Please note that we don't operate in North Carolina yet but look forward to expanding into your state. You're welcome to keep reading - our content is free for anyone looking to learn more about bankruptcy & filing without a lawyer.
Written by the Upsolve Team.
Updated September 30, 2020
From the Battle of Guildford Courthouse during the Revolutionary War and the end of the Confederacy during the American Civil War to the “Greensboro Four” and the Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement, great transitions in the United States have always emerged in Greensboro. Another great change that is emerging in Greensboro is the realization of every day Greensborians of their right to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro without an attorney. And Upsolve, a nonprofit, legal aid provider is at the forefront of this change. Since 2016, Upsolve has helped more than two thousand families clear an average of $46,000 of debt through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Using the powerful poverty-fighting tool Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be, Upsolve is committed to showing you how to get the peace of mind that you deserve with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro. Once you decide that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you, this guide can help you get started. In order to decide if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best path, you will need to do an honest assessment of your current financial situation. If you are having trouble paying your bills every month or are no longer able to pay them at all, then that is the first indication you may need Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. But you should also explore alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, such as getting help creating a budget and cutting your expenses, or entering into a debt settlement or debt consolidation agreement with your creditors. All of these alternatives have their pros and cons and any local credit counseling agency can help you figure out if they are right for you. If none of them are right for you, or you have tried one or more of these alternatives and your financial situation has not improved or has gotten worse, then a Greensboro bankruptcy can help. Most consumers seek bankruptcy relief under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as a “liquidation” and eliminates your debt without requiring any payments from you. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as a “reorganization.” It reduces and consolidates your debt into a Court-approved monthly repayment plan. This plan eliminates all of your debt within three to five years. Chapter 13 allows you to keep your home and all your property while you replay your debt, regardless of your monthly income. As a result, most high-income individuals who own their homes seek relief under Chapter 13. Individuals who don’t own a home, earn less than or equal to the median income for their state, and have less than $10,000 in assets are usually ideal candidates for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Better still, if you are such an ideal candidate for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Upsolve is convinced you can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro for free without an attorney. And Upsolve can show you how!
Greensboro Bankruptcy Lawyers – Estimated Cost
The cost of a bankruptcy attorney for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro averages between $1,100 and $1,200. A cost that can increase substantially if you have a particularly complex Chapter 7 case or want to file a Chapter 13. Assuming you don’t have a friend or relative who is an attorney and willing to help you for free, your next best option is free legal aid. Legal Aid of North Carolina serves individuals in the Greensboro area who earn less than 125% of the poverty level seeking to file for bankruptcy. If you don’t qualify for free legal aid, this guide can still show you how to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro for free without the aid of an attorney.
How to File Bankruptcy in Greensboro, North Carolina for Free
When you file bankruptcy in Greensboro, you make a formal request to the Court to grant you relief from your debts under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Bankruptcy is a federal process that is implemented in the various states through a mix of federal and state laws. While the effect of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the same, no matter what state you file in, the way you must go about obtaining the relief provided under bankruptcy law is somewhat different in each state. In North Carolina, its state bankruptcy laws are particularly unique. As such, Upsolve does not currently offer its online case preparation services in North Carolina. However, following the steps outlined below, it’s still possible for you to file your own Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro without an attorney.
Collect Your Greensboro Bankruptcy Documents
Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro requires a lot of documentation. So, you will need to assemble a good number of documents to complete all your bankruptcy forms. Fortunately, the majority of these documents are documents you either use or look at every month. In order to make the process of getting your North Carolina bankruptcy filed smoother, you should collect the documents you will need as soon as possible. You will need your financial records, such as pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns. You’ll also need bills such as credit card statements, mortgage statements, medical bills, utility bills, collection notices, and car payments. If you own a home or car, you may need your ownership documents such as the certificate of title to your car and the deed to your home.
Take Credit Counseling
Pre-bankruptcy credit counseling is required for everyone who files a North Carolina bankruptcy. This counseling is intended to assess your current financial situation, counsel you on alternatives to bankruptcy, and give you a basic explanation of what bankruptcy is. You must complete this course before you file your Greensboro bankruptcy and you must submit a certificate of completion when you do file. The Bankruptcy Administrator for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of North Carolina maintains a list of approved credit counseling agencies that you may use to select the credit counseling agency to provide the course. The typical cost for the course is between $15 and $35, and most agencies offer the course on-line, over the telephone, or in-person.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Everything the Court will need to know about you and your household to grant you a bankruptcy discharge will be contained in your bankruptcy forms. Unlike a normal court case, you will not need any witnesses or evidence to support your North Carolina bankruptcy case, and there will not be a trial. In fact, most individuals who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro will never appear in Court at all. Instead, you will present your entire case in your bankruptcy forms. Because of this, it is very important that you complete all your forms as thoroughly and accurately as possible. The very first form you will see in your bankruptcy forms is called the Voluntary Petition. This form will ask for your name, address, and what type of bankruptcy you are filing. One important representation you must make on the Voluntary Petition is that you have lived in the Middle District for the great part of the last 180 days. If you have moved to Guilford County within the last 180 days check out the list of counties provided by the North Carolina Bankruptcy Court to make sure your prior county of residence still puts you in the Middle District. Finally, in addition to all of the above documents, you may want to get a copy of your most recent credit report to ensure you have a list of all your current and past creditors. If you have not done so already, you can obtain a free annual credit report online.
