Written by Attorney Eva Bacevice.
Updated August 17, 2020
News about bankruptcy seems to be everywhere these days and South Carolina is no exception. You might have heard about it back in 2017 when Westinghouse Electric Company, located in right in Rock Hill, filed for Chapter 11, furloughing and eventually letting go many employees. If that impacted your family, you might still be struggling financially. Even if that is not the case, there are many other reasons that you might be experiencing financial hardship and considering filing bankruptcy in Rock Hill. If you are in financial distress it is important to know that bankruptcy exists as a remedy for you. Individuals (or married couples filing jointly) can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get out from under crushing debt. Chapter 7 is likely what you think of as a traditional bankruptcy, a liquidation where you can walk away from all (or most) of your debt. Chapter 13, however, is a reorganization, similar to a personal Chapter 11, where you enter into a repayment plan for three to five years. Chapter 13 is more complicated and takes significantly longer than Chapter 7 but might be a good option in the right circumstances. If, for example, you are behind on a secured debt (like the mortgage on your home) and you want to catch up and stay in your home, Chapter 13 could give you that opportunity. If, however, the bulk of your debts are unsecured (not tied to a specific property, like medical bills and credit card bills) Chapter 7 will get you through the process and ready for your fresh start faster. Many legal aid organizations assist with bankruptcy so you can find help for more complicated Chapter 13 cases, or simply speak with someone to make sure that you have a good understanding of your options. Once you determine that you are looking at a straightforward Chapter 7 case and you are interested in moving forward on your own you can partner with Upsolve to help you through the process of your South Carolina bankruptcy, step by step.
Rock Hill Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
The thought of filing bankruptcy in Rock Hill may feel understandably overwhelming. You might want to speak with a lawyer to weigh the pros and cons, or simply to confirm you are on the right track. The good news is that most attorneys who practice bankruptcy offer a free initial consultation. If you do decide to hire a lawyer for your Chapter 7 case the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer will run between $1,100 and $1,200 for a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rock Hill. If you can’t afford to pay those fees you may be eligible to partner with Upsolve for free assistance to help keep you on track for a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
How to File Bankruptcy in Rock Hill, South Carolina for Free
If the cost of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rock Hill is the only thing holding you back from financial freedom, Upsolve can help. We will walk you through the process for how to file bankruptcy in Rock Hill for minimal or no cost, with detailed information about the following steps.
Collect Your Rock Hill Bankruptcy Documents
The first step is to collect the documents you need to determine your eligibility and file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rock Hill. To start you will need to gather all of your pay stubs (or other proof of income) for the last sixty days at a minimum to confirm that you can file Chapter 7 under the Means Test, which we discuss later in this article. Next, you will need to get together all documents that show your assets (things you own) so any paperwork for a home and/or car you own as well as any financial statements like bank accounts, and your federal and state income taxes for the past two years. You will also need to show all of your liabilities (everyone you owe) so it can help to get a free copy of your credit report to ensure you list all of your debts in your South Carolina bankruptcy.
Take Credit Counseling
The next task to complete is to complete your first credit counseling course. You are required to take two credit counseling courses for your South Carolina bankruptcy. The first course has to be completed before you file your Chapter 7 in Rock Hill. You will need to use an agency approved by the United States Trustee. Most of the approved agencies offer their services online or over the phone. If you prefer to go in person there are only two options in South Carolina, CCCS of Savannah Area in Beaufort and Family Services, Inc. in Charleston. Unfortunately, neither is particularly close to Rock Hill.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
At this point, you are ready to tackle the paperwork. Fair warning, there is quite a bit of it (over twenty federal forms) but the good news is that you can answer questions from Upsolve’s questionnaire which will populate into the correct forms for your Rock Hill bankruptcy. Alternatively, you can download the forms for free as fillable PDF forms along with a detailed instruction manual. If you are working with an attorney, they will fill out the paperwork on your behalf from the information you provide. It is very important to be thorough and list everything in your South Carolina bankruptcy paperwork as you sign under penalty of perjury that all the information is correct.
