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Filing Bankruptcy in Rockham, South Dakota

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Written by Attorney Jacquelyne N. Mosley-Pastrana
Updated August 17, 2020

In Faulk County off US Route 212, the residents of Rockham South Dakota enjoy their day-to-day. On the other hand, it's not easy to enjoy your day-to-day when creditors are calling you constantly and you feel like the walls of debt are caving in. You may wonder why this is happening, but you’re not the only one. Learn your options about whether filing bankruptcy in Rockham is the right move for you. You can get the tools to take charge. 

Bankruptcy is a process that helps you get out of debt. Most people file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 completes in 4-6 months and is only available to those who qualify, usually due to their limited income. This rule was created by Congress to ensure only those who need it file to have their debts wiped away when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rockham. Those who don’t qualify to file under Chapter 7, typically file Chapter 13 and make a 36 to 60-month pay plan to pay down some of their debt before getting a discharge.

Most debts can be wiped away or discharged with bankruptcy. This includes medical bills, credit cards, and most gambling debt. Some debt such as government fines and fees, student loans, and alimony are non-dischargeable through a Rockham bankruptcy. Even if you have some non-dischargeable debts, that does not mean you shouldn't file bankruptcy. Many people still file for Chapter 7, and by wiping out their other debts, they can pay down the non-dischargeable liabilities.

You can file your own South Dakota bankruptcy and do it successfully. You can get free legal help. You can use the support of Upsolve. If you have questions about your case you can submit a question to a volunteer attorney at the American Bar Association. If you would prefer to see if the State Bar of South Dakota can assign you a lawyer, submit an applications for its Access to Justice Program. The East River Legal Services and Dakota Plains Legal Services both offer low-income earners legal assistance. You can also apply online for various non-profits through SD law help for your Rockham bankruptcy.

Rockham Bankruptcy Lawyers - Estimated Cost

Hiring a knowledgeable lawyer is a good idea, especially if you have some complicated issues. For example, if you’re dealing with a Chapter 13, a lot of gambling debts, or issues with the Means Test, getting the advice of an attorney may be valuable. You should expect that the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer in Rockham will be around $1,150. Many bankruptcy attorneys offer a free initial consultation where they will review your situation and advise you on your Rockham bankruptcy options. It is also your opportunity to ask questions, including those about experience and potential problems in your case. 

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How to File Bankruptcy in Rockham, South Dakota for Free

Filing your South Dakota bankruptcy won’t be as hard as February in South Dakota. You can file bankruptcy in Rockham for free by following the steps below.

Collect Your Rockham Bankruptcy Documents

You'll want to take time to assemble all the documents you need to outline your financial situation before filing bankruptcy in Rockham. The materials you will need include a list of your debts, income, and assets. A few of these essential items include your credit report, taxes, paystubs, and statements of property or vehicles you own. Your credit report is crucial because it has most of your debts organized into a document. Get your credit report for free and review it to confirm you have all debts on your list. You’ll eventually list all your creditors on your forms. It's a good idea to make a list of others to whom you owe money that might not show up on your credit report, such as friends, family, or the local check-cashing place. Getting your taxes from the IRS and your pay stubs from your employer will help you better prepare for filling in your Rockham bankruptcy documents. 

Take Credit Counseling

Before you fill in your Rockham bankruptcy documents, you’ll need to take a course on debt management known as the credit counseling course. You're required to take this class from an approved agency to review your options, including debt consolidation and bankruptcy. You'll get general information, but you'll have the opportunity to make your budget and examine your personal expenses. You can personalize this to explore what your financial life looks like in the current condition. If you can’t afford to pay for this 60-minute course, it can be taken for free if you qualify. The course is offered online or by telephone for easy access to residents of Rockham. If you would prefer an in-person class, you may need to drive up to an hour to Wosley. When the course is over, you’re given a certificate of completion. The certificate is valid for 6 months. You use the certificate when you file bankruptcy in Rockham to confirm that you completed the class.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

There are many forms you will complete to file your Rockham bankruptcy. The Court provides a list of required documents. The list can help you if you access the forms from the Court’s website. The information needed for these forms digs deep into your financials. You can also find each form organized and explained on Upsolve’s South Dakota forms page. Others just like you have filled out the forms with valuations of the things they own, including clothes and shoes. The Court also provides Appendix 1F for you to accurately fill out the List of Creditors according to its local rules and local forms.

Get Your Filing Fee

If you didn't worry about paying for a lawyer, you instead might have had concerns about paying the filing fee for your case. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rockham is $338, and Chapter 13 is $313 and is paid in cash, cashier’s check or money order. If getting all the money together at once is a problem, you can apply to pay in installments or smaller payments. If you honestly can’t afford to pay the fee, you can apply for a fee waiver. The Court looks at the poverty guidelines and your filing to determine whether your Rockham bankruptcy qualifies you for a payment modification. Depending on your financial situation on paper, if the Court denies the fee waiver, it may all you to pay in installments and give you time to pay the fee.

