Filing Bankruptcy in Flint, Michigan

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Written by the Upsolve Team.  
Updated September 30, 2020


Perhaps better than anyone else, residents of Flint understand that even the most responsible and hardest working adults can easily find themselves struggling to meet their basic needs through no fault of their own. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to cover the basics and pay your creditors back at the same time, the math just doesn’t add up. Thankfully, there are debt-relief solutions available designed to help individuals and families who have fallen on hard times. For example, Michigan bankruptcy can help to erase your debts so that you can benefit from a fresh financial start. There are many myths about filing bankruptcy in Flint floating around, so it’s a good idea to learn more about the process itself before committing to filing for bankruptcy or dismissing it as a possible solution for your family’s current financial challenges. 

In general, Flint residents who don’t own a business either file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you don’t earn much income, you may be eligible to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. This kind of Flint bankruptcy can be life-altering, as this process allows the Court to eliminate many kinds of debt in as little as 90 days. Furthermore, most low-income filers can keep most or all of their property safe from being sold so their creditors can benefit from the profits of that sale. Some people are understandably wary about filing for bankruptcy because the process used to be stigmatized as a solution only embraced by “lazy” or “irresponsible” individuals. However, the Great Recession of 2008 shattered that stigma. Americans now understand that bankruptcy is simply a financial tool used by people who are struggling so that they can begin rebuilding a strong financial foundation. It’s therefore, for so many reasons, an option worthy of consideration.

Flint Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost

Filing legal action usually means hiring an attorney. Benefitting from the assistance of an experienced lawyer can often “make or break” a case. Therefore, it may surprise you to learn that filing bankruptcy in Flint under Chapter 7 can be done without an attorney’s help. The process is so straightforward that unless your financial situation is particularly complicated, you don’t need to worry about the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer when filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. With that said, if you’d feel more comfortable hiring bankruptcy help in Flint, you should know that a Flint bankruptcy lawyer costs just over $1,000 on average.

How to File Bankruptcy in Flint, Michigan for Free

If you think that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Flint might be right for you and your family, please review the following information about the Michigan bankruptcy process. Learning more about the paperwork, filing process and creditors’ meeting that make up this journey will allow you to make an informed decision about whether this option is right for you. 


Collect Your Flint Bankruptcy Documents

After deciding to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Flint, did you request a free copy of your current credit report from any or all of the three major credit reporting agencies? If you haven’t, now is the time to complete that task. Before you can complete your bankruptcy-related paperwork, you’ll need to gather some personal financial documents that illustrate what your income, expenses, debts, and property consists of. Filing bankruptcy in Flint primarily involves explaining to the Court why you can’t pay your creditors right now and why you can’t afford to complete a 5-year bankruptcy repayment plan under Chapter 13. To accurately report your income, expenses, debts, etc. you’ll want to reference your credit report, recent tax documents, recent bank statements, recent pay stubs, and recent credit card statements.

Take Credit Counseling

How can you know for sure if Flint bankruptcy is the best available debt-relief option for your unique situation? The Court wants to make sure you feel confident in your decision before you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Flint and wants to make sure that you understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of all of the options available to you. It therefore requires filers to attend a pre-filing credit counseling course before submitting an official bankruptcy petitionto the Court. You may conveniently take this course online anytime during the six months before you file for bankruptcy. Just make sure that you choose a course approved by the Department of Justice for filers in the Eastern District of Michigan or your participation won’t fulfill this requirement.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

Once you have your bankruptcy documents, like your income tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements and credit card collected for easy reference, it’s time to begin working through your bankruptcy forms. Thankfully, any time you have questions concerning how to file bankruptcy in Flint, you can refer to the user-friendly directions provided by the Court. When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Flint, you’ll be asked about your household’s income, expenses, debt, and property. As long as you follow all directions carefully, answer honestly and occasionally stop to take some deep breaths, you should be able to complete this process without a lawyer’s help.

Get Your Filing Fee

Any time someone files legal action with the Court, that individual must pay a filing fee or secure a fee waiver. Filing bankruptcy in Flint is no exception to this general rule; the filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $335. Most of the time, if a bankruptcy filer requests a fee waiver, that waiver will be granted if the filer lives below 150% of the poverty line and can’t afford to pay the fee in installments, even after they no longer have to make payments to their creditors. Anyone who doesn’t qualify for a Flint bankruptcy fee waiver can file a formal request to pay this filing fee in installments once the automatic stay protects them from their creditors.

Because the U.S. Bankruptcy Court system is a little behind the times, you’re not allowed to file your Flint bankruptcy case online. While you can fill in the paperwork online, your forms will need to be physically printed out before you can submit them to the Court. If you don’t have easy access to a printer at home or work, consider visiting a local branch of the Flint Public Library. You’ll be able to print your forms there for a modest fee. Alternatively, you can visit a commercial service provider such as Fed-Ex to have your forms printed for a fee as well.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

Flint is part of the Eastern District of Michigan. When you file your bankruptcy paperwork, you can either do so through the mail or you can file it in person at the courthouse located at 226 West Second Street. There are many advantages to filing bankruptcy in Flint in person. First, you can have the clerk stamp an extra set of your bankruptcy paperwork for your files. Second, you’ll be able to ask the clerk any questions you may have about this part of the process. Third, you’ll be able to get your bankruptcy process started as quickly as possible without the timing delay and risk associated with sending paperwork in the mail. The postal service rarely loses envelopes, but it does happen. 

