Written by Attorney Jacquelyne N. Mosley-Pastrana.
Updated July 28, 2020
Even in a city surrounded by monuments ranging from Jewel Cave to Mount Rushmore, financial distress can happen to anyone. Even in Rapid City, a healthcare hub, it can happen due to unsuccessful small business ventures, medical bills, divorce, job loss, and the list continues. No one wants to use the government's help to get out of debt, but it's accessible for those who genuinely need it. Bankruptcy is provided for in the U.S. Constitution and has helped countless individuals, families, and businesses continue to be productive. Being productive is difficult no matter how hard-working a person is when they’re buried under mounds of debt. This is why many are exploring filing bankruptcy in Rapid City.
Many people have misconceptions about bankruptcy. Some think it will ruin their credit. It isn't true. Most people's credit score has already taken a nosedive, so filing bankruptcy usually helps people rebuild their credit more quickly. Many think that they will lose everything or that the Court will come and take everything away from their home. Instead, most folks filing Chapter 7 keep everything they own through the use of exemptions. Chapter 7 bankruptcy also has the advantage of completing in four to six months, and most debts are eliminated.
On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 years. It establishes a repayment plan for you to pay your creditors. There are some local South Dakota requirements when filing Chapter 13. Overall, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rapid City is more accessible to file than filing Chapter 13.
Many view bankruptcy as a difficult process. That is also how many view servicing their vehicles. But as anyone that has visited DIY Repair Shop will tell you, you're capable of doing it yourself. Similarly, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy yourself is not as difficult as you may think, especially when you can get free legal help. There is free help through the American Bar Association if you have questions. The State Bar of South Dakota can assign you an attorney if you qualify through their Access to Justice Program. Both the East River Legal Services and Dakota Plains Legal Services offer assistance to low-income residents. You can apply to both through SD law help online. Don't forget that Upsolve is also a great resource. Not only for filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but also to get information to help you file your Rapid City bankruptcy.
Rapid City Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost
Similar to the $1,100 to $1,200 you pay to a mechanic to fix your car, you can expect that a Rapid City bankruptcy lawyer cost is about $1,150 to handle your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer can be more or less depending on your specific case. Many find it worthwhile getting the professional help of a lawyer, especially when you need advice about whether to pay creditors or if you have many non-dischargeable debts. You can seek a free consultation with a Rapid City lawyer and layout your case to see if they can help you with filing bankruptcy in Rapid City. It's in your interest to ask any questions (including about their experience and strategy) that help you to decide on a lawyer.
How to File Bankruptcy in Rapid City, South Dakota for Free
Following this guide on how to file bankruptcy in Rapid City step by step gives you the option of filing empowers you to file your South Dakota bankruptcy case without hiring a lawyer. Just remember to read all instructions carefully, and give yourself enough time to get ready to file your case.
Collect Your Rapid City Bankruptcy Documents
To complete your Rapid City bankruptcy forms, you will need to gather your Rapid City bankruptcy documents ahead of time. Gather at least two months of pay stubs, two years of taxes, and documentation regarding any other income-producing venture you’re a part of. For example, if your dividends from Black Hills Corporation (symbol BKH), you would gather the details. You'll need paperwork about your debts. You can start with your credit report as it lists the majority of your creditors. You also want to get documents for any that aren't listed, including money owed to any government entity, family member, or court-ordered obligation. Include documents detailing your money, investments, and assets, including bank statements and property valuations. You should also include your car registration.
Take Credit Counseling
The Rapid City bankruptcy requires you take a credit counseling class that teaches you about your options between debt management and bankruptcy, and tools to manage debt. Part of the course includes making a personalized budget to see whether you could pay your debts with your current income. If you can't pay for the course, the agency can provide it for free. You select the classroom and which approved agency to take the class through. Complete a 60-minute class in-person, online, or by telephone. After finishing the course, you'll have a certificate of completion to show for it. Submit the certificate with your Rapid City bankruptcy filing.
Complete the Bankruptcy Forms
Your Rapid City bankruptcy forms can be completed on the computer or by hand. Some even opt for electronic bankruptcy software that helps keep the documents more organized. No matter the method, you will need to complete all the necessary forms. You can find them on the Court’s website or Upsolve's South Dakota forms page. Some have complained about the type of information required because who needs a listing of costume jewelry or valuation of your cat when filing bankruptcy in Rapid City? But, keep in mind that filling out the necessary information is just a part of the process of a new beginning. Along with the federal forms, you need to follow local rules and forms such as following the guidance in Appendix 1F to correctly complete your Mailing List of Creditors.
Get Your Filing Fee
You may wonder why it costs $338 to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rapid City. The $338 is a combination of the $245 filing fee, a $75 administrative fee, and a $15 Trustee surcharge. The Court will accept cash (in person), money order, or a cashier's check. If you'd prefer to break up the filing fee into smaller payments, apply for installments. If you can’t afford the filing fee, you may benefit by applying for a fee waiver. The Court evaluates the information you provided in your bankruptcy petition in combination with the federal poverty guidelines to determine whether you qualify for a fee waiver.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
You will print each document of your Rapid City bankruptcy documents one-sided. Print everything at home, the Rapid City Public Library, or a local printer. It's wise to use the filing requirements list to confirm you have each of the necessary documents. It's worth remembering that the schedules and bankruptcy forms are over 70 pages. Review the printed pages ensuring the information you provided is correct before you sign. You're signing under penalty of perjury that what you've written is correct to your knowledge. Those filing bankruptcy without an attorney is also required to write their phone number on the Voluntary Petition.
