Mississippi Bankruptcy

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Summary

You don’t have to hire a lawyer to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, though that is not always the best way to go. If you don't have a lawyer and your income is low enough, the court may waive the fee everyone filing Chapter 7 in Mississippi normally has to pay.

Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi is a relatively straight forward process. Assuming you do not exceed the income limits for filing a Chapter 7 case, the only requirement you have to complete before filing is a credit counseling course. However, the documents that you will have to submit to the court in order to ensure the Mississippi bankruptcy laws are followed and your case administered properly require a little bit of legwork. Since rushing in unprepared and then coming from behind to catch up is very stressful, this guide will walk you through all the steps you should complete before filing your Mississippi bankruptcy and what to expect after your case has been filed. Even though some of the concepts may seem a little bit counter-intuitive, the fact that you are already preparing by doing research about your options online is a great first step. Often times people who are having a hard time meeting all of their creditors' demands are too embarrassed to seek the help they know they need. What a lot of them don’t realize is that sometimes this is just the way life goes. If you are unable to pay your debts as they come due ever month, just remember that the bankruptcy laws have been created to protect folks who got in over their head due to no fault. Sometimes filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi is the most responsible thing a person can do not only for themselves and their family, but for their creditors as well.

How to File Bankruptcy in Mississippi for Free

You don’t have to hire a lawyer to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, though that is not always the best way to go. If you don't have a lawyer and your income is low enough, the court may waive the fee everyone filing Chapter 7 in Mississippi normally has to pay.


Collect Your Mississippi Bankruptcy Documents

Filing bankruptcy in Mississippi unfortunately means a lot of paperwork. Since you have to provide the court with a complete picture of your financial situation when you file your case, it's important to be diligent and start by collecting certain documents. These documents will help you remember all the important details needed under Mississippi bankruptcy laws and procedures. The first thing you should collect is each paycheck stub you have received in the last 6 months. If you are getting paid via direct deposit, it's possible these stubs are provided to you via e-mail. Aside from showing the court that, based on your income, you are eligible to be a debtor in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, you have to provide a list of your debts and addresses for all of your creditors to the court. To help you make sure you don't miss anyone, especially those debt collectors that may not have bothered you in a while, you should get a copy of your credit report. Other documents you will want to have handy when completing your forms are your recent bank statements, the last two years' of tax returns, and a recent bill for your secured debts, such as your car loan. 

Take Credit Counseling

Before you can go to court and get the protections that come with filing Chapter 7 in Mississippi, you have to complete a credit counseling course. The course is intended to make sure that everyone filing bankruptcy is aware of their options before doing so. The course itself is more of a one-time class, usually less than 2 hours long. It's helpful to do this after you’ve collected your bankruptcy documents, so you can refer to them as needed as you go through the lessons. The course must be taken from a company that has been pre-approved to offer it to folks filing bankruptcy in Mississippi. If you are near Biloxi, you can take the course in person through Money Management International. However, since that is the only provider with an in-person option, most people take it online or over the phone. Once done, you will receive a certificate of completion that has to be filed with the court. The certificate is valid for 180 days, so it makes sense to plan ahead and take it in the weeks before you plan on going to the courthouse to officially file your Mississippi bankruptcy case.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

Completing the forms you have to submit to the court for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi is the most technical step in this process. In order to make the administration of bankruptcy cases more efficient, everyone has to complete the same official bankruptcy forms when filing Chapter 7 in Mississippi. Since it's a "one size fits all" set of forms, there is a 49 page instructions manual you can use for guidance. If you hire a lawyer, you won't have to worry about actually completing the forms, as the lawyer's office will take care of that based on the information you provide to them. If your situation makes you eligible for free help from Upsolve, we will help you with your bankruptcy forms. Whichever route you go, just remember that filing Chapter 7 in Mississippi is a serious step and you have to sign all of your forms under penalty of perjury. Even if it's obvious that you forgot to list an asset such as your clothing by accident, your trustee will wonder what else you forgot about and scrutinize all of your forms even more. Well prepared bankruptcy forms show your trustee and all other interested party that you are taking the process and your duties as a debtor in a Mississippi bankruptcy case seriously and thus help ensure a smoother processing of your case by the court.

Get Your Filing Fee

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi incurs a court filing fee of $335, to be paid at the time your bankruptcy documents are submitted to the court. Since not all bankruptcy courts accept cash, you should purchase a money order from your post office for the full amount. Although this will cost $1.25, it will give you peace of mind to know the court will accept it as a valid form of payment. If your household income is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, you can fill out an application to have the court filing fee waived. If you plan on doing this, keep in mind that the court can deny the application even though your income is less than the cutoff amount if it finds that you have the ability to pay the fee installments after filing Chapter 7 in Mississippi. If you know that you could pay the fee if you didn't have to pay your creditors or live with a wage garnishment, you should complete an application to pay the fee in installments. This will give you up to four months to pay the full amount. Be careful, though, as the court will set specific due dates for your payments and missing just one payment can lead to your Mississippi bankruptcy case being thrown out of court.

