Nebraska bankruptcy

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Summary

The two primary expenses associated with filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska are the court filing fee and the fee for the lawyer. You don't have to hire a lawyer for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska and if your income is so low that you can't afford to pay the court filing fee, you can ask the court to waive it and allow you to file your Nebraska bankruptcy for free.

According to the national average, bankruptcy filings decreased from 2017 to 2018 though the same is not true for Nebraska, where filings in 2018 increased for the first time in 8 years. It's a tough time to be a farmer these days and everyone in the farm belt is feeling it. If you are feeling the pressure and are worried about your ability to pay your debts as they come due, you are doing the right thing by researching your options. While the thought of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska may be scary, remember, the bankruptcy laws were created to help regular folks like yourself who are struggling to pay they debts. The Nebraska Bankruptcy Court not only protects large companies, like Shopko, which filed a Nebraska bankruptcy case earlier this year, or big farm operations, but all honest but unfortunate debtors who struggle with their monthly bills. Whether you are having a hard time making ends meet because your wages have not kept up with price increases, or had to cover a large unexpected expenses, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska gives you the opportunity to start fresh and free your family from living on the brink of financial disaster.

How to File Bankruptcy in Nebraska for Free

The two primary expenses associated with filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska are the court filing fee and the fee for the lawyer. You don't have to hire a lawyer for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska and if your income is so low that you can't afford to pay the court filing fee, you can ask the court to waive it and allow you to file your Nebraska bankruptcy for free.


Collect Your Nebraska Bankruptcy Documents

Filing bankruptcy in Nebraska, or anywhere really, starts with a lot of paperwork. That is because the bulk of your work is done before you ever go to court to file your case. This, of course, means that you are in control with respect to the timing of your filing and, more importantly, you can manage your stress levels (to the extent that is even possible) by being organized and therefore in control every step of the way. The first thing you should do is collect your bankruptcy documents. These are the documents that you will need for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska. At the outset, collect all the paycheck stubs you received in the last 6 months. If you get paid via direct deposit, it's possible that your paycheck stubs were emailed to you each payday. In that case, it will be easy enough to search your inbox to find them. You also need a copy of at least one, though if possible, all three, of your credit reports. You can request them from each reporting agency individually, or request them through a third party. While you may not need your full income tax return from last year for completing the forms, you will need it later in the process. The same is true for your bank account statements for the months before filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska.

Take Credit Counseling

Everyone filing bankruptcy in Nebraska has to take credit counseling; it's a requirement in order to be eligible to receive relief in Bankruptcy Court. You have up to six months to file your case once you complete the credit counseling class, or you will have to take it again. The course can only be taken through a pre-approved provider. Most folks filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska complete the course online or over the phone. There is, however, a local company, called the Credit Advisors Foundation that offers the class in person. Of course, if you are not from the Omaha area, it may not make sense to travel all the way there for a 1 - 2 hour class. Once you are done, you will receive a certificate of completion that will have to be filed with the court along with the rest of the forms needed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska. If possible, make sure to print a copy and put it with the rest of your bankruptcy documents so it doesn't get lost in your email inbox.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

Completing the forms that you have to provide to the court for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska is typically the longest and most tedious part of the process. It is tedious because you have an obligation to fully disclose all aspects of your financial affairs, and because you have to use the official court forms. If you are eligible to use Upsolve when filing bankruptcy in Nebraska, we will handle the more tedious parts of the forms once you provide all of the required information. Folks who hire a lawyer for their Nebraska bankruptcy typically work with the lawyer's office to complete the forms. You can get everything you need for free online, either as individual fillable PDF documents, or by downloading this packet from the Nebraska Bankruptcy Court. If you are working on this by yourself, you should also download a copy of the free instruction manual for folks filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska, or anywhere else, created by the federal judiciary when they recently redesigned the forms.

Get Your Filing Fee

The court will only agree to waive the fee for filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska if you make less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines and the judge finds that you cannot afford to pay the fee in installments. Merely being below the income threshold is not enough. The fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska is $335. The court does not accept cash from debtors, so you will have to purchase either a cashier's check or a money order. Money orders can be purchased from any U.S. Post Office near you. It's best to purchase it as soon as you have the full $335 necessary to file your case saved up. Money orders never expire and once you don't have the cash sitting at home or in your bank account you won't be able to accidentally spend it. If you are unable to save up the full fee for needed when filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska, you can ask the court to make payments on it after your case has been filed. This allows you to get the protections afforded by the automatic stay right away and gives you up to 90 days to pay the full amount. The Nebraska Bankruptcy Court's website seems to indicate that if you want to pay the fee in installments, you have to pay at least $75 at the time your case is filed, though it is unclear whether that requirement is still in effect. However, since you only have 3 months to pay the full fee, it's a good practice to plan on paying at least $75 at the time your case is filed. If that presents a hardship for you, call the clerk's office to confirm that won't be a problem.