Get Your Filing Fee
You will need to get the filing fee together before you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rock Hill. The cost to file your South Carolina bankruptcy is $335 and needs to be paid in full at the time you file. You need to make the payment in cash (exact change only) or by certified funds (such as a money order or certified check.) If you feel you cannot afford to pay the filing fee and you make less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines you can apply for a fee waiver which the Court will review. There is also an opportunity to apply to pay the filing fee in installments, just be mindful of completing the payments on time (within 120 days) and in fewer than four installments or your case can be dismissed.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
The next task for filing bankruptcy in Rock Hill is to print out all of your forms to file with the Court. Be certain to print the Rock Hill bankruptcy forms one-sided as the Court will not accept double-sided paperwork. You will need one full set of documents to file with the Court. If you have easy access to a printer at home, work or a friend’s house, it can be helpful to print an extra copy for your records. If you do not have access to a printer you can go to the York Public Library for very reasonable printing fees, or otherwise your local Office Depot.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
Once you have printed all of your forms, completed the first credit counseling course and addressed or gathered your filing fee you are ready to officially file your Rock Hill bankruptcy with the Court. It is best to do so in person so that you can rest assured that your case is properly filed and be present on the off chance that a small correction (like a missing signature) needs to be made. All of South Carolina is included under one United States Bankruptcy Court, so be prepared to travel a bit for this part. There are three locations in Charleston, Columbia, and Spartanburg, all of which will be at least an hour’s drive from Rock Hill. Also, keep in mind that only the Columbia office has a fully staffed bankruptcy clerk's office so if you prefer to go to Spartanburg which is slightly closer you should call the clerk’s office in advance to make certain someone will be there to assist you with filing your South Carolina bankruptcy.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
After your South Carolina bankruptcy is filed you will be assigned a Chapter 7 bankruptcy Trustee to oversee your case. You will likely receive a notice in the mail a couple of weeks after filing with your Trustee’s information for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rock Hill. You will also receive a notice or letter from your Trustee detailing which documents they need from you in advance. You will need to mail these documents to your Trustee to be received at least seven days before your scheduled 341 meeting. At a minimum be prepared to send a copy of your federal and state income taxes from the past two years.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
It is a good idea at this point to go ahead and complete your second credit counseling course for your Rock Hill bankruptcy. Again, you need to make certain that you are going to an agency approved by the Court for this course. The second certificate of completion will also need to be filed with the Court to properly complete your Chapter 7 in Rock Hill. Be sure to check with your agency to see if they will file it with the Court on your behalf or whether you are responsible for going to the clerk’s office yourself to file it.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
The next, and hopefully final, step of your Rock Hill bankruptcy will be to attend your 341 Meeting of Creditors. This meeting will be conducted by your Chapter 7 Trustee, and the purpose is to verify the information in your filed documents is accurate. You will need to provide proof of your identity and social security number at the start of the meeting so be certain to bring along the appropriate documents. This meeting tends to be brief, often lasting only ten to fifteen minutes. Regardless, it is completely normal to be a bit nervous so we recommend preparing in advance so that you know what to expect. At the end of the Trustee’s questions, if all goes well your South Carolina bankruptcy case will be well on its way to eliminating your debts when the discharge is granted. When the Trustee concludes your meeting all you will need to do is wait out the remaining time (likely another 60 days) for your debts to be discharged and your obligation to pay those debts will be erased.
Dealing with Your Car
If you own or lease a car it may well be impacted by filing bankruptcy in Rock Hill. There several factors to consider. First, if you have a current loan or payment on your car are you current? If so, the lender may ask that you sign a reaffirmation agreement which will preserve your obligation to keep making payments after your South Carolina bankruptcy is over. If you are not current on your payments you can surrender your car in Chapter 7 and walk away from all of the debt and any late fees or interest charges. If you own your car outright it will come down to the value of the car, and whether it can be fully protected in your Chapter 7 by exemptions.
South Carolina Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Rock Hill
South Carolina Means Test
To file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rock Hill, you will have to show that you are eligible by passing the Means Test. You can pass the South Carolina bankruptcy Means Test in one of two ways. First, you can pass if your current monthly income is less than the median income for a South Carolina family of your size. Second, you can pass the Means Test by going through a detailed calculation that shows you have little or no disposable income at the end of the month after allowable expenses.
Median Income Levels for South Carolina
South Carolina Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
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Poverty Levels for South Carolina
South Carolina Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
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South Carolina Bankruptcy Forms
The South Carolina bankruptcy forms required for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rock Hill are the federal forms. There are no specific local forms required.
South Carolina Exemptions
Exemptions in your Rock Hill bankruptcy case allow you to protect your possessions up to specific dollar amounts. In South Carolina, you are required to use only South Carolina bankruptcy exemptions, federal bankruptcy exemptions are not an option.