Once you are done, or think you are done, with all the forms you will need for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, print out this checklist and go through all of the files you have saved on the computer. If you have a lawyer helping you, you won't have to worry about this step, as they will schedule a meeting with you to go over and sign all of your documents before filing Chapter 7 in Mississippi on your behalf. Folks that are working with Upsolve will be provided a single PDF file that contains all of their bankruptcy forms to print all at once. The checklist will keep you organized if you are printing each one of the required documents from a separate file. As you print, make sure to do a final review of all of the information contained in the documents, and sign where indicated. If you can, you should print a complete second set of all of the documents you plan on submitting to the court for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi as it may come in helpful to have a hardcopy in your own records later.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

Let's do a brief recap here, as you should before you leave home to go file your Mississippi bankruptcy case. By now, you should have taken credit counseling (less than 6 months ago), completed and printed your forms, and purchased a money order for your court filing fee, if you are not eligible for a waiver or payment plan. Technically, you can file everything needed for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi by mailing it to the court. However, if it's not a hardship to travel to the courthouse, and especially if you are cutting it close on a deadline, you should go to the court in person to hand everything in. If you are not familiar with the area of town around the courthouse, make sure you give yourself enough time to find parking when you get there. Since you'll be entering a federal building, you will have to pass through building security on your way in. Once inside, the clerk's office will assist you with filing bankruptcy in Mississippi. If you bring your copy of the paperwork in addition to the originals you are filing with the court, you can ask the clerk to stamp it for your records while there.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

Most of the work that goes into filing bankruptcy in Mississippi is done before the case is filed. However, that does not mean that you don't have responsibilities after going to the court and filing your case. The court will appoint a Chapter 7 trustee to handle your Mississippi bankruptcy case and it is your duty to cooperate with the trustee. One of the trustee's jobs is to verify the income information you have provided to the court, another part of their job is to make sure you are not hiding any assets from your creditors. The Bankruptcy Code makes it your job to send a copy of your most recent federal income tax return and copies of the paycheck stubs you received in the 60 days before filing Chapter 7 in Mississippi to the trustee. Additionally, your trustee may send you a letter with a list of other documents or information they will need as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi. It's important to keep an eye out for such a letter from your trustee and submit everything to their office as instructed. If you don't hear from your trustee, make sure you get at least your tax return and the paycheck stubs to their office more than 7 days before your 341 meeting is scheduled to take place.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

In order for the court to enter the discharge order telling all of your creditors that they can't ever ask you to pay them again, you have to complete bankruptcy course 2. This course focuses on financial management and every person filing bankruptcy in Mississippi has to complete it. The goal is to set everyone getting a fresh start up with tools they can use to manage their finances responsibly going forward. Since this course is mandatory, it doesn't matter why you ended up filing bankruptcy in Mississippi in the first place. Even if there isn't a financial management tool in the world that would have allowed you to avoid the situation that led to your filing, without the course, you are not eligible to receive a discharge in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi. When you sign up for your pre-bankruptcy course, you should find out if the company you are using is also approved to offer this second course. While not all of them are approved for both, some are, and sometimes that means getting a discount by taking both classes with the same company.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The 341 meeting, or meeting of creditors as it is sometimes called, takes place some 20 to 40 days filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi. The court will notify you and all of your creditors of the date, time, and location of your 341 meeting. The most important part about this meeting is to show up (on time) and have an acceptable form of identification and proof of your social security number with you. Once the trustee checks you IDs, you will be placed under oath and asked to answer some questions about your financial situation in general and your Mississippi bankruptcy case in particular. As long as you prepare just a little bit and take a moment to thumb through your bankruptcy forms, the meeting will not be nearly as stressful as it sounds. Of course, it is called a meeting of creditors because your creditors will be invited to attend and can even ask you questions. That is not what normally happens. In a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, the meeting will be over after about 5 to 10 minutes with no creditors making an appearance.

Dealing with Your Car

You probably rely on your car or truck to get to work and just generally live your life. This, of course, means that you are worried about how filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi will affect your car and your car loan, if you have one. If you own your vehicle outright, then as long as it's worth less than the available exemption, everything stays the same. If you do owe money on a car loan, then you can choose how to deal with it. If are stuck with the car before filing bankruptcy in Mississippi because you owe more on it than its worth, this is your opportunity to get out of it. If you like the car itself and have a way to raise money to pay for its value, a process called redemption gives you the opportunity to just buy it for what it's worth. If that is not possible, you can surrender the car and walk away from it without having to worry about the balance left on the loan. On the other hand, if you are happy with your car, and the loan makes sense for you and is not a strain on your monthly budget, you can keep everything the way it was before your Mississippi bankruptcy was filed by entering into a reaffirmation agreement.