Since you have to provide all the forms for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska to the court in paper, you will have to print everything at least once. It's recommended that you print everything twice, so you have a copy for your own records. While your copy can be double-sided, you should not print the packet you plan on submitting to the court double-sided. Also, try to avoid stapling any of the documents together. If you're working with Upsolve, we will send you a single PDF, so you can simply hit print and go get yourself a cup of coffee from the kitchen. Once everything has been printed, carefully review everything one more time before signing everything. Remember, filing bankruptcy in Nebraska carries certain duties and requirements for debtors, the primary one being full and accurate disclosure of all relevant information. If you completed all the forms on your own, and you have them all saved as a separate PDF filing on your computer, consider printing out a checklist like this one first.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

Even though you can technically commence a Nebraska bankruptcy case by mailing all the required documents and the fee to the court at its Omaha address, if you can, you should plan to visit the courthouse in person to file your initial paperwork. This avoids any delay due to mailing. Additionally, if anything is missing from the paperwork you prepared for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska, the clerk's office can provide you with instructions on exactly what you need and where you can get it. If you file your case by mailing everything in, you will get a form notice a few days after filing bankruptcy in Nebraska letting you know that your forms were deficient. Even though you can only mail documents to the Omaha location, you can visit the courthouse in either Omaha or Lincoln to file your paperwork. When you head to the court, make sure that you are prepared to pass through building security on your way in. The clerk's office is the office within in the courthouse that assists folks filing bankruptcy in Nebraska without a lawyer. They tend to be busiest at the end of the day and during the lunch hour, so plan for a little wait if you end up going during those times.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

Once your case is filed, the court will appoint a trustee for your case. The trustee is the person that administers, or handles, your Nebraska bankruptcy case. You can find the name and contact information for your trustee on the official notice you receive from the court after filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska. You have to make sure that you provide a copy of your most recent income tax return to your trustee at least 7 days before your creditors' meeting. Depending on the trustee assigned to your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska, you may receive a letter from them shortly after your case is filed asking you to submit certain other information or documents to their office in connection with your case. Since you have a duty to cooperate with the trustee, and failure to do so can result in the loss of your discharge, it is important to carefully review the trustee's requests and, assuming it is not unduly burdensome to do so, timely respond according to the instructions the trustee provided.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

Everyone filing bankruptcy in Nebraska must take a financial management course before their discharge can be entered. This course is similar to the first credit counseling course only to the extent that it's a requirement under the Bankruptcy Code. Also referred to as a debtor education course, this class teaches folks filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska how to create and follow a budget and manage their finances responsibly so as to make the most out of their fresh start. As before, you must take the course from a company that the United States Trustee has approved for Nebraska bankruptcy cases. If you want to take the class in person, you will have to travel to Omaha again, as most companies offer it only online or by phone. When you are done, you have to let the court know by filing this certification. Since it will be a natural reminder, it's recommended you plan to take the course before your creditors meeting. That will also give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have done all that is required in order to obtain your discharge once your creditors' meeting is done. If you don't take the course or forget to file the certification, the court can close your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska without entering your discharge.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The creditors' meeting, or 341 meeting of creditors as it is sometimes called, takes place about 20 to 40 days after your Nebraska bankruptcy case is first filed. Since it is basically the same for everyone filing Chapter 7, it's fairly easy to prepare for it. The most important thing - other than showing up on time - is to bring a valid picture ID and acceptable proof of your social security number. This may seem a little strange, but the trustee is required to check your IDs before they can conduct the meeting, and if you don't have two acceptable forms of ID with you, your meeting may get continued. Even though that is not fatal to your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska, it does mean you will have to attend a second meeting and risk delaying the entry of your discharge. The meeting itself typically lasts less than 10 minutes. The only time it can take longer is if your trustee has questions for you that go beyond the standard questions they ask everyone filing Chapter 7 in Nebraska or if a creditor shows up to ask you questions. Even though all creditors receive a notice telling them about the meeting, it is rare to see one actually attend a creditors' meeting.

