map to filing your own Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington. From collecting the necessary documents, to preparing to meet with your court-appointed Trustee, this guide will demystify and unveil the entire Chapter 7 bankruptcy process for you to follow. In addition, we have included some helpful links in each section that will either direct you to sources where you can obtain more information on the process of filing bankruptcy in Covington, or obtain the forms needed to complete that step. Our goal at Upsolve is to clear a path for you, through your financial problems and debt, to get the Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief you are entitled to!


Collect Your Covington Bankruptcy Documents

You will need certain documents to file bankruptcy in Covington. These documents will be used to fill out the forms in your Covington bankruptcy petition. Some of them, like your pay stubs, will also be used by your Trustee to verify the information you have provided in your bankruptcy case. You will need your financial documents and your bills. Financial documents include, pay stubs, tax returns, a W-2 and bank statements. Typically, you will be required to produce at least 60 days’ worth of pay stubs, six months of bank statements, your most recent W-2 and your last two years of tax returns. The bills you should get together include credit card statements, car notes, medical bills, collection notices, pay day loans, charged off bank accounts, monthly subscriptions, grocery bills, cable bills, phone bills, and anything else you pay on a regular basis. After your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington has been filed, you may also need other financial documents such as insurance policies, 401k and pension statements, the certificate of title to your car, and the deed to your home.

Take Credit Counseling

Having to file bankruptcy in Covington doesn’t mean that you have done something wrong with your finances, or somehow failed. Sometimes, unexpected emergencies, a lay-off, a natural disaster, illness, or divorce are the cause of an overwhelming financial crisis. Whatever the reason, before filing bankruptcy in Covington you are required to complete a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course. This course will help you assess your current financial situation, help you determine your current net worth, and discuss alternatives to bankruptcy. Once you have completed the course, you will be given a certificate of completion. You must file this certificate with the Court when you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington. The cost of the course can range from as little as $10 to as much as $50. Most courses don’t last much longer than sixty minutes. In the Covington area, A Debt Coach Credit Counseling Service offers pre-bankruptcy credit counseling for $30 for an individual and $35 for couples. They are located at 71 Cavalier Boulevard, Suite 224 in nearby Florence, a short, thirteen minute drive from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport. If you live in the downtown area, there are several other credit counseling agencies in the City of Cincinnati just across the Roebling Bridge that may also be able to help you. The agency you choose doesn’t have to be located in Covington as long as it’s approved to offer the course to folks filing bankruptcy in Covington. To locate more credit counseling agencies approved to offer pre-bankruptcy counseling in Kentucky check this list published by the Office of the United States Trustee.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

One of the reasons Upsolve recommends obtaining your pre-bankruptcy credit counseling before starting on yourbankruptcy forms is because much of the information you provide to the credit counseling agency, you have to provide again in your forms. Just like the course, you will have to provide information on your income, your expenses, the property you own and the people you owe. A majority of the forms are not necessarily meant to determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington, instead they are used to convey your financial situation to the Court and your Trustee. Almost all of the information requested in the forms needed when filing bankruptcy in Covington is self-explanatory, such as who do you owe? How much do you owe them? What type of debt is it? You’ll have to disclose if you are being sued by anyone. If you are suing someone. If you are being evicted or foreclosed on. You must answer all of these questions and provide all the requested information for each question. When you have completed all of this information, you will be asked to sign the bankruptcy forms in several places to attest to the truth and the accuracy of the information you provided. 

Get Your Filing Fee

The current fee to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington is $335. This fee is paid directly to the Court at the time you file your bankruptcy. Personal checks are not accepted, and cashier’s checks and money orders should be made payable to “Clerk, US Bankruptcy Court.” If you can’t afford to pay the filing fee in one lump sum, you canrequest to pay the filing fee in installments. You must complete the request and provide it to the Court with the date and the amount of each installment you would like to make. You can’t ask for more than four payments and you can’t extend the payments beyond 120 days from when you your Kentucky bankruptcy case is filed with the Court. You don’t have to ask for four payments; if you can pay the filing fee in two or three installments, you are free to do so. If you can’t afford to pay the filing fee at all, you canrequest a fee waiver from the Court. You must earn less than 150% of the poverty level and be totally unable to pay the fee in installments to be granted a fee waiver.

