Written by Attorney Jacquelyne N. Mosley-Pastrana.
Updated August 17, 2020
Farmers who grow and raise the food we eat are having trouble putting food on their tables, and they are not the only ones experiencing hardship. When the stress of not being able to pay your piles of bills hits, you may wonder how this happened to you. Most who file a Mandan bankruptcy are hardworking people who are experiencing a financial shockwave. Office workers experiencing job loss, a construction worker in an accident or injury, or those with families having a hard time keeping up with payments. If businesses such as Triangle Petroleum Corporation can file bankruptcy during tough times, individuals like you can do it too.
Bankruptcy is a process provided for in the Constitution to help honest and hardworking people take ahold of their financial situation. If you meet the income limitations, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most frequently filed as it dischargesmost debts. It helps those with high debt and property that is not too expensive to wipe away their debt in 4 to 6 months. On the other hand, if you make too much money or have expensive property, then Chapter 13 might be a better solution. A payment plan over 36 to 60 months is developed to pay what you owe. Most filers use Chapter 7 bankruptcy because it can get your life back on track more quickly. You will find when filing your own Mandan bankruptcy that it is easier to file Chapter 7.
If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can file your own bankruptcy. This may have once seemed impossible, but it’s probably easier than finding your way each fall through the Amazing Corn Maze. With the guidance of a step by step process and free legal help, filers are more confident of their success at filing bankruptcy in Mandan. You can get free help through Upsolve and North Dakota Legal Services. This nonprofit has an office across the river in Bismarck (418 E Broadway, Unit 25, Bismarck, North Dakota 58501) to help low-income clients. Whether you can pay for a lawyer shouldn’t be the determining factor for taking back your financial power and filing bankruptcy in Mandan.
Mandan Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
You may wonder why you should hire a lawyer if you can file bankruptcy in North Dakota yourself. Although no two bankruptcies are the same, you can file your own bankruptcy, but some need extra help with complicated issues in their Mandan bankruptcy. These problems include advice on passing the Chapter 7 Means Test, help with Chapter 13 confirmation hearing, or rare problems such as creditor objections to your discharge. After asking some questions through a free consultation, you can expect to learn that the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer is about $1,150 to assist with your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The cost can be more or less depending on the problems you are facing in your Mandan bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will also cost more because you are setting up a payment plan with creditors. Many find connecting with a lawyer is useful when dealing with specific problems.
How to File Bankruptcy in Mandan, North Dakota for Free
Don’t let the process of filing bankruptcy in Mandan scare you because you have the tools you and help. Freeing yourself from the weight of debt awaits you at the end of a successful bankruptcy.
Collect Your Mandan Bankruptcy Documents
Take the step of collecting your bankruptcy documents as they relate to your debts, income, and assets. Gathering these financial documents will not only help you when completing your bankruptcy paperwork but it will also illustrate your economic circumstances. One of the most helpful records is your credit report. You can order your credit report from the three credit bureaus online. Each will list the creditors you owe, the amount, and their addresses. Like diligent Mandan bankruptcy filers, make a separate list and gather documents of other debts that you don't see on the credit report. Sometimes payments to family members and local cash advance businesses, like Americash don't make it on the credit report. You'll need proof of income such as your paystubs from your employer or profit-loss statements if you are self-employed. Get copies of the most recent two years of your taxes from your preparer or the IRS. Records about what you own are essential, including your vehicle registration, property valuation, and statements from banks, investment, or retirement accounts. Gathering these at the beginning of the process will give you a clear representation of where you are to make the best decisions when filing bankruptcy in Mandan.
Take Credit Counseling
Before you can file your Mandan bankruptcy, you are required to take an approved education course. The pre-bankruptcy education course provides tools and activities to help you explore your options for managing debt, including bankruptcy. The cost of the credit counseling course is between $20- $50, but the agency can waive the charge if you cannot afford to pay. There are no in-person options available, but you can find the course online or take it by telephone. You will get your certificate of completion, valid for six months, after you complete this one-hour credit counseling course. You will submit the credential as proof you completed an approved credit counseling course when you file your North Dakota bankruptcy.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Anyone that has done a marathon or cross-country mountain bike race like the Otter Creek 55 knows that when it gets tough you power through. The same goes for filling out your Mandan bankruptcy forms. You did the prep work by collecting your bankruptcy documents, and now you will complete the bankruptcy forms required for filing bankruptcy in Mandan. The paperwork and instructions you need can be found on the Bankruptcy Court website or easily find them on Upsolve’s North Dakota bankruptcy page. The forms go into specifics about your income, debts, and assets. You can use these instructions to help you make your creditor matrix, so it is complete when filed. You may feel like it’s a lot of repetitive information, but just like when you're cycling around Harmon Lake, stay consistent and power through. Fill out each form with all the required information and do your best. Many North Dakota residents just like you have completed these bankruptcy forms for their Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mandan, and so can you.
Get Your Filing Fee
A filing fee of $335 for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or $310 for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically required when filing bankruptcy in Mandan. There are particular circumstances where you can request time to pay the filing fee in smaller payments (installments) after filing your case, or not pay at all (get a fee waiver). You can apply to either by submitting your installment application or fee waiver application with your Mandan bankruptcy paperwork. The Court will decide whether you qualify for these particular circumstances based on your income compared to other families of the same size. If you fall at or below 150% of the poverty line, then your waiver will likely be granted. If the judge denies your fee waiver, you will have the opportunity to set up installment payments. You can pay in four smaller amounts, and you will have up to 120 days from filing your case to pay your fee in full.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
After you completed your Mandan bankruptcy documents, you will need to print them one-sided. Remember, you will need to file one copy, and it is recommended you make a copy for yourself. The filing packets are about 70 pages so make sure you have enough paper. Those filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mandan find it useful to use a checklist to make sure they’ve printed the documents they need. You can review the information on each page and sign in the appropriate space. On the Voluntary Petition, you'll include your phone number under your name. If you can’t print your documents at home, print at the public library for $0.20 a page or see if a local print shop can beat that price.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
All your Mandan bankruptcy documents, including the certificate of completion for credit counseling, will be submitted to the Bankruptcy Court in Fargo. You can mail your documents to the Court at 655 1st, Suite 210, Fargo, ND 58102-4932. You should include a money order or cashier's check. Include a self-addressed envelope with your extra copy of your bankruptcy petition to be file-stamped. Include the right amount of postage to ensure your copy makes it back to your home in Mandan. You can also sign up for the Court's electronic notifications and stay informed about your case.
