South Carolina Bankruptcy

Successful debtor 1
Successful debtor 2
Successful debtor 3
Successful debtor 4
Successful debtor 5
2,082 families filed bankruptcy using Upsolve.

A nonprofit that helps you file bankruptcy for free.
  • We've helped over 1,000 families each clear on average $51,912 of debt.
  • Our users often file within 10 days of starting.
  • Our award winning nonprofit's help is 100% free.
Summary

Even though there is a $335 court filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina, you can ask the court to waive this fee. As long as your income is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines and the court finds that you are unable to pay the fee even after filing bankruptcy in South Carolina, you can file your case for free.

There are few things in life more stressful than having to decide between paying a credit card bill and buying groceries for your family. The Founding Fathers knew all too well that sometimes you can end up in a situation due to no fault of your own that leaves you no choice but to default on your debts. That is why they authorized the Congress to create bankruptcy laws in the first place. In fact, South Carolina bankruptcy laws have been around even longer, with the second version being ratified by South Carolina Governor Francis Nicholson in June 1722. With the primary season starting very early this year, chances are your phone is ringing constantly already, with various candidates or campaigns asking you for money, or random pollsters wanting to know what you are thinking. If you've already defaulted on some of your debts, you know that your creditors will also call, a lot. Seeking bankruptcy protection by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina can end the phone calls from your creditors and give you a much-needed fresh start. This guide is intended to give you a general overview of how the South Carolina bankruptcy laws and procedures operate almost 300 years after the "Act for the Relief of Poor Debtors" was first ratified in the Palmetto State.

How to File Bankruptcy in South Carolina for Free

Even though there is a $335 court filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina, you can ask the court to waive this fee. As long as your income is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines and the court finds that you are unable to pay the fee even after filing bankruptcy in South Carolina, you can file your case for free.


Collect Your South Carolina Bankruptcy Documents

Your bankruptcy documents are comprised of whatever documents you need to make sure all of the relevant information is properly disclosed to the court when you file your South Carolina bankruptcy. A big part of every bankruptcy is the notice that is provided to the creditors after the case is filed with the court. To help you capture everyone who is trying to collect money from you, the first thing you should do is collect every bill or collection notice you've received in the last 3 months. In addition, you should get a copy of your credit report from at least one of the three credit reporting agencies. You are entitled to a free copy from each one of them each year, and can make the request online through a third party website, or based on the instructions provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You will also need every paycheck stub you have received in the last 6 months to properly calculate your income for the eligibility analysis known as the "means test" that everyone filing Chapter 7 in South Carolina has to complete. Your recent bank statements may be helpful to figure out your monthly expenses and may need to be provided to the trustee administering your case later. The same is true with respect to your most recent federal tax return; it'll be a useful reference for disclosing last year's income, and it has to be provided to the trustee after filing bankruptcy in South Carolina.

Take Credit Counseling

In order to be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina you have to complete credit counseling in the 6 months before your case can be filed with the court. This class takes about 1 - 2 hours to complete and is intended to make sure you know all of your options for debt relief. Even though most people filing bankruptcy in South Carolina take the class online or over the phone, there are two providers (CCCS of Savannah Area and Family Services, Inc.) offering this class in person. As long as you choose a provider that has been approved by the United States Trustee to offer the course to folks filing bankruptcy in South Carolina, you can go with whatever option works best for you. Once done, you will receive a certificate confirming that you completed the course. The certificate is filed with the rest of your bankruptcy documents, so the court has a record that you in fact completed the course. The cost of the course varies from provider to provider, but you can expect to pay between $15 - $50. Since the certificate is valid for 180 days after you complete the class, you have time to plan ahead and take it earlier in the process. That way, you can focus on saving up for the court filing fee as you prepare for the planned filing of your South Carolina bankruptcy.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