You must print your Covington bankruptcy forms in order to file them with the Court. You should either print and sign the original and then make one copy, or just print everything twice, so you have a copy to keep for yourself. Depending on how many creditors you have, the forms you submit to the Court when filing bankruptcy in Covington could be anywhere from 60 to 100 pages. Every page must be printed on one side and the entire petition must be kept in order so make sure not to get the pages mixed up as they come out of the printer. If you don’t have a home printer, or your printer doesn’t have a collator to keep the pages in order while printing two copies, consider printing your bankruptcy forms at the library.The Kenton County Public Library offers printing for $0.10 per page, and it’s open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The library is located on 502 Scott Blvd. Covington, KY 41011, a mere five minute walk from the Madison Theater.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky is located at 35 West 5th Street, Suite 306 in Covington. You must file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington there. The Court’s public counter is open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Bring your original, signed Covington bankruptcy forms, your filing fee, installment request or fee waiver request, your Certificate of Credit Counseling, and your driver’s license, state identification card or passport. Dress appropriately. Wireless devices are not allowed in the courthouse. If you are using Uber or a similar ride sharing service make sure you tell the driver you are going to the Covington location, as there is a similar address in Cincinnati located right across the Roebling Bridge. The Court is a three minute drive from the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

When you file your Covington bankruptcy petition with the Court, the bankruptcy clerk will upload an electronic copy of your bankruptcy forms to a federal database known as PACER. Once your petition has been uploaded to PACER, your court-appointed Trustee and any creditors listed in your schedules may access the forms you filed for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington through PACER. A Trustee is an individual, usually an attorney or certified public accountant, assigned by the Court to handle your Kentucky bankruptcy and conduct the creditors’ meeting. Before the creditors’ meeting, you must mail your Trustee a copy of your last two pay stubs, last six months bank statements and most recent tax return. You must mail these documents early enough so the Trustee receives them at least one week before the scheduled creditors’ meeting. You don’t need to mail the Trustee a copy of your bankruptcy forms. And you don’t need to mail any documents to your creditors. You will receive Form 309a, the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, from the Court shortly after filing bankruptcy in Covington. This form will provide you with the name, address and telephone number of your Trustee, as well as the date, place and time of your creditors’ meeting. Although it is not required, it’s a good idea to call your Trustee if you don’t hear from them within a couple of weeks of filing bankruptcy in Covington and ask if they need any other documents from you.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

The second bankruptcy course you are required to take before you will be given a discharge in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington is known as the Debtor Education course or Post-Petition Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Course. Unlike the first course, which gave you a broad picture of your financial situation, the second course is intended to provide you with two to three hours of in-depth instruction on personal financial management. The course deals with preparing a budget, managing credit, and preparing for and dealing with financial emergencies. The overall goal of the course is to keep you from having to file a Kentucky bankruptcy again in the future. A Debt Coach Credit Counseling Service also offers the post-petition credit counseling, for $30. You may take the course on-line, over the telephone or in-person. You receive a certificate of completion after you finish this course and you’re required to mail or deliver that certificate to the Court. You have up to 60 days after your creditors’ meeting to complete the second bankruptcy course. If you have not completed it and filed your certificate of completion by then, your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington may be closed before your discharged is entered. 

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The341 meeting of creditors is a meeting between you and your Trustee, and any of your creditors who choose to appear. Your creditors are not required to attend this meeting, and most will not. But don’t get nervous if any of your creditors do show up. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong, or out of the ordinary, with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington. More often than not, when creditors do show up, they are hoping to get your signature on a reaffirmation agreement that you have already agreed to enter into. Or they are trying to get information that was not in your bankruptcy petition regarding a secured asset, like insurance coverage information for your home or car. Whether or not any creditors show up, the Trustee will start the creditors’ meeting by asking for your identification and swearing you in. The Trustee will then ask you some general questions regarding the information you have provided to the Court when filing bankruptcy in Covington, such as where you work and whether you’ve you ever filed bankruptcy before. When the Trustee finishes their questions, they will give any creditors present a chance to ask you similar questions. The Trustee will conclude the meeting by either indicating that they are satisfied with your bankruptcy petition and supporting documents or by asking you to provide them with some additional documents. In total, the meeting usually lasts less than fifteen minutes and it will be the only time you will have to meet with the Trustee or your creditors.

