Written by Attorney Jamie Lee Ruiz.
Updated August 17, 2020
Clovis, New Mexico is a place for new beginnings. Over 100 years ago, Clovis, named after the Clovis arrowhead, was inhabited and created as a stop point for the Santa Fe railways. To this day, Clovis remains a place for new beginnings. If you have found yourself in debt, and have been in search of a way to start over, look no further than your federal bankruptcy court. You may have thought that bankruptcy was an ending, however, it is just the opposite. Filing bankruptcy in Clovis will allow you to wipe your financial slate clean and start fresh. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your unsecured debts are forgiven, and you are able to start again debt free. Unsecured debt is a debt like medical debt or credit card debts. The best candidates for Chapter 7 are those who have a low income and mostly unsecured debts they are not able to pay back. If you can pay back some of your debts, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the best option for you. The trickiest part of bankruptcy is determining what chapter of bankruptcy to file, and how to protect your property. You can protect your property through exemptions. Luckily, New Mexico subscribes to both the federal and state exemptions. Exemptions will be explained further in this guide, but, in short, exemptions help you protect your property (with some limitations) throughout the bankruptcy process. If you decide this is the right decision for you, this process will take you approximately four to six months to complete and you can do it on your own, with the help of legal aid, or by hiring a lawyer. During those four to six months, you will complete and file your bankruptcy forms with the court, take education courses about debt and financial management, and if all goes well, receive your discharge at the end. For those filing bankruptcy in Clovis, you will file your case at the courthouse located in Albuquerque.
Clovis Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
A Clovis bankruptcy lawyer costs between $1,000 to $1,200. This cost is above the national average. However, you may need a bankruptcy attorney to help you with your case or you may determine that the cost-benefit of having an attorney is worth the expense. If you have a complicated case, it is worth having an attorney represent you. But there are some other reasons you may consider hiring a bankruptcy attorney to handle your Clovis bankruptcy. Bankruptcy attorneys are well-versed in bankruptcy law and practice. They will fill out the bankruptcy forms for you and file them with the Court. They will also help translate all the legal terms for you, so that you will know what’s going on in every aspect of your case. Most importantly, for all the work your attorney will do for you, you will only pay them a one-time flat fee. Last, your bankruptcy attorney will represent you at your 341 meeting and see your case all the way to discharge.
How to File Bankruptcy in Clovis , New Mexico for Free
Filing bankruptcy in Clovis does not have to be complicated and you don’t have to hire a lawyer if you can’t afford to. Below, we will outline all the steps you need to take to obtain your discharge and be on your way to a debt-free future.
Collect Your Clovis Bankruptcy Documents
In order to file your Clovis bankruptcy, you will need to gather some important financial information. Your most important resources for filling out your bankruptcy forms are your pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns. You may also consider collecting any bills or collection notices. If you do not have your pay stubs, consider contacting your human resources department at your job. If you know who the payroll servicer for your employer is you may consider contacting them directly. If you do not have your income tax returns, you can make a request for your tax transcript by mail or online to the IRS.
Take Credit Counseling
Before you can file for your Clovis bankruptcy, you will need to take the U.S. Trustee approved credit counseling course. This course must be completed 180 days before your bankruptcy filing. This one hour course will teach you about the options you have for dealing with your debt, including bankruptcy. The course is given online or by phone. There is no live option to take this course in New Mexico. The certificate of completion must be filed with your bankruptcy forms to confirm that you took the course.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Completing the Clovis bankruptcy forms will be the most time-consuming task of this whole process. But, do not fret. Preparation is key when filling out the bankruptcy forms. Gather all of your financial documents: your pay stub, tax returns, bank statements, and monthly bills. These documents will help you fill out the bankruptcy forms. Your pay stubs, tax returns, and, probably, your bank statements will also need to be submitted to the Trustee before your 341 meeting. You can expect that the Court will want to know very detailed information about your financial situation. The forms will ask you about your income, expenses, debts, and leases and/or contracts you’re a party to. Be as thorough as you possibly can.