Go to Court to File Your Forms
The Pierre Bankruptcy Courthouse is where Rapid City residents file their bankruptcy cases. With nearly a 3-hour drive to Pierre, those in Rapid City typically file by mail. When you send your bankruptcy packet by mail, include your bankruptcy petition, schedules and statements, credit counseling certificate, and filing fee application or payment. Many also include a copy of their petition and a self-addressed envelope with prepaid postage to obtain their file-stamped copy. If you make the trek to the Pierre Courthouse, you'll find that the Clerk's office will help you by reviewing your Rapid City bankruptcy filing. They can't give you legal advice, but if they find something missing or unsigned, they will return it to you. Many South Dakota filers find this very helpful and take up the opportunity to perfect their filing. After filing bankruptcy in Rapid City, you will get a Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy with your case number, your Trustee’s contact information, and your 341 Meeting details.
Mail Documents to Your Trustee
After you file, the Trustee will study your Rapid City bankruptcy forms and ask for documentation to confirm the information you listed. Send any requested information to the address of the Trustee. The Trustee is explicitly looking for assets to pay the debts listed. You can find the Trustee's contact information in Section 5 of your Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. You may have noticed your creditors stopped calling because they too received the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If one of your creditors doesn't get Notice, you're expected to make an effort to find their address. Others filing bankruptcy in Rapid City have sprung into action by calling the creditor for the address, mailing the Notice, and amending their creditor list.
Take Bankruptcy Course 2
The second bankruptcy course is a simple requirement that is sometimes forgotten but is vital to a successful bankruptcy. Sometimes referred to as the pre-discharge course, this class is crafted to get filers thinking about their fresh start after their Rapid City bankruptcy is done. The course walks you through prudent use of credit, money-saving techniques, and after bankruptcy goals. You can take this class through an approved agency online, by telephone, or in person, nearby on Concourse Drive. If you use the same agency for this second course as you did for the first, many agencies offer a discount. After this 90 minute class, you will receive a certificate of completion. Prudent Rapid City residents file the certificate of completion by mailing it to the courthouse right after getting it.
Attend Your 341 Meeting
A successful bankruptcy is also dependent on you attending your 341 Meeting. Your 341 meeting will take place at the location specified in Section 7 of your Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. For those filing for bankruptcy in Rapid City, you can prepare by wearing simple clothes and bringing valid photo identification and social security verification. As most Chapter 7 bankruptcies don’t have assets to distribute, you typically don’t see creditors at these meetings. It will likely be you and the Trustee. The Trustee will check your identification, swear you in, and ask you typical questions to confirm the information in your bankruptcy documents. South Dakota residents found they were in and out in less than 15 minutes when they truthfully answered the Trustee's questions succinctly.
Dealing with Your Car
After filing bankruptcy in Rapid City, you need to deal with your car. If you own your vehicle, you may be able to use the wildcard exemption to keep it, depending on its value. If it's part of the 2010 collection of Harley Davidson CVO Street Glide, it's unlikely the wildcard can save it, but a $5,000 Harley Softail could be protected with an exemption. If you're paying a loan through a lender, you will inform the Court of your intention within 30 days of filing bankruptcy. You can choose whether you redeem, reaffirm, or surrender the car.
Some decide to keep the car and negotiate with the lender to buy the car for a lump sum to redeem it. The lump-sum is based on the value of the vehicle. It may be challenging to get this kind of money, so some decide to keep a loan with the lender and reaffirm. To reaffirm, you enter into a very similar agreement with the lender to keep paying the car throughout the bankruptcy. You can also surrender the vehicle by returning it to the lender. The amount of the loan is discharged during your Rapid City bankruptcy.
South Dakota Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Rapid City
South Dakota Means Test
Pass the South Dakota bankruptcy Means Test by calculating your annual income or negative disposable income to be within the Chapter 7 income limits. Don't underreport your bills. When folks have legitimate expenses, such as medical bills, it is best when they are listed.
Median Income Levels for South Dakota
South Dakota Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
|Household Size||Monthly Income||Annual Income|
Poverty Levels for South Dakota
South Dakota Fee Waiver Eligibility for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2021
Eligible for fee waiver when under 150% the poverty level.
|Household Size||State Poverty Level||Fee Waiver Limit (150% PL)|
South Dakota Bankruptcy Forms
It's essential to adhere to local forms and local rules when completing your South Dakota bankruptcy forms. For example, you can use Appendix 1F when formating the list of creditors. It's also vital you thoroughly complete all the information necessary, so your bankruptcy and 341 Meeting can go smoothly for your Rapid City bankruptcy.
South Dakota Exemptions
The South Dakota bankruptcy exemptions protect property through your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rapid City. The state’s bankruptcy exemptions include a wildcard exemption that can be used for any type of property as well as a generous homestead exemption.