Utah has only one district U.S. Bankruptcy Court located in Salt Lake City. Bankruptcy is governed by federal laws and court, and there is at least one bankruptcy court in each state. Although bankruptcy may be a good option for anyone who owes more than they can pay, it will negatively impact your ability to obtain credit for up to 10 years after filing. It is highly suggested to seek counsel from a local attorney prior to filing.
Types of Bankruptcy and Terms
If you decide to file bankruptcy without an attorney, or "pro se," there are a few procedural things you should be aware of; however, you first need to determine the best type of bankruptcy for you. Chapter 7 is filed by individuals who wish to liquidate their property to pay debts and have unsecured debts discharged. Chapter 13 is filed by anyone who wants to reorganize debts to obtain more affordable payment plans, but maintain ownership of their property such as houses and cars.
Chapter 12 bankruptcy is reserved for professional farmers and fishermen, and Chapter 11 is filed by businesses wishing to reorganize their debts.
Steps to File Bankruptcy
The first step to filing bankruptcy is to attend a local credit counseling course from an approved vendor. Check with the local court to find an approved provider, who will present you with a completion certificate to present to the court when you file. This course must be completed within six months prior to filing for bankruptcy.
There are a series of schedules, documents and identifying information that will be due to the court by a specified date. If you don't file them on time, the case may be dismissed. These documents include tax returns, balance sheets, information about property you own, and all sources of income and debt information. Chapter 7 petitioners must also complete a means test to prove they cannot pay their debts.
Court fees are also due when filing a new petition. Chapter 7 fees are a few hundred dollars, but the petitioner may ask the court to waive the fees or give them a reduced payment plan. Chapter 11 fees are more expensive, upwards of $1500 and more. The court may also dismiss a case if these fees are not paid on time.
A meeting of creditors is scheduled to allow for negotiations on discharging debt and reorganizing payment plans. Creditors will ask the debtor questions regarding property owned and ability to pay. A schedule is drafted after this meeting and submitted to the court for approval.
In order for the court to discharge a bankruptcy case, a financial management course must also be completed. This requirement was placed in the hope that individuals would not get into the position of needing to file bankruptcy again the future.
Location Specific Information
The District of Utah U.S. Bankruptcy Court is located in the Frank E. Moss Courthouse at 350 South Main Street, 3rd floor, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. Court may also be held at an alternate location in St. George. Court hours are 8am-4:30pm Monday – Friday. New cases must be filed in person by 4pm.