According to the 2005 Bankruptcy Act, all District Courts must adhere to federal standards for Bankruptcy. There are 4 cities located throughout Montana where bankruptcy cases are heard. The most commonly filed types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13.
Filers who are petitioning to eliminate as much debt as possible typically choose Chapter 7. In many cases, the unsecured debts accrued from credit cards or medical bills can be removed from the petitioner's financial obligation. Non-dischargeable debts however, like child support and back taxes remain the debtor's responsibility. Chapter 7 can be a good option for those with a high debt to income ratio and fewer assets to be liquidated by the court.
For those who wish to hold onto their assets, but still require bankruptcy relief, Chapter 13 is a good alternative. Instead of eliminating debt, Chapter 13 restructures the debt so it may be repaid, typically over a period of 3 to 5 years. Often, a petitioner can make payments and still keep their house or car.
Business who file for bankruptcy frequently turn to Chapter 11 or Chapter 12 to repay their debts over a period of 3 to 5 years. Chapter 11 is the standard bankruptcy code and businesses who file will be allowed to keep their doors open during the repayment period. Specific to family farmers and fishermen, Chapter 12 aims to allow these businesses to repay debt and continue operation.
Official bankruptcy forms for the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts are available at http://www.uscourts.gov/forms/bankruptcy-forms or RecordsFinder.com Court Forms Section.
Credit counseling is required of all petitioners of bankruptcy, and must take place within 6 months of filing. Many people receive the counseling and find a way to navigate through debt without depending on bankruptcy. Others choose bankruptcy as their best option and have several steps to follow after counseling.
Montana has 4 cities throughout the state which house a Montana District Bankruptcy Court. They are in the following locations: Billings, Butte, Great Falls, and Missoula. A petitioner may go to any court of the state to file or have bankruptcy hearings because each have jurisdiction over all counties.