While you can complete this step even before you take your credit counseling class, some of the information in the bankruptcy forms you have to file with the court for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina is time sensitive. So, if you know it will be a while before you can file your case after your class has been completed, it may make sense to wait with this step until you are a little closer to your planned filing date. The bankruptcy forms provide the court, your trustee, and your creditors with the information you must disclose as part of filling bankruptcy in South Carolina. If you hire a lawyer, their office will complete the forms based on the information and documents you provide to their office. If you are eligible for free help from Upsolve, we will guide you through the process to make sure your bankruptcy forms are properly completed. All of the bankruptcy forms can be downloaded for free as fillable PDF forms along with a detailed instructions manual. Whichever route you choose to complete the forms necessary for filing Chapter 7 in South Carolina, it is crucial to make sure that you are not leaving anything out. After all, you will have to sign the documents under penalty of perjury before they can be submitted to the court.

Get Your Filing Fee

The court only grants a fee waiver to folks filing Chapter 7 in South Carolina that make less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines and can't pay the fee in installments because they simply don't have the money left over after paying their necessary living expenses. If you do not qualify to have your court filing fee waived, make sure to give yourself enough time to raise the full amount. You don't want to have everything ready only to realize that you can't actually file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina yet because you don't have the full amount ready to go. The court accepts cash (exact amount only), a certified check, or a money order, payable to "Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court". You can purchase a money order for $1.25 at any U.S. Post Office near you. If you have to file before you can raise the entire amount needed for filing Chapter 7 in South Carolina, or if your wages are getting garnished, making it virtually impossible for you to save up the fee, you can ask the court for permission to pay it in installments after your case has been filed. This allows you to get the protections of the automatic stay now and gives you up to four months to pay the fee. If you apply to pay your fee in installments, make sure to pay attention to the due dates the court will set, as missing a payment can lead to your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina being thrown out before you get your discharge.

This is the last step before you are officially ready to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina. Since all of the forms look alike and considering the sheer number of the different forms necessary for filing bankruptcy in South Carolina, make sure you give yourself enough time for this step. This is especially true if you completed the forms on your own, and now have them all saved as separate files on your computer. If you are working with Upsolve, we will provide you with a single form packet to print as is, making it impossible for you to forget any one of the forms that you will need for your South Carolina bankruptcy. If not, you should print out the first page of this collection of checklists before anything else, so you can keep track of everything as you go. Even though these documents are to be filed with a court, they are printed on regular 8.5" x 11" sized paper; though you should not print on both sides of the paper as the court will not accept that. It is recommended that you take the time to print a complete second copy of everything you plan on submitting to the court when filing bankruptcy in South Carolina, so you have it for your records.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

Only attorneys filing bankruptcy in South Carolina on behalf of their clients are able to do so electronically. Everyone else has to submit a paper version of all of their bankruptcy forms to the court. While you can file your case by mailing everything to the clerk's office, it's recommended that you take the time to file the documents needed for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina in person. That helps avoid any delays due to mailing and gives you the opportunity to correct any errors, or add a missing signature right then and there, rather than having to deal with a deficiency notice the court will mail to you otherwise. Even though the court has locations in Charleston, Columbia and Spartanburg, only the Columbia office has a fully staffed bankruptcy clerk's office. If you plan on heading to Charleston or Spartanburg to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina, you should give the clerk's office a call first to confirm they can assist you with this. When you get to the courthouse, remember that you will be entering a federal building, which means you will have to pass through building security on your way in.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

In addition to the automatic stay going into effect as soon as your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina is filed, the court will randomly assign a trustee to administer your case and set the date for your creditors' meeting. The trustee's duties include verifying the information you provided in the documents you submitted to the court when filing bankruptcy in South Carolina. This means, among other things, that the trustee will want to see a copy of your most recent federal income tax return as filed with the IRS, and you are, in fact, obligated to send a copy to the trustee at least 7 days before your creditors' meeting. Depending on which trustee is assigned to your case, you may also be required to submit other documentation to their office in preparation for the creditors' meeting. If so, your trustee will likely send you a letter shortly after filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina with a list of their requirements. It's important to keep an eye out for such a letter and review and respond to it in a timely manner as cooperating with you trustee is one of your duties as a debtor in bankruptcy. It's equally important to send a copy of your tax return to the trustee even if you don't receive a request for other information from their office, as everyone filing Chapter 7 in South Carolina has to provide this even if not prompted.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