After you’ve completed filling out your Rockham bankruptcy documents, you’ll print everything one-sided and review them. The petition will total about 70 pages, and you should plan on printing two full copies. You can print at home or nearby in the public library in Redfield. Print each of the forms listed and supporting documentation one-sided. After you print, it is recommended that you refer to the list of required documents to review each document cautiously. When you’re ready, you can sign the required spaces and write your phone number under your name on the Voluntary Petition. When you sign, you are assuring the court that what you wrote is accurate to the best of your knowledge.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

Residents of Rockham and Faulk County will file their Rockham bankruptcy at the Pierre Bankruptcy courthouse. You can make the drive to the courthouse within two hours and make your way to the Clerk’s Office to ask them to review your filing. If they see an issue, they will return it to you to fix it. If no problem is spotted on the documents you filed, submit your payment application or filing fee. Many South Dakota residents find it worthwhile to have the staff review their filing, but driving two hours isn't feasible for some. If that is the case with you in Rockham, you can mail your forms to the Court. If you want a copy file-stamped, you would include the photocopy with the original in your mailing along with a self-addressed and stamped envelope. Your case number, Trustee, and 341 Meeting details are provided after you complete filing for bankruptcy in Rockham. 

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

The Trustee confirms the information you provided in your bankruptcy petition and manages the 341 Meeting. Your 341 Meeting is scheduled for about a month after the date you filed your Rockham bankruptcy. Before the meeting, the Trustee will typically request your taxes and other additional information. Keep the timeline in mind when the Trustee asks for documents. You'll want to make sure the Trustee has your documents before your 341 Meeting.

Your creditors are informed about the 341 Meeting from the Notice of Filing Chapter 7. The address is generated on the Notice from your Creditor Matrix. If you find that the Notice didn’t reach a creditor, you make an effort to find the correct address to notify the creditor of your bankruptcy. Others faced with a similar problem called the creditor or checked their paperwork for a better address. They mailed the Notice to the creditor and amend the address with the court.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

After filing bankruptcy in Rockham, you’ll take a second bankruptcy education course. While the first course was required to file your case, the second course is necessary to ensure you successfully obtain a discharge. This pre-discharge course examines tips for saving money and using your credit wisely. You are led to make another budget and guided to consider after-bankruptcy goals. You can complete this 90-minute course by taking it from an approved agency by phone or online (nearest in person is 2-hours away). Sometimes using the same approved agency for this course may result in a discount. You will receive your certificate of completion by email and file it with the Bankruptcy Court. It brings you another step closer to success.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

Your 341 Meeting is a vital step to completing your Rockham bankruptcy. Although creditors must receive notice of your bankruptcy and 341 Meeting, they rarely attend. Although the creditors’ presence isn't necessary, your presence is required. The location of your 341 Meeting is on your Notice of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When you arrive at your meeting, you’ll observe that it won’t take place in a courtroom, but a conference room instead. There will likely be others waiting with you, and you’ll wait to hear your name. The Trustee will confirm your identity and put you under oath. When you’re under oath, you are promising that what you are saying is the truth. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the meeting goes by as you truthfully provide brief, clear answers to the Trustee’s questions. You’re that much closer to having the weight of debt lifted. 

Dealing with Your Car

When filing bankruptcy in Rockham, you get to decide what to do about your car and complete a Statement of Intention to let the court and the creditor know. If you negotiate to purchase the car, you are redeeming it for its value, discharging the rest of the loan. Some choose to stay liable for the car and continue with a similar loan with the lender. If this agreement is affordable, you and the lender sign a reaffirmation agreement. When deciding whether to approve the agreement, a judge inquiries about your need for the car. The judge will warn you that nonpayment can result in repossession of the car by the lender and you would still be liable for what you owe. The loan will survive your Rockham bankruptcy, but the upside is you still have the car and hopefully an affordable payment.

Not long after bankruptcy, many find they are offered auto loans as their credit rebuilds. Before  they know it, they’re driving down Route 212. With that in mind, many return the car to the lender by surrendering the vehicle. The loan amount becomes part of the Rockham bankruptcy and is wiped away with other debt. 

South Dakota Bankruptcy Means Test, Bankruptcy Forms, and Exemptions for Rockham

South Dakota Means Test

Passing the South Dakota bankruptcy Means Test is required in order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rockham. The Means Test was designed by Congress to place restrictions and an income limitation for those people wishing to file for Chapter 7 relief. To pass, you must qualify when your annual income is compared to the median income in South Dakota or qualify with negative disposable income

Median Income Levels for South Dakota

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

Poverty Levels for South Dakota 

South Dakota 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)

South Dakota Bankruptcy Forms

When filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rockham, it is helpful to keep in mind how documents relate. Some documents, such as Schedules A and B, for the property, are required to match with other South Dakota bankruptcy forms. Remember the Trustee reviews these as well to confirm what is listed is accurate.

South Dakota Exemptions

It is worth noting that South Dakota does not allow those filing for bankruptcy in Rockham to choose between federal bankruptcy exemptions and state bankruptcy exemptions. Exemptions protect the property you own when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Rockham. It is worth noting that the South Dakota bankruptcy exemptions include a wild card exemption that can be used for any type of property. 

Written By:

Attorney Jacquelyne N. Mosley-Pastrana


Jacquelyne Mosley-Pastrana is an Associate Attorney with Shegerian & Associates’ San Diego office. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Before working as an attorney, Jacquelyne was a law clerk at the Office of the Illinois Attorne... read more about Attorney Jacquelyne N. Mosley-Pastrana

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