Wyoming Bankruptcy

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Summary

The two primary costs associated with filing bankruptcy in Wyoming are the lawyer's fees and the court filing fee. You do not have to have a lawyer for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming and if your household income is below a certain threshold you can apply to have the court filing fee waived.

In 2015 along, approximately 1,000 Wyoming miners lost their job as a result of the coal bust. Now, less than 5 years later, Wyoming coal companies are once again experiencing financial troubles. Industry experts have known that production would decline, but they are now ringing the warning bells that it is happening much faster than even they anticipated. In February 2019 alone, Wyoming’s Cloud Peak Energy eliminated 15 salaried positions within the company. That is 15 people who lost their job. Of course, if you are researching Wyoming bankruptcy options, you are probably already well aware of what is coming down the pike. What you may not actually be aware of is that Cloud Peak Energy has actually filed for bankruptcy protection already. Like a lot of large businesses, they filed their case in Delaware. The point is that if the bankruptcy laws protect the large businesses whose financial troubles are directly responsible for at least some of the financial troubles you are experiencing, they can protect you as well. A lot of folks see a personal bankruptcy as a failure, something to be ashamed of, when that could not be further from the truth. Especially in situations where you did everything they way you were supposed to, there is no shame in seeking protection from your creditors by filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming.

How to File Bankruptcy in Wyoming for Free

The two primary costs associated with filing bankruptcy in Wyoming are the lawyer's fees and the court filing fee. You do not have to have a lawyer for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming and if your household income is below a certain threshold you can apply to have the court filing fee waived.


Collect Your Wyoming Bankruptcy Documents

In order to be as thorough as possible in your mandatory disclosures required as part of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming, you should start the process by collecting certain documents that contain important information you will need. You can get a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, so if you don’t have a recent report, you will want to start here. You can request them all from a third-party online or go follow the instructions provided by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on how to request a copy of your credit report. Since some collection agencies don't always show up on a credit report right away, you should also gather any collection letters or bills you have received in the last 90 days and cross-reference them to the information contained in your credit report. Everyone filing bankruptcy in Wyoming will need a copy of last year's tax return and, if you are filing Chapter 7, collect every paycheck stub you've received in the last 6 months. Even though you may not need them while completing the bankruptcy forms, you should also get bank statements for the last few months. They may come in helpful in calculating your monthly expenses and may need to be provided to your trustee after filing Chapter 7 in Wyoming.

Take Credit Counseling

Everyone filing bankruptcy in Wyoming has to take credit counseling first. The purpose of the class is to make sure that everyone who wants to file for bankruptcy protection knows what their options are well before they ever go to court. You can take the course on your own schedule but is has to be done in the 6 months before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming is filed. Even though the United States Trustee has approved a number of companies to offer the course to folks filing bankruptcy in Wyoming, only the Family Financial Education Foundation offers the course in person. So, if you are not in the Evanston City area, it probably makes sense to take the course by phone or online and save yourself the trip. As long as you take the course through an approved provider, it doesn't matter whether you are do it in person, from the local library computer, or from the comfort of your own home. When you are done with the course, you will receive a certificate of completion. This document will have to be submitted to the court along with the other forms you are filing for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming.

Complete the Bankruptcy Forms

Completing the bankruptcy forms you will need for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming is by far the most important step of this process. The good news is that they are all available for free online. The bad news is that there is a lot of them. If you are completing all of the forms on your own, make sure you have a copy of this instruction manual nearby. If you hired a lawyer to assist you in filing bankruptcy in Wyoming, they will complete the forms for you based on information you provide to their office. If you can't afford a lawyer for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, check if you are eligible to work with Upsolve. You will still need to gather all of the information (so, either way, there will be homework) but we will assist you in completing the forms correctly. The reasons this part of filing bankruptcy in Wyoming is so important are the duties that the Bankruptcy Code imposes on you. You must disclose all of your assets, you must disclose all of your liabilities, and you must respond to each question in the different forms accurately and completely. In return, you are relieved of having to pay your debts.

Get Your Filing Fee

Some folks filing Chapter 7 in Wyoming have their $335 court filing fee waived because the court finds, based on the information contained in their application for a fee waiver, that they are eligible to have the fee waived and that they lack the ability to make payments even after their case is filed. If your household income is more than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines, then you do not qualify for a waiver. You will have to either pay the full amount when you go to the courthouse to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming or make payments on it afterwards. If at all possible, it's best to pay the full fee at the time your case is filed, either as a cashier’s check, money order, certified check, or in cash. This is because if you miss just one payment your Wyoming bankruptcy case may be thrown out. If your wages are currently being garnished, making it difficult, if not impossible to set any amount aside for the court filing fee, then it makes sense to file as soon as possible and ask the court for permission to pay the fee in installments. Once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming is filed, the garnishment has to stop, and while you may not be able to get any of the funds the creditor previously took back, you will start receiving your full paycheck again, allowing you to pay make payments for the court filing fee.