Get Your Filing Fee
The current fee to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro is $335. This fee is paid directly to the Court and must be paid in cash, cashier’s check, or money order payable to “Clerk, US Bankruptcy Court.” If you can’t pay the entire fee at once, you can request to pay the fee in installments. If you can’t pay the fee at all and earn less than 150% of the poverty level, you can request to have the fee waived. One thing to consider before requesting a fee waiver, however, is whether you could pay the fee if you’re no longer paying your creditors. Many individuals who want to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy continue to pay their bills up until the day they file their case. You do not have to do this. For example, if you are paying $150 or $200 per month on a credit card you haven’t even used in months, you can stop paying that bill and use the money to pay your North Carolina bankruptcy filing fee. If you are concerned about doing this, because you are still not sure if you want to file bankruptcy, then you should probably explore some of the alternatives to bankruptcy discussed earlier. Your ability to get a fee waiver is based solely on your monthly income and what you have left after you pay your necessary expenses, not your credit card or payday loans.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
When you are ready to print your Greensboro bankruptcy documents, here are a few things you should know. First, you should print two copies of all your forms. One copy must be signed and filed with the Court. Keep the second copy for yourself. Second, you should only print on one side of each page. The Court will not accept a case with double-sided pages. Third, all of the forms in your case will typically consist of 60 to 100 pages. If your home printer is not capable of printing and collating that many pages, then look into printing your forms at your local library. The Greensboro Public Library offers customers access to more than 100 computers, including a computer lab with 12 workstations and free computer training, at its Central Library location. The Central Library is located at 219 N. Church Street, a three-minute drive from the famous Dame’s Chicken & Waffles. The library is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday and 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday. The library offers on-site and mobile printing.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of North Carolina serves the City of Greensboro and Guilford County. The Court is located at 101 S. Edgeworth Street in Greensboro. It is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. however payments are not accepted after 4:30 p.m. You should bring all of your bankruptcy forms, and they should be signed where required. Also, bring your filing fee and certificate of credit counseling. If you are requesting to pay your fee in installments or requesting a fee waiver, then bring the application for that as well. Telephones and other electronic devices are not allowed inside the courthouse. Once you have filed our Greensboro bankruptcy with the Bankruptcy Clerk, you will receive a Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case in the mail a short time later. This notice will provide you with important information about your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro. First of all, it will give you your case number. This case number is what you will give to any of your creditors who accidentally contact you after you have filed your Greensboro bankruptcy. If you have listed them in your petition, they will receive the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case from the Court shortly and you can inform themof that. The other information that the notice will give you, is the name and contact information of your court-appointed Trustee and the date, place and time of your mandatory creditors’ meeting.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
When you have filed your North Carolina bankruptcy case, the next step in filing bankruptcy in Greensboro is mailing a copy of your bankruptcy documents to your court-appointed Trustee. At a minimum, you should be prepared to send your Trustee your last two months' pay stubs, your last six months' bank statements, and your most recent tax return. If you own your car or own a home, you may want to contact the Trustee’s office and see if they require a copy of your ownership documents for this property. Everything you are required to submit to the Trustee should be mailed so that they receive it at least seven days before your scheduled creditors’ meeting.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
While the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course was intended to give you alternatives to filing bankruptcy, the post-bankruptcy credit counseling course is intended to prepare you for life after filing bankruptcy in Greensboro. This course is commonly referred to as Debtor Education because it focuses on educating you about your finances, how to use credit responsibly in the future and how to plan for unexpected financial emergencies. This course cost between $25 and $50 depending on whether you wish to take the course online, over the telephone, or in-person. The Bankruptcy Administrator’s office maintains a separate list of approved debtor education agencies in Guildford County. This list is not the same as the list of approved credit counseling agencies, however, the agency you used for your credit counseling may be on both lists. When you complete the course, you must also file or mail your certificate of completion to the Court. If you take the course on-line, you will be required to pass a test at the end of the session. If you fail, you will have to have the course administered to you in-person or over the telephone.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Your Greensboro bankruptcy will conclude with something known as a 341 meeting of creditors. In fact, unless something unusual happens in your case, or you have special circumstances, this will be the only time you have to appear in your bankruptcy case. A 341 meeting of creditors is an informal meeting between you and your court-appointed Trustee. A Trustee is an individual appointed by the Court to review your Greensboro bankruptcy case and submit a report to the Court on their findings. Trustees are fellow North Carolinians who live and work in your community. They are hired to help process your case, not interrogate you about why you couldn’t pay your bills. Your creditors have a right to attend this meeting as well, although it’s rare for them to do so. The entire meeting usually lasts less than fifteen minutes. All 341 creditors’ meetings in Greensboro are held at 101 S. Edgeworth Street on the first floor in the creditors’ meeting room. You should bring picture identification and your original social security card or written verification of your social security number.