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

The Court will assign a Trustee to your case when it receives your paperwork stating that you’re filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Flint. A Trustee oversees different parts of Michigan bankruptcy cases. Most importantly, your Trustee will conduct a meeting between you and any of your creditors who opt to attend that meeting. Most creditors don’t attend 341 meetings for Chapter 7 filers, so your meeting will likely be one-on-one between you and your Trustee. The Eastern District of Michigan provides instructions about what documents you’ll need to forward to your Trustee at least 7 days before your meeting and about how each Trustee needs to receive those documents. The list of the documents you need to gather, which includes bank statements for the 3 months before you filed your bankruptcy paperwork, can be found at the bottom of the instructions. Since the Trustee needs these documents to prepare for your creditors’ meeting, it’s important to get everything to their office by the deadline. Otherwise, you may show up to your creditors’ meeting only to find out that you’ll have to come back on another day because the Trustee didn’t receive your documents on time. 

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

Your pre-filing credit counseling requirement helped you to understand your options so that you knew whether you were making the best possible choice when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Flint. Now that your decision has been made and your bankruptcy paperwork filed, the Court wants to make sure you get the most out of the “fresh start” opportunity that bankruptcy provides. At this point in the process, you’re required to attend a debt management education course that has been approved by the Department of Justice for filers residing in the Eastern District of Michigan. This course, which you can take online as long as it has been properly approved for folks filing bankruptcy in Flint, will teach you how to make your financial future stronger and more resilient than your financial present.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

When it comes time to attend your 341 meeting with your Trustee, make sure to bring along an official photo ID, like a driver’s license or a passport. Also bring an official copy of your Social Security card, not a photocopy of it. Before your Trustee asks you questions about why you’re filing bankruptcy in Flint, you’ll be placed under oath. You could get into serious legal trouble for lying or omitting requested information under oath, so make sure to tell the truth. Your creditors are allowed to attend this meeting, but unless your debt is particularly complex, it will probably just be you and your Trustee. Expect that this meeting will last no longer than 20 minutes, although it’s likely that it’ll only last for 10 minutes.

Dealing with Your Car

Flint isn’t the most pedestrian-friendly city. As a result, many Flint residents hesitate to file for bankruptcy because they are worried about losing ownership of their vehicles. It’s important to understand that when filing bankruptcy in Flint, the Court will allow you to keep your car if you own it outright and an exemption covers its full value. However, if you’re still making payments on a car loan, you’ll be required to do one of three things regarding your car. If you no longer want to make payments on your loan, you can surrender your car by returning it to your lender. This is also a good option if neither of the following alternatives works for you and your family. The first alternative to surrendering your car is called redeeming your car. This option allows you to pay the creditor the current market value of the car. The only problem with this option is that you have to make the payment in full, all at once and that isn’t usually practical for most people filing for bankruptcy. Finally, you can reaffirm your debt by seeking the Court’s permission to keep making payments on your car. If you choose this option, you’ll have to prove that you can make your payments reliably per the terms of your loan. 

Michigan Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Flint

Michigan Means Test

You must pass the Michigan bankruptcy Means Test before you’ll be permitted to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Flint. In essence, the Michigan bankruptcy Means Test examines a household’s size, income and expenses, and compares that information to income limits and other eligibility criteria defined in the Bankruptcy Code. Most low-income households pass the Means Test with ease, but those that don’t can benefit from speaking with an attorney about alternative bankruptcy solutions designed to help families struggling with overwhelming debt.

Median Income Levels for Michigan

Michigan 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

Poverty Levels for Michigan

Michigan 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

Michigan Bankruptcy Forms

The Court requires several local Michigan bankruptcy forms to be submitted alongside the standard, federal forms you need to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Flint. These local forms include a cover sheet and a declaration form that needs to be submitted if you’re filing bankruptcy in Flint without the assistance of an attorney.

Michigan Exemptions

As you prepare to file for Flint bankruptcy, you’ll be asked to choose either the Michigan bankruptcy exemptions or the federal bankruptcy exemptions to attach to your eligible property. When federal or Michigan bankruptcy exemptions are properly applied to your property, your Trustee won’t be able to sell it, even though you haven’t paid your creditors back in full. Dealing with exemptions is therefore one of the most important parts of the bankruptcy process because it allows you to retain ownership of your property. 



Written By:

The Upsolve Team

Upsolve is fortunate to have a remarkable team of bankruptcy attorneys, as well as finance and consumer rights professionals, as contributing writers to help us keep our content up to date, informative, and helpful to everyone.

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