Like other states, residents of Virginia can file straight bankruptcy or restructuring bankruptcy, in an effort to retain a home, the family car, and other assets. The type of bankruptcy filed depends on individual financial situations and ultimate economic goals.
Virginia Bankruptcy Topics
- Personal Bankruptcy Options
- Keep Your Home: Bankruptcy and Foreclosure
- Virginia Exemptions to Bankruptcy Liquidation
- Options for Filing Bankruptcy
- Local Bankruptcy Courts and Trustees
Compliant with U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Title 11, Virginia residents can file straight bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and bankruptcy for restructuring payments under Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Filers of Chapter 7 bankruptcy must pass a means test to prove eligibility for debt forgiveness. The average wage earner in Virginia makes $49,689; a family of two generally makes $65,342; and the average family of three has $73,191. If applicable, the court trustee will sell any assets that can be used to help resolve some of the debt to creditors. Then, any payments that are not exempt from bankruptcy will be expunged. The debtor has a fresh start.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for those individuals wanting to save a small business, keep their homes, continue driving family cars and more. If the debtor has no more than $336,900 in unsecured debt and $1,010,650, the court can negotiate with creditors to reduce interest rates, forgive fees, or accept less in repayment, in order to facilitate a restructured payment that is more affordable to the debtor. Then, a repayment schedule is set up by the court. Within 3-5 years, the debtor is debt free and retains all possessions, as long as current payments are kept up-to-date.
Usually, people filing bankruptcy after receiving foreclosure notice are only delaying the inevitable. Although collection tactics cease, the lien holder can petition the court to lift the stay on property under foreclosure. Then, the property is seized and resold. To prevent foreclosure, with any hope of retaining the property, contact a bankruptcy lawyer and discuss potential options.
Virginia has a list of asset exemptions a debtor can take. During bankruptcy, the assets will not be seized to resolve any creditor payments. The following chart contains a partial list of possible assets to protect:
Type of Asset(s)
Details on Applicable Exemption(s)
Property held in tenancy-if debt of only one spouse, $5000 plus $500 for every dependent-couples may double, mobile home, rent, profits, and sales proceeds up to $5000
Burial benefits; fraternal and society benefits; group life, accident, or illness benefits; cooperative life, industrial sick benefits
Partnership business property
City, county, and state employees; ERISA; judges
Bible, $1000 of clothing, burial plot, heirlooms and portraits up to $5000, vehicle up to $2000, personal injury compensation, pets and wedding rings
Blind disabled and elderly aid; AFDC; workmen’s and unemployment compensation; crime victims compensation-unless bankruptcy is used to discharge debt for treatment purposes.
Minimum of 75% of unpaid wages and pension payments
Use a Bankruptcy Lawyer
The services of a bankruptcy lawyer are strongly recommended. Knowing all of Virginia’s bankruptcy laws is virtually impossible for the debtor prior to court. In addition to the great moral support, a legal representative can answer the questions of the court, offer sage legal advice, file all of the appropriate paperwork, and make sure the debtor takes all allowable asset exemptions.
Use a Filing Service
A filing service is not much better than simple self-representation. No one goes to court to answer questions, even if a mistake is made in the paperwork. No help is available for legal advice; and the service does not always comply with the court and file all of the necessary documents. Thus, the debtor is at risk for case dismissal or pending charges of fraud.
File “Pro Se”
Filing pro se is available for the debtor that cannot afford legal representation. However, appearing alone in court is risky. Without full knowledge of bankruptcy law, the debtor will likely lose exemptible assets or fail to consider relevant legal issues. Borrowing counselling fees potential saves money, future legal troubles, and total confusion in a very stressful situation.
Virginia Eastern District Court Main Office
193 Walter E. Hoffman
United States Courthouse
600 Granby Street
Norfolk, VA 23510-1915
Virginia Western District Court Main Office
308 Richard H. Poff Federal Bldg
210 Franklin Road, S.W.
Roanoke, VA 24011-2204