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Filing Bankruptcy in Reno, Nevada

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Written by Attorney Eva Bacevice
Updated April 21, 2022

Renoites who are experiencing financial hardship can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get debt relief and a fresh start. Chapter 7 allows most people to walk away from most of their debts (if not all) while keeping their property and possessions. It’s also a fairly quick process — often only taking four to six months to get your discharge. If you decide to file Chapter 13, the process takes longer because you’ll be on a 3-5 year repayment plan.

To decide which chapter is right for you, you’ll need to look at how much of your debt is unsecured and how much is secured debt. Unsecured debts like medical bills and credit card debt aren’t tied to a specific item. Secured debts like a mortgage or car loan are tied to property. If you have a lot of unsecured debts, Chapter 7 may be the way to go. But if you have a home or car you want to keep and you need to catch up on the loan, you may want to look into Chapter 13 instead. You’ll also need to consider the requirements to file.

How Much Do Reno Bankruptcy Lawyers Cost?

Ironically, it often costs money to file bankruptcy. The biggest cost for filing is hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. In Reno, the average cost for a bankruptcy attorney is $1,100 to $1,500 for a Chapter 7 case. If you can’t afford the cost of an attorney to assist you, you’re not alone. And you have some options! 

First, most bankruptcy attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Take advantage of this to get some free legal advice. If you do decide to hire, this also gives you a chance to find a good fit.

You can also contact local legal aid organizations. These nonprofits organizations offer free legal assistance to low-income individuals. 

Finally, if you have a simple Chapter 7 case, you may be able to file for free using Upsolve’s filing tool.

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How To File Bankruptcy in Reno, Nevada for Free

Upsolve can show you how to file bankruptcy in Reno for little or no cost. You can avoid paying attorney fees and still have a successful Reno bankruptcy by having Upsolve guide you through the process, beginning with the below steps:

Collect Your Reno Bankruptcy Documents

Your first step is to collect the documents you need to show your eligibility to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Reno, as well as the documents you need to fill out the paperwork. You need to have the past sixty days of pay stubs (or other proof of income), your income taxes from the past two years (federal and state), and recent financial statements for any accounts (bank accounts, etc.). You'll also need to list all of your property (assets) and all of your debts (liabilities) in your Reno bankruptcy forms. For the debts, you may want to order a free copy of your credit report to make sure you properly list all your creditors and their addresses.

Take Credit Counseling

Next, you'll need to complete the first of two required credit counseling courses as part of your Reno bankruptcy. The first course needs to be completed before you can file your Nevada bankruptcy. It's important to confirm that you are using an approved agency for each course. Most agencies provide only online or phone appointments to take the courses. If you prefer to go in person, there is one agency with a location directly in Reno, Money Management International, located on Kietzke Lane.  

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

The next and probably most time-consuming task is to complete your Reno bankruptcy paperwork. You'll need to fill out all of the federal bankruptcy forms as well as whichever local forms might apply to you for a complete set of Nevada bankruptcy paperwork. You can find links to pdf copies all of the forms on the United States Bankruptcy Court District of Nevada’s official website if you want to fill out all of the forms yourself. You can also go through a questionnaire from Upsolve. We will then populate your answers into the proper forms which may save you some time.  

Get Your Filing Fee

After completing all of your paperwork you'll need to deal with the filing fee. The Nevada bankruptcy filing fee for Chapter 7 is $338. The fee must be paid in full using certified funds (money order or cashier’s check).

If you can’t afford the filing fee and can show that you earn less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines you can apply to waive the filing fee in its entirety. If you simply can’t afford to pay it all at once you can apply to pay the filing fee in installments. If you do decide to pay in installments, make sure you can pay in the required four (or fewer) installments within 120 days of filing your case. Otherwise, you risk having your case dismissed. 

The last task before you are ready to file your Reno bankruptcy is to print out your forms. There are specific local rules that require the original forms as well as an additional copy, which is returned to you, so make certain to have both. If you have a printer at home or work you can print out both copies, just be certain to print the forms single-sided as the Court will not accept double-sided paperwork for your Nevada bankruptcy. If you don’t have easy access to a printer you can go to any branch of the Downtown Reno branch of the Washoe County Public Library system for printing services or try a local Office Depot

Go to Court To File Your Forms

The Nevada Bankruptcy Court has two locations where you can file your Nevada bankruptcy. Conveniently, one is located on Booth Street in Reno. It's best to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms in person in case there are any small issues to address or mistakes to correct. You'll also get your own time-stamped copy of the documents at this time.