Dealing with Your Car

One of two situations will arise when it is time to deal with your car in your Kentucky bankruptcy case. The first is if you lease your car. Your car lease is considered an executory contract. An executory contract is a contract that is still in the process of being fulfilled or completed. You can either keep everything the same by assuming the lease or use your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington to get out of it early. The remainder of the lease is canceled and any fees or penalties you owed as a result of returning the vehicle early is discharged as part of your bankruptcy. The second situation is if you own your car. If you own your car, and it’s paid off, then you must list your car along with your other personal property in Schedule B of your Covington bankruptcy forms. You must also list it in Schedule C, along with the exemption you are claiming for it. You can exempt up to $2,500 of the value of the car in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington. If the car is worth more than that, the Trustee could sell it to distribute that additional equity to creditors. However, there’s also a $1,000 wildcard exemption that you can apply to any personal property. You can combine this exemption with your vehicle exemption and exempt up to $3,500 of equity in your car. A final option would be to offer to pay the Trustee the additional, non-exempt equity instead of selling the car. If you’re still paying on your car, then you have three options. The first option is to surrender the car by giving it back to the bank. If you do this, your car loan will be discharged as part of your Kentucky bankruptcy. The second option is reaffirming the car loan. To reaffirm your car loan, you must enter into a reaffirmation agreement with your lender that requires you to keep paying on your car even after your bankruptcy is finished in order to keep the car. The final option is to redeem your car by paying the lender the market value of the car. Because the market value of your car is not the same as what you owe on the car, this is an excellent option if you owe a lot more on your car than it’s worth. By redeeming your car, you get to keep your car, but discharge the negative equity. Whatever you intend to do must be indicated on Form 108 – Statement of Intention of your Covington bankruptcy forms.

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Kentucky Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Covington

Kentucky Means Test

Whether you are eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington, as opposed to a Chapter 13, largely depends on your annual household income. This is because of something known as the Kentucky bankruptcy Means Test. The Kentucky bankruptcy Means Test compares your household income to the median household income for a family of the same size. In order to qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington your income must be less than that of a median household of the same size. If it’s more, a presumption of abuse exists in your case. A presumption of abuse means that based on your annual household income and the number of people in your household, you should be able to pay your bills. You can attempt to overcome the presumption of abuse by completing Part 2 of the Chapter 7 Means Test, known as the Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation. If your monthly disposable income, after expenses, multiplied over a period of 60 months is equal to or below $7700, then you have overcome the presumption of abuse, and are eligible to proceed with filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Median Income Levels for Kentucky

Kentucky Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$3,716.17$44,594.00
2$4,688.08$56,257.00
3$5,561.00$66,732.00
4$6,676.25$80,115.00
5$7,426.25$89,115.00
6$8,176.25$98,115.00
7$8,926.25$107,115.00
8$9,676.25$116,115.00
9$10,426.25$125,115.00
10$11,176.25$134,115.00

Poverty Levels for Kentucky

Kentucky Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)
1$1,063.33$1,595.00
2$1,436.67$2,155.00
3$1,810.00$2,715.00
4$2,183.33$3,275.00
5$2,556.67$3,835.00
6$2,930.00$4,395.00
7$3,303.33$4,955.00
8$3,676.67$5,515.00
9$4,050.00$6,075.00
10$4,423.33$6,635.00

Kentucky Bankruptcy Forms

You can find all of theKentucky bankruptcy forms you need to file free of charge in fillable PDF format for you to download. You should never pay anyone for Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. There are no local bankruptcy forms in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky that you will need to include in the petition for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington. However, there is a helpful checklist available from the U.S. Courts that’ll help you make sure that you have everything when you’re ready to file bankruptcy in Covington. 

Kentucky Exemptions

Individuals filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Covington are allowed to “exempt” (protect) certain real and personal property they own. Real property is real estate, like your home or a rental property. Personal property is everything else you own like furniture, clothing and your car. An “exemption” is a law that lets you keep specific types of property from being sold during a bankruptcy; as long as the property does not exceed a certain value. In Kentucky, you may choose between two sets of exemptions.Kentucky bankruptcy exemptions and federal bankruptcy exemptions. Each law covers different types of property in different amounts. Typically, federal bankruptcy exemptions will cover more property with larger exemptions than the Kentucky bankruptcy exemptions. For example, under Kentucky law your personal automobile is protected up to $2,500. Under federal bankruptcy exemptions your personal automobile is protected up to $4,000. To illustrate how this would work, if you owned a car free and clear worth $4,000 and you choose the Kentucky bankruptcy exemptions, you could be forced to sell the car and surrender any proceeds over $2,500 to the Trustee to pay to your creditors. Using the same car as an example, if you claimed the federal bankruptcy exemptions, the entire value of the car is protected, and you would not be required to sell it. You can only choose one set of exemptions to use and you can’t mix and match. 

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.