Mississippi Bankruptcy Law
Mississippi Bankruptcy Law
Mississippi residents can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection under Article I of the U.S. Constitution, Section 8 and claim certain personal property as exempt from creditors. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy determines which property a petitioner may keep whereas a Chapter 13 bankruptcy determines how much the debtor is required to pay back to creditors in either a three year or five year payment plan. A Mississippi resident can file a petition for bankruptcy in either the Northern or Southern District of Mississippi. The Northern District Court locations are Aberdeen, Greenville, and Oxford, Mississippi. The Southern District branches are located in Biloxi, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson, Meridian, Natchez, and Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Mississippi District Court(s): http://www.msnb.uscourts.gov/, http://www.mssb.uscourts.gov/
The bankruptcy code and regulations are part of a system of federal law and therefore consistent throughout all the states, including Mississippi. However, each individual state has the right to establish properties consumers can claim as exempt and decide if federal property exemptions apply. In Mississippi, debtors are only allowed to choose as exempt properties listed as approved by their particular state. In Mississippi, a resident can claim a homestead exemption up to $75,000 and 160 acres of land. A mobile home can also be claimed as exempt up to $30,000 if it is located on land owned and occupied by the debtor(s).
The state’s list of tangible property allows up to $10,000 in personal property with a a value each of less than $200 for such items as clothing, furniture, kitchen utensils and appliances and other household items; a radio, tv, one firearm, lawnmower, wedding band or rings, one motorized vehicle, tools of trade, etc. Artwork, jewelry, antiques and other electronic or entertainment equipment are excluded. The list of exemptions and amounts may change over time. Residents can check with the local bankruptcy court in their district for more information.
Persons wishing to file bankruptcy can qualify for either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy based on their average monthly income as compared to the annual median income for their household. This is called the means test. The median income for Mississippi residents after May 1, 2012 is $34,172 for a single-person household, $42,914 for a two-person household, $46,973 for three persons and $56,494 for a household of four. For each individual in excess of four, add $7,500. The annual median income may also change periodical and can be accessed on the U.S. Department of Justice website.
The amount of bankruptcy fees vary and are generally due at the time the case is filed. The filing fee can also be paid in as many as four installments, but has to be completed within 120 days from the date the petition is filed or 180 days if the debtor shows good cause. Additional fees are required if a debtor wishes to convert from one chapter of bankruptcy to another.
Debtors are also required to receive credit counseling within six months of filing for bankruptcy relief with the court and complete a mandatory course in debtor education from a list of approved credit counseling agencies issued by the U.S. Trustee’s Office.