You took credit counseling before filing Chapter 7 in South Carolina in order to be eligible to be a debtor in bankruptcy. Now that you are a debtor in bankruptcy, you have to take a second class in order to be eligible to receive your discharge. Since the discharge is what you really want out of your South Carolina bankruptcy case, it's important not to forget about this requirement. Even though there is no hard deadline to complete the course, you should plan on getting it done before your creditors' meeting. It's pretty easy to forget about it after that is done and the court can close your case without entering the discharge if you forget. As before, the course must be completed through a company that is pre-approved to offer it to people filing bankruptcy in South Carolina. As you decide which provider to use, ask if they will file a certificate notifying the court that you completed this requirement after you are done. If not, you will have to file this certification instead as, without it, the court will not know that you are ready to have the discharge entered in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The creditors' meeting is sometimes referred to as the 341 meeting because that is the section of the Bankruptcy Code that mandates it. The meeting takes place approximately 20 - 40 days after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina has been filed with the court. Depending on where you live, the meeting will take place at the courthouse in either Charleston, Columbia or Spartanburg. The official notice you receive from the court shortly after filing bankruptcy in South Carolina contains all necessary details about your 341 meeting. Even though it is called a creditors' meeting and creditors are invited to attend, that does not usually happen. Typically, it's nothing more than a meeting with your trustee, who has to first verify your identity by reviewing a picture ID and your social security card or other acceptable proof of your social security number. Once that is done the trustee will put you under oath and then ask you a set of standard questions that they ask everyone filing Chapter 7 in South Carolina. Since multiple meetings are scheduled for the same 30-minute time slot you will probably get the opportunity to watch at least one of the meetings before your case is called. It's recommended that everyone take just a few minutes to review the forms they filed with the South Carolina Bankruptcy Court to prepare for the meeting, so their memory is fresh when the trustee starts asking questions.

Dealing with Your Car

Concern about what a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina means for your vehicle is normal. After all, chances are you need the car to travel to work and back, among other things. The good news is that filing bankruptcy in South Carolina puts you in the driver's seat, meaning you can choose what to do with the car. Do you love the car, your monthly payment is manageable, and the remaining loan balance does not significantly exceed the current value of your vehicle? If so, you can choose to keep everything the way it was before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina was filed. This is done by way of a reaffirmation agreement. Since this agreement basically removes the car loan from the pool of debts that are getting discharged, you should only sign it if you are sure that you are able to make the monthly payments without issue. Another option to deal with your car is to give the car back. While doing this in any other situation doesn't get you out of having to pay the loan, filing bankruptcy in South Carolina does just that. In other words, such a surrender allows you to walk away without having to worry about what the creditor might do about a deficiency balance after the car is sold at auction. Your liability on any such deficiency is discharged as part of your South Carolina bankruptcy.

↑ Back to top

South Carolina Bankruptcy Means Test

The South Carolina means test for bankruptcy is intended to make sure that only people who really need relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code can get it. Everyone filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina first compares their household income to the median household income for a household of the same size. Since this compares only your gross income and doesn't take into consideration reasonable and necessary living expenses, part two of the South Carolina means test for bankruptcy may allow someone who makes more than the applicable income limits to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina anyway.

Data on Median income levels for South Carolina

South Carolina Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2019
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$3,892.50$46,710.00
2$4,985.17$59,822.00
3$5,342.17$64,106.00
4$6,457.83$77,494.00
5$7,207.83$86,494.00
6$7,957.83$95,494.00
7$8,707.83$104,494.00
8$9,457.83$113,494.00
9$10,207.83$122,494.00
10$10,957.83$131,494.00

Data on Poverty levels for South Carolina

South Carolina 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
↑ Back to top

South Carolina Bankruptcy Forms

The South Carolina Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms are the forms that everyone who files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina has to submit to the court as part of their case. The majority of them are the online bankruptcy forms available for folks filing bankruptcy anywhere in the country. Most of the local forms created by the court are used in more complex South Carolina bankruptcy cases including cases under Chapter 13.

