It's a fact of today's economy: A tight job market and sinking home values have made it harder for some to keep up financially. That's why federal law allows people to file for bankruptcy and move on to a debt-free life. While there are several types of bankruptcy filings, Chapters 7 and 13 are the ones individuals use most. Under Chapter 7 most property is sold or liquidated to repay creditors, while Chapter 13 lets individuals keep their property and repay debts over a number of years.
Bankruptcy laws are federal; however, living in Nevada will impact your bankruptcy filing.
Where to File in Nevada
Nevada has bankruptcy courts in Las Vegas and Reno, as well as branches across the state. You must file at the bankruptcy court nearest you. To find out where that is, go to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada's website (www.nvb.uscourts.gov).
Chapter 7 Filing
Nevadans can file for liquidation bankruptcy if their income is less than the state median of $44,508 for a single person in 2012. That level climbs with each additional family member, to $67,236 for four people and beyond for larger families. Those making more than the median still might be able to file under Chapter 7 if they pass a means test that includes complicated calculations.
Chapter 13 Repayment
Income also determines how long Nevadans have to repay debts under Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Those who earn less than the state median generally have 36 months, though the court may allow a longer time period. People who make more than the state median may have up to 60 months to repay.
Exemptions Let You Keep Property
Bankruptcy laws spell out exact dollar amounts of property that you can keep through exemptions. Common exemptions cover homes, cars, retirement funds, artwork, furniture, and more.
Federal law outlines dollar values for exemptions, but Nevadans must use the amounts the state has set. In many instances, Nevada's exemptions are higher. Nevada's exemption for a home, for example, is $550,000, while the federal homestead exemption is $21,625 per person, double that for couples. Nevada also allows residents to keep up to 75 percent of their disposable weekly earnings or 50 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is more. The federal level is 75 percent.
There's a two-year residency requirement to use Nevada's exemptions. If you haven't lived in the state for that long, an attorney can help you figure out what exemptions you can use.
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For specific information, please contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Nevada.
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