Bankruptcy is pretty much the same throughout all of the United States since it is a federally funded program. However, the rules for bankruptcy may change a little bit in different states. For instance, Oklahoma has three different districts that govern different parts of the state. First there is the Northern District, which is located in Tulsa and serves the 11 counties in that district. Then there’s the Eastern District, which is located in Okmulgee and serves all counties starting at Okfuskee and then south to Love; after that it covers all areas east. Then there is the Western District located in Oklahoma City, which is the largest district of the three. It covers all the rest of the counties.
In 2005 the government created what they called a ‘means test’ for anyone claiming Chapter 7. Under this the debtor must earn less than what the state deems is median income for a particular household. In Oklahoma, the median income for one person at that time was a little under $39,000. For a family of two it was a little over $51,000, for three about $54,000 and for a family of four about $62,000. Be aware that the state of Oklahoma does not allow people to use the federal property exemption. They offer their own type of exemptions. There is no limit on the value of a homestead, they allow up to $3,000 for a car or truck, $4,000 is allowed for clothing and one gun and then $5,000 worth of any types of tools or equipment that the person might use for employment. They can also claim up to 75% of their earned wages within 90 days of their filing date.
It is important to note that each district has rules that may differ from one another, so it is vital for the person who is filing for bankruptcy find out what those rules are for their particular district. For instance, the Northern district requires that all the bankruptcy documents be filed through their online system. The Eastern and Western districts will allow paper documents to be handed in but they differ in how many copies need to be handed in. The Eastern District requires the original document, as well as three more copies. The Western District requires the original plus five more copies.
All three districts require that a fee is paid, and unless there have been prior arrangements made, the fee will be required when the documents have been filed for the bankruptcy. The fees are the same throughout the districts but the different types of bankruptcies do vary in dollar amount. For example, the Chapter 7 filing fee is $299.00, Chapter 13 is $274.00 and Chapter 11 would be $1039.00.
It is recommended that those who are considering filing for bankruptcy contact a lawyer by going to their County Bar Association and they will be able to provide them with a list of lawyers that specialize in Bankruptcy.
If a person filing wants to have access to the bankruptcy documents, they first must get themselves a “Pacer” account. To sign up for one of these accounts the person will need to contact their bankruptcy district.