Dealing with Your Car
One area where a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro can offer you a lot of flexibility, is in dealing with your car. Depending on whether you own your car or are still making payments on the note, you have several options. These options include either reaffirming your car loan, redeeming your car from the lender, or surrendering the car. If you own your car outright you don’t have to choose any of these options, as your car will be treated just like your other personal property. If you choose to reaffirm your car loan, you must enter into something known as a “reaffirmation agreement” with your lender. This agreement obligates you to keep paying your car loan after your bankruptcy case is concluded. In return, your lender cannot repossess your car as a result of your bankruptcy. Your second option is to redeem your car. To redeem your car, you must pay the lender the market value of the car. This is, in essence, what the lender would get anyway if they repossessed the car and sold it. If you do pay the lender the market value, the car is yours, and any balance owed on your car loan is discharged. The last option is to surrender the car. If you surrender the car, you and the lender will agree on a time and place for the lender to pick the car up. The car loan is then discharged. Whatever option you choose, you must indicate it on a form known as a Statement of Intention. The Statement of Intention is included in the forms in your bankruptcy case. You have 30 days after you file your Greensboro bankruptcy to complete the Statement of Intention and mail a copy to your lender. You should also mail a copy to the Court and file something known as a “Certificate of Service” indicating you have sent a copy to the lender. It may also be a good idea to call your Trustee and see if they require you to send them or the Bankruptcy Administrator a copy.
North Carolina Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Greensboro
North Carolina Means Test
One of the forms you will have to complete for your North Carolina bankruptcy case is Official Form 122A-1, Chapter 7 – Statement of Your Current Monthly Income. This form, and the analysis it requires, is known as the North Carolina bankruptcy Means Test. Means Testing is used to determine if your household income exceeds that allowed for individuals who wish to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For example, currently, in North Carolina, the median family income for a household of one is $48,629. If you are the only individual in your household, and you earn more than $48,629 then you would have something known as a “presumption of abuse” in your case. A presumption of abuse means that you seemingly earn enough income to be able to pay your bills. If you have a presumption of abuse, then you must complete Form 122A-2, Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation to determine if you can overcome the presumption and still file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro.
Median Income Levels for North Carolina
North Carolina Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for North Carolina
North Carolina 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)|
North Carolina Bankruptcy Forms
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of North Carolina provides a Case Opening pack for individuals filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro on their own. The Case Opening packet is in a fillable-PDF format and contains all documents needed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The North Carolina bankruptcy forms provided in the packet replace federal Schedule C with local Form 91C - – Debtor’s Claim for Property Exemptions. If you obtain your North Carolina bankruptcy forms from the website of the United States Courts, you will have to replace Schedule C in your Greensboro bankruptcy case with Form 91C. The Case Opening packet also does not include forms to Request to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments or to Request to Waive the Chapter 7 filing fee, so be sure to download them separately. Finally, the Court also has a local form you can use to file a Motion for Exemption from Credit Counseling available on its website that you can use if you believe you qualify for the exemption.
North Carolina Exemptions
Even though every bankruptcy filed in this country must be filed and processed in a federal Bankruptcy Court, the laws that govern how an individual’s case will impact their property can vary widely from state to state. One of the main areas where this is the case is with state and federal bankruptcy exemptions. North Carolina does not allow individuals filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Fortunately, in most instances, the North Carolina bankruptcy exemptions are as generous as the federal exemptions. Exemptions are laws that allow individuals who file bankruptcy to exempt or “protect” most of their property from being sold to pay creditors. Each state exempts different property and provides different amounts for those exemptions. Some property is generally always exempt, at least to some extent. This includes equity in your primary residence, a vehicle, furniture, clothing, and other personal possessions. However, the amount of those exemptions can vary widely. For example, in Kentucky, you can exempt up to $5,000 in equity in your home, in North Carolina that amount is $35,000! Properly claiming the North Carolina bankruptcy exemptions you are entitled to is an important part of successfully filing your own Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Greensboro. As a result, be sure to list any property you wish to claim an exemption for in the proper section of local Form 91C provided by the Court. You don’t have to list the specific legal citations for the law you are using to protect your property, as the Court has incorporated the appropriate citations into each section of the form. Finally, if you have purchased property less than 90 days before you filed your Chapter 7 Greensboro bankruptcy petition, you will not be allowed to claim an exemption for that property, but you are still required to list it in Section 16 of Form 91C.