If it has been more than a couple of weeks since you completed your forms when you are ready to print everything and bring it to the court, take a moment to briefly review them one more time, and update any time sensitive information that may have changed since you last worked on the forms. Once done, you will be ready to print everything needed for filing Chapter 7 in Wyoming. Only lawyers are allowed to file documents electronically; everyone else has to bring their original bankruptcy documents to the courthouse instead. If you don’t have a printer at home, check your local library to see if they allow their patrons to use the printer or find a print shop near you. Everything needed for your Wyoming bankruptcy is printed on size 8.5" x 11" white paper. Don't print anything double-sided and don't staple any of the documents together. Since it's a good idea to have your own copy of everything you are submitting to the court when filing bankruptcy in Wyoming, print (or make) your own copy at the same time. Since it's only for your personal use, you can print your copy double sided and it's actually recommended to staple everything so you can keep them all together in one packet.

Go to Court to File Your Forms

Although the Bankruptcy Court holds hearings in two separate locations throughout Wyoming, you can only file your paperwork at the Cheyenne location. If traveling to Cheyenne to personally hand your bankruptcy forms in is not possible, you can also file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming by mailing everything to the court. If you go that route, make sure you include the court filing fee in the form of a money order or cashier's check, not cash. You can also add the first page of your own copy along with a self-addressed and stamped return envelope so the clerk can endorse, or stamp, it with the details of your bankruptcy case once it's been filed, then mail it back to you. The advantage of bringing the documents needed for your Wyoming bankruptcy to the courthouse in person is that you may be able to fix any otherwise fatal errors or omissions right then and there. If you are filing bankruptcy in Wyoming to prevent a creditor from taking a certain action, such as foreclosing on your home, or garnishing your wages, and your case has to be filed before a certain date, then the closer you get to that date, the smarter it becomes to bring everything to the court in person. Otherwise, you won't know if your Wyoming bankruptcy case has been filed, and the automatic stay taken effect, until you hear from the court.

Mail Documents to Your Trustee

Your trustee is the person that is appointed by the bankruptcy court to administer your case shortly after you have completed filing Chapter 7 in Wyoming. It’s the trustee's responsibility to make sure that you are not hiding anything from the court or your creditors and to ensure that your creditors get what the bankruptcy laws say they are entitled to get, if anything. Even though the trustee does not represent you in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming it is your responsibility to cooperate with the trustee. This includes submitting certain additional documents that are not otherwise filed with the bankruptcy court to the trustee's office. Everyone filing bankruptcy in Wyoming has to provide their trustee a copy of their most recent federal income tax return at least 7 days before the date set for their creditors' meeting. Depending on the trustee assigned to your case, you may also receive correspondence directly from their office after your case has been filed requesting other documents or information from you. Since they use the information to prepare for your creditors meeting, make sure to comply with any deadlines they may give you and follow the instructions on how to best submit everything to their office. Failure to cooperate with your trustee at any stage of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming can jeopardize your ability to receive (or keep) your discharge.

Take Bankruptcy Course 2

While it may seem like you just took a class (and you actually did at some point in the 6 months before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming was filed) you do, indeed, have to take a second course after your case is filed. Completing the first class made you eligible to be a debtor in a bankruptcy case; completing the second class makes you eligible to have your discharge entered. That's also why this course can only be completed after your case has been filed. This time around, the course focuses not on debt relief options (since you've already made your choice on that question by filing Chapter 7 in Wyoming) but on educating debtors how to responsibly manage their finances. When you are done, you will receive another certificate of completion. Your course provider may file this certificate with the court on your behalf, though not all of them do. If your provider doesn't, make sure to file this certification with the court instead to alert the judge to the fact that you have complied with this requirement. As before, it is important that you take the course from a provider that has previously been approved to offer it to folks filing bankruptcy in Wyoming.

Attend Your 341 Meeting

The 341 meeting, or meeting of creditors, will probably be the only time you actually have to appear in person. The meeting will be scheduled to take place at one of three locations, depending on where you live. You are notified of the date, time, and location of your 341 meeting a few days after filing bankruptcy in Wyoming, when you receive the official notice from the court. If you are unfamiliar with the area where your meeting is scheduled to take place, make sure to arrive early enough to find parking and go through building security on your way in. The most important piece of preparation for the meeting is to make sure you have a government issued picture ID and acceptable proof of your social security number with you. Without that, your trustee may not be able to conduct the meeting, and instead reschedule it for another time. Since your creditors are notified about the meeting after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming is first filed with the court, they may attend the meeting, however, that rarely happens. Mostly it will be a conversation with your trustee about the information contained in your bankruptcy forms and any other information that the trustee may need from you. However, since it is a formal requirement of the Bankruptcy Code, the trustee will put you under oath and record your answers. Don't let that stress you out, though, as the meetings rarely last more than 5 - 10 minutes and as long as you tell the truth (which is the easiest thing to remember anyway) you should not have any issues.

