The tricky part about financial security in our country these days is that even if you are disciplined about your finances, don't gamble, and do everything by the book, sometimes circumstances completely outside of your control can leave you with more debt than you can handle. For some folks, the lack of affordable health insurance results in tens of thousands of dollars in medical debts. For others, the boom and bust cycle of the construction industry has a real effect, either because their mortgage payment all of the sudden skyrocketed to an unaffordable amount or because they lost their only source of income when the construction company laid everyone off after the market turned. The fact is, life happens, and sometimes you end up in a place that you cannot get out of by yourself. If any of that sounds familiar, or if you are worried that soon you might not be able to make all minimum payments on your debts, then you are doing the right thing by researching your Nevada bankruptcy options. Even though the thought of declaring bankruptcy can be scary, the bankruptcy laws are designed to protect people. Honest but unfortunate debtors can get a fresh start by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada because no one should have to decide between paying a credit card bill or paying rent.
How to File Bankruptcy in Nevada for Free
You do not have to hire a lawyer to help you with your Nevada bankruptcy matter and can instead represent yourself, for free. Additionally, if you earn less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, you can apply to have the fee for filing Chapter 7 in Nevada waived.
Collect your Nevada Bankruptcy Documents
The Nevada bankruptcy documents are those documents that make it easier to make sure that you are not missing any important information when completing the forms for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada. One of the primary requirements everyone filing bankruptcy in Nevada has to meet is the full and accurate disclosure of information to the bankruptcy court. As part of this process, you will have to provide the court with up-to-date addresses for all of your creditors, as well as detailed information about your debts. Since that is not something anyone knows off the top of their head, it is recommended that everyone filing bankruptcy in Nevada or elsewhere get a recent copy of their credit report. Since the court also wants to know about your assets, you will need to compile a listing of everything you own and, to the extent possible, pull the titles for your vehicles, as you may need them after filing Chapter 7 in Nevada. Finally, in order to make sure that you correctly calculate your current and past income, you will need each paycheck stub you have received in the 6 months before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada is filed as well as your most recent federal income tax return.
Take Credit Counseling
In order to be eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, you have to take a credit counseling course. The purpose of the course is to make sure you are aware of the debt relief options you have both in and outside of the bankruptcy context. Everyone filing bankruptcy in Nevada must complete a course like it because the Bankruptcy Code states that you are not eligible to be a debtor without it. Money Management International offers the course in person in their Reno, Henderson, and Las Vegas Locations, though most people filing Chapter 7 in Nevada complete the course online or by phone. There is a small cost associated with the class, so make sure to shop around for a provider that works for you. Keep in mind, however, that the provider has to be pre-approved to offer the course to people filing bankruptcy in Nevada. Once done, you will receive a certificate of completion confirming that you have complied with this requirement. That certificate is submitted to the court along with the rest of your bankruptcy forms when your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada is first filed with the court, so make sure to put it with the rest of your bankruptcy documents.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Now that you have collected all of your forms and confirmed that filing Chapter 7 in Nevada is the best course of action for you after learning about all of your options in the credit counseling course, you are ready to complete your bankruptcy forms. Folks who are eligible to file using Upsolve will provide the necessary information and documents through an online portal, and Upsolve then prepares the forms for them. However, there is nothing that says you can't complete the forms needed for filing Chapter 7 in Nevada by yourself. They are all available for free online, and the federal judiciary has even published a detailed instruction manual you can download for free. The most important thing to remember as you are going through this part of the process is that the tradeoff for the discharge you will receive as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada is a full and honest disclosure of all requested information. That is why it is important to carefully review all questions and your responses thereto, even if someone else is actually completing the forms for you. Even if you hire a lawyer to help you with your Nevada bankruptcy matter, you are the one that has to sign everything under penalty of perjury before the forms can be submitted to the court.
Get your Filing Fee
Even though it may seem strange that you would have to pay a fee in order to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, you do. The fee is necessary to provide funding for the court and the trustees that make the Nevada bankruptcy system work. Also, it's important to remember that no two cases are the same. The mere fact that someone ends up filing bankruptcy in Nevada does not necessarily mean that they cannot pay the $335 court filing fee. As mentioned above, if your income is below a certain threshold, you can ask the court to waive your fee. Keep in mind, however, that the court has to find that you are unable to pay the fee in installments after filing Chapter 7 in Nevada when you no longer have to worry about paying your unsecured creditors. If you are not eligible to have the fee waived, but can't quite save up the full $335 while your creditors are able to collect from you, you can ask the court to allow you to pay the fee for filing Chapter 7 in Nevada in installments after filing your case instead of requesting a waiver. Of course, if you are in a position to pay the full $335 when you first submit all of your bankruptcy forms to the court, then you should do that. Keep in mind, however, that the court only accepts money orders or cashier's checks from folks filing bankruptcy in Nevada without a lawyer ("pro se").
