While the filing process and results of bankruptcy are similar, nationwide, the specific laws vary from state to state. Each state has different bankruptcy exemptions and may handle bankruptcy cases differently.
If you’re filling bankruptcy in NC, you’ll need to understand the specific laws of the state. Or, better yet, hire a North Carolina lawyer to help you with the process. Filing for bankruptcy is complicated, and having an attorney walk you through the process can really be helpful. Still, if you would like to get a handle on the bankruptcy policies of North Carolina, this article is a good place to start.
North Carolina is not a community property state, which means that it is possible to file for bankruptcy without involving a spouse. In a community property state, an individual must file with his or her spouse, because both of them “own” the debt and finances. In North Carolina, though, you only have to include a spouse if he or she co-signed on a loan.
Most states allow a certain number of property exemptions, even if it is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The exemptions in North Carolina include automobiles (with a certain amount of equity), and real estate (again, with a limit on equity). Limited amounts of other property may also be kept, as well as insurance, retirement savings and a few other assets. As compared to other states, North Carolina offers relatively generous exemptions. In 2005, when Congress revised the bankruptcy laws to prevent abuse of the system, North Carolina increased the value limits on a few exemptions.
In North Carolina, any individual (including the debtor) can file for bankruptcy as a petition preparer. The preparer files for the debtor, and charges a relatively small fee. Hiring a petition preparer can help make filing easier, as the preparer will know how to comply with federal guidelines. However, hiring a lawyer is safer, since some petition preparers have minimal experience.
Bankruptcy is a public record in North Carolina. However, that does not mean that everyone you know will learn about your bankruptcy. If you’re famous, and the news picks up on it, then you’re in trouble. Otherwise, if you don’t gossip about your bankruptcy, it’s unlikely that it will be common knowledge.
In the end, filing for bankruptcy in North Carolina is a lot like filing in other states. And, just like in other states, it is a pretty complex process. Now that you know a few of the details of an NC bankruptcy, it would be a good idea to start looking for a good attorney. He or she can help you figure out what kind of bankruptcy to file, and what exemptions you will be permitted. Also, you may learn that you can keep certain assets, such as your home, with the help of a good bankruptcy attorney.