Get Your Filing Fee
It will cost you $338 to file your Clovis bankruptcy. Paying the filing fee and submitting your forms to the Court gets your case onto the Court’s docket. Understandably, those who are in debt may have some difficulty paying the filing fee. The Court gives filers two options. First, you can apply for a fee waiver. This application is made at the time of filing and requires you to provide information about your income and expenses. It is submitted to a judge who will make the final decision. If your fee waiver application is denied, the judge may propose an installment plan so that you can pay the fee over time. If you’re not eligible to apply for a waiver,you may instead apply to make installment payments after filing bankruptcy in Clovis.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
Once your Clovis bankruptcy forms are in final format, you are ready to print them and file them with the Court. You will need to print two, one-sided copies. To make things easier, you can print one copy, sign it, and then make a copy of the signed version. The original signed version should be submitted to the Court. Keep the copy for your records. If you do not have access to a printer at home, consider printing at a friend or relative’s house. If that is not an option for you, consider using the public library or a paid-printing service such as Kinkos or Staples.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
If you are filing bankruptcy in Clovis, you will file your forms at the Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse located at 333 Lomas Blvd. NW, Suite 360 in Albuquerque. The courthouse is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and federal holidays. The courthouse is a secure government building, so you’ll need to go through a security checkpoint when you enter. It is always a good idea to bring a government-issued identification when visiting the courthouse. Additionally, electronic devices are not allowed in the courthouse. Consider leaving your cell phone and tablet in the car or at home. Once you have made it past security, you will go to the bankruptcy clerk’s office to file your forms.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
After filing your Clovis bankruptcy with the Court, you will need to send certain financial documents to the trustee. The trustee is a court representative assigned to your case to verify your financial information in both your documents and bankruptcy forms filed with the Court. The trustee acts as a representative for your unsecured creditors, so you don’t have to deal with them directly. The trustee will recover any post-bankruptcy payments made to creditors and use it to the benefit of all creditors. In the ten days before your 341 meeting, you will need to submit your pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns to the Trustee for review.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
As a requirement to receive your discharge in your Clovis bankruptcy, you will need to take a financial management course. This one hour course is a U.S. Trustee approved course that will give you tips and tools to maintain healthy financial habits post-bankruptcy. You can take this course over the phone or online, so long as it is an approved course. There is no live option for this course in New Mexico. Once you have finished the course, you will receive a certificate of completion by mail or via email. You will submit this to the Court. The Court can’t award you your discharge if you have not filed this certificate.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
Your 341 meeting is the first and typically only court appearance in your Clovis bankruptcy. You will report to the below location for your 341 meeting:
Chaves County Magistrate Court
400 North Virginia Street
Roswell, NM 88201
Make sure to have two forms of identification on you: your driver’s license and your original social security card. Typically, you will be meeting with only the Trustee, but your creditors (the people you owe) do have the option of coming to the 341 meeting. This seldom ever happens. The Trustee will ask you about your bankruptcy forms and you will answer any questions they may have. They may also ask you if you have any information you want to add to your forms. Typically, this meeting lasts 10-15 minutes.
Dealing with Your Car
Your car is likely one of your most-used assets, and so it’s not unusual if you want to keep it before, during, and after your Clovis bankruptcy. You have several options available for you to protect your car during the bankruptcy process. If you own your car, we recommend that you become familiar with the bankruptcy exemptions available to you to protect it. We will discuss exemptions at the end of this guide. If you have an existing loan, you may consider reaffirmation or redemption. A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement between you and your lender that you will continue making payments during and after bankruptcy. Redemption is when you buy your car outright for its value, while discharging the loan balance as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Clovis.
New Mexico Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Clovis
New Mexico Means Test
The New Mexico bankruptcy Means Test measures the income, expenses, and debts of Clovis bankruptcy filers to determine if they can pay their debts over time. You may qualify for an exemption to the Means Test if you are a veteran or currently in active service or your debts are primarily non-consumer debts.
Median Income Levels for New Mexico
New Mexico Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
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Poverty Levels for New Mexico
New Mexico Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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New Mexico Bankruptcy Forms
You can find the New Mexico bankruptcy forms available for download on the Court’s website. There are no local forms required when first filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Clovis.
New Mexico Exemptions
When it comes to protecting your property in New Mexico, you have options. Careful consideration of the federal and local New Mexico bankruptcy exemptions will help you keep most, if not all of your property after you file for Clovis bankruptcy.