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
The court only allows lawyers to file documents for their clients via the court's electronic filing system. This means that everyone else filing bankruptcy in Nevada without a lawyer has to submit their forms to the court in paper. If you are working with Upsolve, printing the forms will be as simple as hitting print, as you will be provided with a single PDF filing containing all forms needed for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada. Since the forms are submitted to the court on regular 8.5" x 11" white paper, you can print everything from any standard home or office printer. If you completed the forms on your own, then it will be helpful to print some kind of checklist first. Page one of this set of checklists provides you with a roadmap for every single document you will have to print before filing Chapter 7 in Nevada. Even though you don't have to submit each one of the forms to the court right away, it is best to plan on doing so anyway. That way, once you have filed your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, you know you are done with filling out forms and won't have to worry about getting your case dismissed by missing an important filing deadline.
Go to Court to File your Forms
The Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada has offices in Las Vegas and Reno and is unofficially divided into a northern division and a southern division. If you live in the counties of Clark, Esmeralda, Lincoln or Nye the Las Vegas office will handle your case. If you are in any of the other counties, it's best to head to Reno to file the paperwork for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada as that is where your case will be heard. It's best practice to bring a second copy of all of the documents you are submitting when filing bankruptcy in Nevada.
Since you have to give the original to the court this allows you to have the copy stamped by the clerk as confirmation that your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada has been officially filed. If you are not familiar with the area of town the courthouse is located in, make sure to review the directions and parking options before you head out. Even though the court is open from 9 am to 4 pm, it is best to avoid the lunch hour and the end of the day if at all possible, as those times tend to be the busiest times for the clerk's office.
When you arrive at the courthouse, remember that filing Chapter 7 in Nevada is a federal proceeding and you will have to pass through building security on the way in.
As of July 2020, the court is offering a CHAT service for the public. The CHAT Help Desk, which can be accessed through the court's website, answers questions online Monday—Friday during regular court hours. Phone calls to the Help Desk at 866-232-1266 will still be answered.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
Most of the work you have to do when filing Chapter 7 in Nevada is done before the case is filed with the court. That does not mean, however, that you do not have responsibilities after your Nevada bankruptcy case has been commenced. In fact, in order to ensure that your case proceeds smoothly and there are no issues having your discharge entered, it's important to cooperate with the trustee that is assigned by the court to handle your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada. Your trustee may send you a letter shortly after your case has been filed asking you to submit certain documents or information to their office. If you receive such a request, it's important to follow the instructions and submit everything timely. Even if you don't receive such a letter after filing Chapter 7 in Nevada, you have to submit a copy of your most recent federal income tax return to your trustee at least 7 days before the date set for your 341 meetingso make sure to have a redacted (blacked out) copy ready to send in.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
Even though the credit counseling course you took before filing bankruptcy in Nevada rendered you eligible to be a debtor in bankruptcy, you are not automatically eligible to have a discharge entered in your case. Rather, before the court can grant you a discharge, you have to complete a post-filing debtor education course. This course is intended to provide folks filing bankruptcy in Nevada with the tools to responsibly manage their finances going forward. Although there is no hard deadline to complete this course, you risk having your case closed without a discharge being entered if you forget to take care of this. That's why a lot of people in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada plan on completing the course before their 341 meeting takes place. Once done, you will receive a certificate of completion from your provider. Find out whether they plan on filing a copy of your certificate with the court in your Nevada bankruptcy case, as some of the companies approved to offer this course in Nevada handle that step as an added service for their users. If not, simply use your certificate of completion to complete this form and submit that to the court instead.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
The 341 meeting, or "meeting of creditors" as it is sometimes called, takes place about a month or so after you first go to court to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada. Even though it is not a formal court proceeding in front of a bankruptcy judge, this is the one time everyone filing Chapter 7 in Nevada has to physically appear to be questioned. While this sounds scary and stressful, it is not unusual for the 341 meeting to be done in under 10 minutes. Creditors rarely appear in a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, so the meeting is primarily a meeting between you and your trustee. You don't have to do much to make sure you are prepared for your 341 meeting and the most important thing on the day of your meeting is that you bring your picture ID and acceptable proof of your social security number. People filing Chapter 7 in Nevada around the same time your case is filed will have their 341 meeting scheduled for around the same time your meeting takes place. Although it may feel weird to have strangers in the room while you are answering questions about your financial situation, remember that they are all there as a result of filing Chapter 7 in Nevada, just like you.