↑ Back to top
Fresh Start Diaries
"I'm going to be honest with you, pre-bankruptcy my credit score went down to a 543. My score today is a 720. With the help of Upsolve, I feel free again. I have the ability to build myself into something new."
I filed with Upsolve. Read my story →
Successful debtor

District of South Carolina Requirements

The Palmetto State is a single bankruptcy districts broken into three separate divisions. The county you live in determines which division your case will be assigned to. To assist folks who may not be able to afford a lawyer for their South Carolina bankruptcy matter, the Court offers "Ask-A-Lawyer" - a program that sets up specific times during which people with bankruptcy related questions can call a number in order to talk to a lawyer about it for free.

↑ Back to top

South Carolina Bankruptcy Exemptions

When you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina, everything you own is considered an asset and you are allowed to keep only assets protected by a valid exemption. If you have lived in South Carolina for at least two years when your case is filed, you have to use the South Carolina bankruptcy exemptions. In addition to protecting specific types of property, the South Carolina bankruptcy laws include a so-called wildcard exemption which allows you to protect unspecified property up to a certain amount.

↑ Back to top

South Carolina Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

If you are having a hard time protecting all of your assets despite the availability of a generous wildcard exemption, you should consider hiring a lawyer for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina. The average cost of a bankruptcy lawyer assisting folks to filing a Chapter 7 in the Palmetto State is $1,150, though most lawyers offer a free initial consultation.

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

↑ Back to top

If you need help from a lawyer for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in South Carolina that goes beyond what the Ask-A-Lawyer program can provide, you should see if you are eligible for legal aid in South Carolina. You can find out more about the legal aid organizations providing services in the Palmetto State from the South Carolina Bar Association.

South Carolina Legal Services, Inc.
(803) 744-4179
701 S Main Street, Greenville, SC 29601

Upsolve
Nationwide Service (NYC Office)

Upsolve Location
↑ Back to top

South Carolina Court Locations

J. Bratton Davis United States Courthouse
803-765-5436
1100 Laurel Street Columbia, SC 29201

J. Bratton Davis United States Courthouse

Donald S. Russell Federal Courthouse
864-591-5315
201 Magnolia Street Spartanburg, SC 29306

Donald S. Russell Federal Courthouse

King and Queen Street Building
843-727-4112
145 King Street Charleston, SC 29401

King and Queen Street Building
↑ Back to top

South Carolina Judges

South Carolina Bankruptcy Judges
DistrictJudge Name
District of South CarolinaHon. David R. Duncan
District of South CarolinaHon. John E. Waites
District of South CarolinaHon. Helen Elizabeth Burris
↑ Back to top

South Carolina Trustees

South Carolina Trustees
TrusteeContact Info
Robert F. Andersonbob@andersonlawfirm.net
(803)252-8600
Kevin Campbellkcampbell@campbell-law-firm.com
(843)884-6874
John K. Fortjohn@patrohn.com
(864)573-5311
Janet B. Haiglerjhaigler@haiglerlawfirm.com
(803)261-9806
Randy A. Skinnerrskinner@skinnerlawfirm.com
(864)232-2007
Michelle L. VieiraMichellelvieira@msn.com
(843) 497-9800
↑ Back to top

It's easy to get help

Choose one of the options below to get assistance with your bankruptcy:
Page 1Created with Sketch.

Free Help

Take our bankruptcy screener to see if you're a fit for Upsolve's free service!

2,082 families filed with Upsolve ☆
OR

Private Attorney

Get a free bankruptcy evaluation from a local law firm.

Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) legal aid nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income Americans in financial distress get a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy at no cost. We do this by combining the power of technology with attorneys. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have mission-driven funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and private charities.

To learn more, read our reviews from past clients, or read our press coverage.

Close

Considering Bankruptcy?

Upsolve helps low-income Americans file bankruptcy on their own for free. Are you interested in our free service or would you like a free consultation with a paid attorney?

File Bankruptcy in South Carolina