Bankruptcy in Idaho
The first alpine chairlift was used in Sun Valley, Idaho in 1936. At that time, the ride costs 25 cents. Today, a day lift pass is about $62. Ouch.
If you are facing financial difficulty in today's world because of business failure, job loss, under employment, medical problems, over spending, or predatory lending, this article is for you.
In this article, we'll show you how Idaho bankruptcy law is unique; discuss whether you should file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code; guide you in finding and selecting a bankruptcy attorney; and show you how to prepare to work with a bankruptcy lawyer.
How Idaho Bankruptcy Law is Unique
Federal law dictates bankruptcy procedure so there's nothing unique about it. It's the same in every state.
On the other hand, property rights vary from state to state. In Idaho, filers may only use the state bankruptcy exemptions (not the federal bankruptcy exemptions.)
For example, each bankruptcy filer can protect:
- Up to $100,000 of home equity.
- A motor vehicle with equity up to $7,000.
- Personal property up to $7,500.
Because of these exemptions and others, usually no property is lost during bankruptcy, even if the "liquidation" aka Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed.
Your Choices in Filing Bankruptcy in Idaho: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
In 2011, 7,535 Idaho residents filed bankruptcy. (You are not alone.) 89% filed bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and 11% filed under Chapter 13.
- Those who filed under Chapter 7 qualified by meeting the "means test" because their income was less than the state median income (or had expenses that allowed them to qualify).
- As an example, $40,355 is the median income for an individual (with no dependents).
- $63,236 is the median income for a family of four.
- Filers prefer Chapter 7 under most, but not all circumstances, because many unsecured debts are discharged and the process only takes 6 months.
- Chapter 13 is the most common alternative to Chapter 7. In general, debts are renegotiated so they're easier to pay. The process takes 3 to 5 years.
Your bankruptcy lawyer will help you to determine the best path for you.
How to Find and Select a Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy is not a path to walk alone. If a mistake is made, it could cost you thousands or tens of thousands more, in some cases.
To find a bankruptcy attorney, keep these three qualifications in mind:
You must feel comfortable working with and trust your attorney.
Your attorney must be licensed in Idaho.
Your attorney must focus his or her practice on bankruptcy law.
The ideal way to find an attorney is to get a referral from someone. Otherwise, your local bar association will have a list or you can Google "Find an Idaho Bankruptcy Attorney".
Use the fee consultations often offered to get a glimpse into what it would be like to with that attorney.
How to Prepare to Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney
Get the Band Aids out because you may get some paper cuts, but they don't hurt as much as being in debt does.
Gather and organize your financial documents so that you'll be prepared to tell your bankruptcy lawyer:
- How much you owe and to whom.
- What your assets are worth.
- What repayments to creditors you've made over the last year.
- Your monthly expenses.
Lastly, make a list of your bankruptcy related questions and concerns. When you're done and your debt is gone, you'll likely feel like a million bucks and be able to afford that $62 chair lift pass every once in awhile.