Dealing with Your Car
Even though it seems like filing bankruptcy in Nevada may complicate your ability to keep your car, that is not actually true. In fact, a Nevada bankruptcy case gives you more options to deal with your car than you otherwise have. Without a bankruptcy, if your car is worth less than what you owe on the loan, neither voluntarily surrendering the car nor letting it get repossessed will get you out of the obligation to pay off the loan. After filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, however, you can surrender the vehicle without having to worry about a deficiency balance as that will be discharged. If you don't have any problems making your car payment and the vehicle is in good enough condition (especially when compared to the balance left on the loan) you can keep everything the same by entering into a reaffirmation agreement. Keep in mind, however, that this also means you will continue to be personally obligated to pay the loan in full no matter what. If you have the ability to raise some funds after filing bankruptcy in Nevada, you may also be able to redeem your car. If you do that, you get to keep the car, but instead of paying off the full loan balance, you only pay the bank the actual value of the vehicle as a lump sum.
Nevada Bankruptcy Means Test
Since it would be unfair to let anyone file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada without regard for their actual ability to pay back their debts, everyone who wishes to do so must first pass the Nevada means test for bankruptcy. This test first compares your income to the median household income for a household of your size. If you exceed the applicable income limits, the Nevada means test for bankruptcy calculates whether filing Chapter 7 in Nevada would result in an abuse of the bankruptcy system. If the test determines that you do not have sufficient disposable income to pay back some at least some of your debts as part of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada.
Data on Median Income Levels for Nevada
Nevada Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Data on Poverty Levels for Nevada
Nevada 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)|
Nevada Bankruptcy Forms
Even though the bankruptcy system is a federal system and a bulk of the forms you need to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada are the same in all states, there are some Nevada bankruptcy forms designed specifically for use in the Silver State. The two local Nevada bankruptcy forms you will need when you first head to court to file your bankruptcy case are the Creditor Matrix and the Verification for the Creditor Matrix. All national and local forms you will need for your Nevada bankruptcy case can be downloaded for free from the court's website.
District of Nevada Requirements
The District of Nevada requires everyone who files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada along with an application to pay the court filing fee in installments to pay a minimum of $61 at the time their petition is first filed. Additionally, you cannot schedule your payments more than 45 days apart after your Nevada bankruptcy is filed. The court has published a full list of all requirements for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada, including helpful links, on its website.
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Nevada Bankruptcy Exemptions
Even though it may not seem like it, everything you own is considered an asset when you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Nevada. If you have lived in the Silver State for at least two years when your case is filed, the Nevada bankruptcy exemptions determine whether any of your assets can be sold for the benefit of your creditors. This is because Nevada bankruptcy laws do not allow you to utilize the federal bankruptcy exemptions.
Nevada Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost
Hiring a Nevada bankruptcy lawyer can be a good investment if you have the financial resources to do so. On average, the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a little higher than in the rest of the country, but a lot of the lawyers offer free initial consultations for Nevada bankruptcy matters.
Attorney cost estimate: $1,100 – $1,500
Nevada Legal Aid Organizations
Nevada legal aid organizations provide free legal assistance to low-income residents in a variety of areas. If you are worried about successfully navigating the Nevada bankruptcy laws and procedures on your own, reach out to one of the organizations providing legal aid in Nevada near you.
Nevada Court Locations
Foley Federal Building
300 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89101
C. Clifton Young Federal Building and United States Courthouse
300 Booth Street Reno, NV 89509
"The process was organized into simple, easy-to-understand steps. There were tips, reminders and clear expansions. There was absolutely no guesswork. You answer the questions, fill in the blanks, print, then submit."
Nevada Bankruptcy Judges
|District of Nevada||Hon. Bruce T. Beesley|
|District of Nevada||Hon. Mike K. Nakagawa|
|District of Nevada||Hon. August B. Landis|
|District of Nevada||Hon. Gregg W. Zive|
|Jeri A. Coppa-Knudsonemail@example.com|
|W. Donald Giesekefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Shelley D. Krohnemail@example.com|
|Christina W. Lovatofirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Lenard E. Schwartzer|
|Brian D. Shapiroemail@example.com|