Filing Bankruptcy In Oklahoma

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Bankruptcy is not a decision made lightly.  The ramifications of the court actions are long lasting, even if it is economically beneficial and necessary.  Credit is ruined for at least seven years, making large purchases difficult, even when financial situations vastly improve.  In Oklahoma, most people opt to file straight bankruptcy; but some want to keep their assets and simply need help to restructure their payments.

Options for Personal Bankruptcy in Oklahoma

The majority of individuals will file under Chapter 7, while some file Chapter 13 of U.S. Code Title 11, which is otherwise known as Bankruptcy Code.  

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is for those debtors wanting a fresh start.  After clarifying eligibility by taking the means test, the court trustee will seize all applicable assets that can be resold, and the proceeds distributed between the creditors.  Although debts like child support, student loans, and court fines cannot be expunged, the remainder of debt is forgiven.  Then, the debtor essentially gets to start over, and hopefully make better financial choices in the future.  In the state of Oklahoma, the average income is $38,244 for the single wage earner, $51,322 for two, and $54,494 for a family of three.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to retain assets.  After consulting with creditors, the court will determine a debt restructuring plan.  The payments will be reduced to a more affordable amount that creditors will accept to resolve the debt.  The debtor will receive a 3-5 year plan.  So, as long as the court trustee continues to receive the distribution payments, and all other bills are kept current, the debtor will retain ownership of the home, car, business, or other assets.  However, the individual must have no more than $336,900 in unsecured debt or $1,010.650 in secured debt.

Filing Bankruptcy during Foreclosure

Waiting until foreclosure proceedings are initiated to file for bankruptcy is not advisable.  In most cases, it will only delay the loss of a home.  Although a stay is placed on creditors seeking repayment, the lien holder can request that the stay be lifted, so the property can be sold to satisfy the debt.  The best course of action is consulting a bankruptcy lawyer before receiving notice, and determining if any options are available to keep the property.

Oklahoma Bankruptcy Exemptions

Oklahoma has a list of exemptions a debtor can claim, when filing for bankruptcy.  The following table contain only a partial list of the items:

Type of Asset(s)

Details on Applicable Exemption(s)

Homestead

Real property or manufactured home of unlimited value, property cannot exceed ¼ acre in town or 160 acres out of town, may claim $5000 on 1 acre in town, as long as the debtor does not have another homestead, it does not have to be occupied.

Insurance

Fraternal and society benefits, assessment and mutual benefits, funeral benefits in trust, limited stock insurance, group life policy

Misc.

Alimony, child support, and partnership assets

Pensions

Disabled veterans, ERISA, firefighter, police officers, public employees, county, teachers, and the tax exempt

Personal Property

Books, pictures, gun, 2 bridles and saddles, livestock-including a milk cow and necessary feed for a year, $4000 worth of clothes, vehicle worth up to $3000, injury or death compensation up to $50,000

Public Benefits

Unemployment and workmen’s comp, compensation for crime victims, and Social Security

Wages

75% of unpaid wages in the last 90 days before filing, unless the judge decides on more

Oklahoma Bankruptcy Court Filing Options

Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is strongly recommended.  Legal representation can answer all of the pertinent questions, during the stressful proceedings, make sure all of the necessary paperwork is filed, request all applicable assets are claimed as exemptions, and more. A lawyer can deal with unforeseen challenges and make sure the debtor receives the best financial outcome that the law will allow.

Use a Filing Service

Using a filing service is risky business.  The service does not always adhere to the law, and file all of the appropriate paperwork.  In addition, they are not present to answer for mistakes or provide needed legal counsel.

File “Pro Se”

The court allows debtors to file pro se, if legal counsel is unaffordable.  However, because it is impossible for individuals to know all of the bankruptcy data in Oklahoma, borrowing the necessary funds is recommended.  In the end, it can save both money and assets for the debtor.

Courts and Oklahoma Bankruptcy Trustee Information

Oklahoma Eastern District Court Main Office

Ed Edmondson
United States Courthouse
101 North Fifth Street
Muskogee, OK 74401-6205

Oklahoma Northern District Court Main Office

411 Page Belcher Federal Bldg and
United States Courthouse
333 West Fourth Street
Tulsa, OK 74103-3819

Oklahoma Western District Court Main Office

1210 United States Courthouse
200 Northwest Fourth Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73102

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