If you decide to take the 3-hour trek from Mandan to the courthouse, you'll need to take some extra cash to pay for parking. Plus, if you want to pay your filing fee in person, you can pay cash with exact change, money order, or cashier’s check. You'll want to visit the Court on a weekday between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You'll head to Suite 210, to get the help of the Clerk’s office to review your Mandan bankruptcy filing. They won’t check your filing line by line, but if they find something missing, you’ll know so you can fix it before you leave the courthouse.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
After you file, a Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will be sent to your creditors by the Court. The notice has important information about your Mandan bankruptcy, including deadlines and the date of your 341 meeting. Occasionally, a creditor's address might be incorrect, and you may find one of these notices as return mail at your house. If this happens, you should send the creditor the notice at the correct address. You want the creditor notified about your bankruptcy. Without notice, the creditor might still call you about your debt during your bankruptcy. Find the creditor’s address by calling the creditor or searching your records. Mail the creditor the notice as soon as possible. Then, amend your creditor matrix. You should use the Court's amendment coversheet to reflect that you changed the creditor's address. This way, the creditor can be notified before your 341 Meeting.
Your assigned bankruptcy Trustee will direct your 341 Meeting and oversee your Mandan bankruptcy case. You will want to mail your Trustee your tax returns for the last two years after you file for bankruptcy. The date of your 341 Meeting will be there before you know it, so if the Trustee asks you for more documentation, you should send it quickly to the email or address provided.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
Now you’ll take your pre-discharge bankruptcy course after filing bankruptcy in Mandan. The class is about 90 minutes long and will take you through savings goals and budgeting. You can find it from an approved agency for about $50. If you cannot afford to take it, you should ask the agency if you qualify to receive the course for free. This bankruptcy course is easy enough to complete online or by telephone. Unfortunately, many forget to take it and don't submit their certificate of completion within two months of the date their 341 Meeting. Get this class out of the way, and you'll be another step closer to getting your bankruptcy discharge.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Your 341 meeting of the creditors is another requirement that is not difficult to fulfill, but essential to your Mandan bankruptcy. You'll be relieved to know that you won’t need to trek to Fargo to meet your Trustee because your will be held 341 meeting right across the river in Bismarck. To prepare for this meeting, bring your photo ID, bring your social security card, and wear business casual plain clothes. Don't dress flashy and any jewelry you're wearing should be accounted for in your Mandan bankruptcy filing. During your meeting, you will be sworn in by the Trustee and swear to tell the truth. The Trustee will ask questions and confirm information from your bankruptcy case with you. You’ll find clear brief answers will make your meeting go by more quickly.
Dealing with Your Car
Being right across the river from Bismarck, Mandan is within reach of the Bis-man Transit. There are benefits to catching the CAT, and residents either take the Bis-man or drive. After filing bankruptcy in Mandan, you can decide what to do with your car. Many people want to have the debt extinguished in their Chapter 7 bankruptcy and surrender or give the vehicle back to the lender. Their reasons range from low value and high payments to knowing they can get another car later. Whatever the reason, the benefit of surrendering your vehicle is that the debt will be wiped away in your Mandan bankruptcy.
Some decide to pay the lender the value of the car so they can keep it. They offer the lender a lump sum to redeem the vehicle. Unfortunately, not everyone that redeems their car has the money on hand. Some reach out to redemption lenders and face high-interest rates but get to keep the vehicle for their needs. Others decide to reaffirm their car loan signing a new loan with terms similar to the old loan. They complete and submit a reaffirmation agreement, which a judge must approve. The judge will inquire into their need for the car and warn about the downsides including that the loan will survive their Mandan bankruptcy. If you own your vehicle outright, you can claim an exemption to keep your reasonably priced car through your bankruptcy.
North Dakota Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Mandan
North Dakota Means Test
When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mandan, you can discharge your household or consumer debt by passing the North Dakota bankruptcy Means Test. Pass by proving that you fit within the income limits, through your annual income or by having negative disposable income. You may be exempt from the Means Test if the debt isn't consumer debt or if you fall under a particular exception related to military service. If you aren't exempt and can't pass the Means Test, consider recalculating, filing for Chapter 13, or contacting an attorney.
Median Income Levels for North Dakota
North Dakota 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 Dakota
North Dakota 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 Dakota Bankruptcy Forms
It's essential to submit all the required North Dakota bankruptcy forms to the Court. \. Some forms are specific to the Court that handles your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mandan, including following the instructions to submit your creditor matrix, and verifying the creditor matrix. There is also a form available to make changes such as changes to your Schedules.
North Dakota Exemptions
North Dakota has its own set of bankruptcy exemptions for those filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Mandan. Carefully review the North Dakota bankruptcy exemptions that will help your situation. For example, you may want to use the homestead exemption, but you should know that while acreage is unlimited, the $100,000 amount does not increase even if filing jointly. On the other hand, the automobile exemption can increase for those with a disability and doubles for married couples filing jointly.