Dealing with Your Car

What a lot of people don't realize is that filing bankruptcy in Nebraska gives you options to deal with your car that you don't have outside of the bankruptcy context. If you are stuck in a bad car loan, with a high interest rate, a lot of negative equity and a payment you can't really afford, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska gives you the chance to surrender the car without worrying about paying the rest of the loan. Outside of the bankruptcy context, if you simply return your car you are still responsible to pay off the loan. On the other hand, if you are happy with the way things are, you can keep the car with the same loan that you had when your Nebraska bankruptcy was first filed. In order to do this, you will have to enter into a reaffirmation agreement. Since the reaffirmation agreement effectively pulls your car loan out of the pool of debts you are discharging, make sure you are able to afford the monthly payment, so you don't end up back where you started before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska was filed. Of course, if you don't have a car loan then you don't have to worry about any of that and as long as the value of the vehicle is less than the applicable exemption, you will be able to keep the vehicle.

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Nebraska Bankruptcy Means Test

If your household income is greater than the income limits as determined by the median household income for a household of your size, you are only eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska if the you "pass" the so-called means test. In order to make sure that no one is abusing the system, the Nebraska means test for bankruptcy carefully calculates whether, after deducting certain predetermined expenses, you actually lack the ability to pay even a portion of your debts. Only folks whose Nevada means test for bankruptcy shows that they do not have sufficient disposable income are eligible to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska.

Data on Median income levels for Nebraska

Nebraska Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2019
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$4,171.75$50,061.00
2$5,838.42$70,061.00
3$6,390.58$76,687.00
4$7,780.17$93,362.00
5$8,530.17$102,362.00
6$9,280.17$111,362.00
7$10,030.17$120,362.00
8$10,780.17$129,362.00
9$11,530.17$138,362.00
10$12,280.17$147,362.00

Data on Poverty levels for Nebraska

Nebraska 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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Nebraska Bankruptcy Forms

The Nebraska bankruptcy forms are the specific forms that folks filing bankruptcy in Nebraska submit to the court during the course of their case. The official national forms make up a majority of the Nebraska Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. All local forms created by the court for use in Nebraska bankruptcy cases only are attached to the court's Local Rules.

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District of Nebraska Requirements

The Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nebraska does not specify any additional requirements for folks filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska. If you are reaffirming a car loan, you should review the Reaffirmation Checklist the court created to assist folks without a lawyer navigate the process. Since the district spans the entire state, 341 meetings are held in different locations depending on the county you live in and the chapter your Nebraska bankruptcy case was filed under.

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Nebraska Bankruptcy Exemptions

The Nebraska bankruptcy exemptions determine which assets, if any, may be sold for the benefit of your creditors as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nebraska. If you have lived in the state for at least two years when your bankruptcy case is filed, you must use the Nebraska bankruptcy exemptions as set forth in state law. You may not use the federal bankruptcy exemptions for your Nebraska bankruptcy case, although you are allowed to use federal nonbankruptcy exemptions, if appropriate.

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Nebraska Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

Although you don't have to hire a lawyer to help you with your Nebraska bankruptcy case, depending on your circumstances, it may be a good investment to make. The average cost of a bankruptcy lawyer is between $1,100 and $1,200 though a lot of Nebraska bankruptcy lawyers do not charge a fee for the initial consultation.

  • Attorney cost estimate: $1,100 – $1,200

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Not everyone who needs a lawyer for their Nebraska bankruptcy matter can afford to pay for one. Nebraska legal aid organizations provide free legal services to eligible residents in civil matters. If you are looking for Nebraska legal aid resources in your area, the Nebraska State Bar (the organization governing all the lawyers in the state) has a Volunteer Lawyers Project offering free services to eligible Nebraskans. Alternatively, you can contact Legal Aid of Nebraska, Inc. directly to see if they can help you.

Legal Aid of Nebraska
(402) 348-1069
209 S. 19th Street, Suite 200, Omaha, NE 68102-2533

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Nebraska Court Locations

Roman L. Hruska United States Courthouse
402-661-7444
111 South 18th Plaza Omaha, NE 68102

Roman L. Hruska United States Courthouse

Robert V. Denney United States Courthouse
402-437-1625
100 Centennial Mall North Lincoln, NE 68508

Robert V. Denney United States Courthouse
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Nebraska Judges

Nebraska Bankruptcy Judges
DistrictJudge Name
District of NebraskaHon. Thomas L. Saladino
District of NebraskaHon. Shon Hastings
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Nebraska Trustees

Nebraska Trustees
TrusteeContact Info
Stacy C. Bach
(308) 632-3089
Philip M. Kelly
(308)632-7191
Brian S. Krusebkruse@remboltlawfirm.com
(402) 475-5100
Richard D. Myers
(402)492-9200
James A. Overcashjovercash@woodsaitken.com
(402) 437-8500
John D. Stalnakerj.stalnaker@sbbpc.com
(402) 393-5421
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