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Mississippi Bankruptcy Means Test

The Mississippi bankruptcy means test is the analysis everyone filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi has to complete in order to confirm that they don't make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7 relief. Initially, the Mississippi means test for bankruptcy compares your income to the applicable income limits. If you make less than the median household income for your state, you qualify for Chapter 7 relief. If you make more than that, you may still be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi if your disposable income after paying certain predetermined expenses is not enough to pay any meaningful amount to your creditors.

Data on Median income levels for Mississippi

Mississippi Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2019
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$3,471.58$41,659.00
2$4,248.33$50,980.00
3$4,785.92$57,431.00
4$5,707.58$68,491.00
5$6,457.58$77,491.00
6$7,207.58$86,491.00
7$7,957.58$95,491.00
8$8,707.58$104,491.00
9$9,457.58$113,491.00
10$10,207.58$122,491.00

Data on Poverty levels for Mississippi

Mississippi Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2019
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)
1$1,040.83$1,561.25
2$1,409.17$2,113.75
3$1,777.50$2,666.25
4$2,145.83$3,218.75
5$2,514.17$3,771.25
6$2,882.50$4,323.75
7$3,250.83$4,876.25
8$3,619.17$5,428.75
9$3,987.50$5,981.25
10$4,355.83$6,533.75
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Mississippi Bankruptcy Forms

When you first go to the courthouse to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, you can use the online bankruptcy forms made available for free by the federal judiciary. Even though there are some local Mississippi bankruptcy forms that are only used in the Magnolia State, you won't need any of them when your case if first filed with the court.

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Northern District of Mississippi Requirements

The Northern District of Mississippi makes up the northern half of the state and has hearing locations in Aberdeen, Oxford, and Greenville; though, if you're heading to court to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, you have to go to the Aberdeen location. The other locations are used for hearings in the district but don't have any bankruptcy clerks staffed there permanently. The county you live in determines which division your case will be assigned to after filing.

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Southern District of Mississippi Requirements

The Southern District has four locations where hearings take place, but as with the Northern District, not all of them have bankruptcy clerks on staff at all times. Depending on which county you live in, you will have to head either to either Jackson or Gulfport to file your Mississippi bankruptcy case. The Southern District has adopted the same local bankruptcy rules as the Northern District, making it easier for folks from either part of the state.

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Mississippi Bankruptcy Exemptions

Exemption laws determine which property you can keep even though you are in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi. There are federal bankruptcy exemptions and state bankruptcy exemptions and anyone filing a Mississippi bankruptcy has to use the Mississippi bankruptcy exemptions for their case. However, if you have not lived in the Magnolia State for at least two years when your bankruptcy case is filed, you will have to look to the laws of the state where you lived 2 to 2.5 years ago to find out which exemptions you should claim.

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Mississippi Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

Although you don't have to hire a lawyer to help you with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, it often makes sense to do so. The average cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Mississippi is between $900 and $1,200 for a Chapter 7 case.

  • Attorney cost estimate: $999 – $1,200

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Mississippi legal aid organizations provide free legal assistance to folks who need a lawyer for their civil matter but cannot afford to hire one. If you are looking for free legal assistance with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mississippi, you should start by looking at the Mississippi Bar (the organization that governs lawyers). Their website includes information regarding organizations providing legal aid in Mississippi.

Mississippi Center for Legal Services
(601) 545-2950
111 East Front Street, P.O. Drawer 1728, Hattiesburg, MS 39403-1728

North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, Inc.
(662) 234-8731
5 County Road 1014, P.O. Box 767, Oxford, MS 38655-0767

Upsolve
Nationwide Service (NYC Office)

Upsolve Location
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Mississippi Court Locations

501 East Court Street
601-608-4600
501 East Court Street Jackson, MS 39201

501 East Court Street

Dan M. Russell, Jr. United States Courthouse
228-563-1790
2012 15th Street Gulfport, MS 39501

Dan M. Russell, Jr. United States Courthouse

Thad Cochran United States Bankruptcy Courthouse
662-369-2596
703 Hwy 145 North Aberdeen, MS 39730

Thad Cochran United States Bankruptcy Courthouse
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Mississippi Judges

Mississippi Bankruptcy Judges
DistrictJudge Name
Northern District of MississippiHon. Jason D. Woodard
Northern District of MississippiHon. Selene D. Maddox
Southern District of MississippiHon. Katharine M. Samson
Southern District of MississippiHon. Edward Ellington
Southern District of MississippiHon. Neil P. Olack
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Mississippi Trustees

Mississippi Trustees
TrusteeContact Info
Henry J. Applewhite II
happlewhite@applewhitelaw.com
(662) 369-7783
William L. Fava
(662) 536-1116
Jeffrey A. LevingstonJleving@bellsouth.net
(662)843-2791
Derek A. Hendersond_henderson@bellsouth.net
(601)948-3167
Kimberly R. Lentz
7trustee@lentzlittle.com
(228)867-6050
Eileen N. Shaffer
eshaffer@eshaffer-law.com
(601)969-3006
J. Stephen Smithstephen@smithcpafirm.com
(601)352-6767
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