The court is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but it's closed on federal holidays so be sure to check the calendar before heading out. When you go to file your forms, bring your filing fee (or application to waive or pay in installments) and the certificate of completion from your first credit counseling course. 

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

After your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Reno is filed you'll be assigned to a bankruptcy Trustee to oversee your case. You'll receive an official notice with your Trustee assignment and 341 meeting date shortly after filing bankruptcy in Reno. Your Trustee will also send out a letter listing specific documents they need before your hearing. You should have a copy of your federal income tax return ready to go from the last tax year. The Trustee will need this (and any other documents requested) at least seven days before your scheduled meeting. It's important not to miss this deadline as it might delay your meeting and the entry of your discharge order. 

Take a Debtor Education Course

It's a great idea to take the second course required for your Nevada bankruptcy — a debtor education course — while you're waiting to attend your 341 meeting. Just like with the first course you'll need to use one of the approved agencies.

You can complete the course online or over the phone. When you finish the course, be sure to file your certificate of completion with the bankruptcy court. You can file it at the same location where you originally filed your Reno bankruptcy. 

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The next, and most likely final, step in your Reno bankruptcy is to attend your 341 meeting. It's perfectly normal to be a little nervous about this meeting, but you can decrease this stress with some preparation. It can also help to know that this meeting is before your trustee, not a judge, and it tends to be pretty quick. The meeting may only last 10-15 minutes.

During the meeting, the trustee asks you questions under oath to confirm that all of the information in your Nevada bankruptcy paperwork is true and accurate. Be sure to bring along the proper documents to verify your identity and Social Security number. If you don't, the meeting may have to be rescheduled. Once your trustee states that they've concluded the hearing, you don't need to complete any other tasks. Just wait for your notice of discharge and cooperate with your trustee if they need anything else from you. 

Deal With Your Car

One question many people have is whether filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Reno will impact their car. The answer depends on several factors.

First, if you're making payments on your car, are those payments current? If not you'll need to surrender the car in Chapter 7 because Chapter 7 doesn't allow you to catch up on payments. The benefit of surrendering your car in bankruptcy is that in addition to freeing yourself from the continuing payment obligation, you can also walk away from any missed payments, late fees, and accrued interest.

If you're current on your payments and you want to keep the car, the lender may ask you to sign a reaffirmation agreement so that the obligation to continue making payments survives the bankruptcy. So long as you can use an exemption to protect the equity in your car, you should be able to keep it.

Nevada Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Reno

Nevada Means Test

Before you can file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Reno, you need to show that you are eligible through the means test. You can pass the Nevada bankruptcy means test immediately if your income is less than the median income for a similarly sized Nevada household. You can also pass the Nevada bankruptcy means test by showing a more extensive calculation that examines your income and reasonable monthly expenses. If this shows that at the end of the month you have little or no income remaining, you'll qualify for Chapter 7.

Median Income Levels for Nevada

Nevada Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed In 2023
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income

Poverty Levels for Nevada 

Nevada Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed In 2023

Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.

Household SizeState Poverty LevelFee Waiver Limit (150% PL)

Nevada Bankruptcy Forms

Your Nevada bankruptcy forms will need to include both the federal forms as well as any necessary local forms as outlined in the court’s list of filing requirements. Also, remember that when filing bankruptcy in Reno you'll need to file your original forms plus one copy.

Nevada Exemptions

You'll be able to protect most (or possibly all) of your possessions during your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Reno through the use of exemptions. Nevada does not allow the use of federal bankruptcy exemptions, so anyone filing in Reno is limited to only using the Nevada bankruptcy exemptions.

Written By:

Attorney Eva Bacevice


Eva G. Bacevice graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2001. She practiced law for close to a decade in the area of consumer bankruptcy. She now works in higher education as an Academic Advisor for undergraduate students at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business,... read more about Attorney Eva Bacevice

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