Dealing with Your Car

Your car actually plays a few different roles when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming. First of all, just like everything else you own, it is an asset that has to be disclosed as such on your schedules. If you own the car free and clear (or are almost done paying it off and have equity), then as long as the vehicle's full value (equity) is covered by one of the available exemptions, you get to keep your car. If you have a car loan you are making payments on, then you get to keep the car as long as you keep the loan by reaffirming it. In other words, filing Chapter 7 in Wyoming is not a path to get a free car. Of course, if the loan balance is far greater than the value of the vehicle, it may make more sense to redeem the vehicle instead. This involves purchasing the car, for its actual current value, outright by making a lump sum payment. The discharge will relieve you from the obligation to pay the rest of the loan, and the car will be yours to keep. Finally, filing bankruptcy in Wyoming can be an opportunity to walk away from a bad car with a bad loan. What some people don't realize is that such a voluntary surrender is only possible if you are in a Wyoming bankruptcy case. If you bring your car back otherwise, the creditor will sell it at auction but still look to you to pay the balance left on the loan afterwards. That is not possible if the car is surrendered as part of your bankruptcy because your responsibility to pay the loan will be discharged.

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Wyoming Bankruptcy Means Test

Not everyone who needs to file a Wyoming bankruptcy case will be eligible to file under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code due to the results of their Wyoming means test for bankruptcy. The first part of this test compares your income to the applicable income limits. If you make more than the limit, you are only able to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming if you pass the second part of the Wyoming means test for bankruptcy.

Data on Median income levels for Wyoming

Wyoming Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2019
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$4,891.67$58,700.00
2$5,829.75$69,957.00
3$6,769.25$81,231.00
4$7,642.83$91,714.00
5$8,392.83$100,714.00
6$9,142.83$109,714.00
7$9,892.83$118,714.00
8$10,642.83$127,714.00
9$11,392.83$136,714.00
10$12,142.83$145,714.00

Data on Poverty levels for Wyoming

Wyoming 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
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Wyoming Bankruptcy Forms

The Wyoming bankruptcy forms are a combination of the official nationalonline bankruptcy forms and some local forms the court created specifically for Wyoming bankruptcy cases. Of the local forms in use by the district, you will likely only need Local Form F, the Statement Under Penalty of Perjury Concerning Payment Advices, if any, for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming.

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District of Wyoming Requirements

If you did not receive any paycheck stubs in the 60 days before your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming was filed, or you don't have access to them anymore, you are required to file Local Form F along with the rest of your bankruptcy documents. Additionally, everyone filing a Wyoming bankruptcy case should review the court's instructions on how to prepare the creditors' mailing matrix (basically, the address labels for your creditors) so it meets the court's requirements. Finally, even if your case is being handled by the court in Casper, anything that has to be mailed to the court must be mailed to its Cheyenne location.

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Wyoming Bankruptcy Exemptions

Exemption laws determine what property, if any, your creditors are entitled to as part of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming. Generally speaking, everyone must use the Wyoming bankruptcy exemptions because the state has opted out of the federal bankruptcy exemptions. However, if you have not lived in the state for more than 2 years at the time your case is filed, you may be limited to using the federal bankruptcy exemptions.

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Wyoming Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost

Navigating a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming without a lawyer is possible, but especially if you are having a hard time matching your property with the available exemptions it may be money well spent. The average cost of a bankruptcy lawyer Wyoming bankruptcy cases under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code is $1,300.

  • Attorney cost estimate: $1,100 – $1,500

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While the public defenders' office provides free legal representation to folks in criminal matters, no such right exists in civil court, including bankruptcy court. Folks who need assistance filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Wyoming but cannot afford to hire a lawyer should reach out to one of the Wyoming legal aid organizations, or check the list of options for low-income individuals and families published by the Wyoming State Bar.

Legal Aid of Wyoming, Inc.
(877) 432-9955
1813 Carey Ave., Cheyenne, WY 82001

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Nationwide Service (NYC Office)

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Wyoming Court Locations

Joseph C. O'Mahoney Federal Building
307-433-2200
2120 Capitol Avenue Cheyenne, WY 82001

Joseph C. O'Mahoney Federal Building

Ewing T. Kerr Federal Building and United States Courthouse
307-232-2650
111 South Wolcott Street Casper, WY 82601

Ewing T. Kerr Federal Building and United States Courthouse
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Wyoming Judges

Wyoming Bankruptcy Judges
DistrictJudge Name
District of WyomingHon. Cathleen D. Parker
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Wyoming Trustees

Wyoming Trustees
TrusteeContact Info
David L. Millerdlmlawoffice@gmail.com
(801) 447-8777
Randy L. Royalrlroyal@tctwest.net
(307)765-4433
Tracy L. Zubrodzubrod@aol.com
(307) 778-2557
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