Bankruptcy in Oklahoma
More than 400 miles of Route 66 offer a view into the true Americana that fills the lives and livelihoods of those who live in Oklahoma. The good people of Oklahoma have had their share of financial woes.
For example, both Sam Walton of Walmart fame and Actor, Gary Busey, have filed bankruptcy. Sam went on to do great things and, hopefully, Gary will too. If you need to file bankruptcy and start over, that's okay. That's exactly why bankruptcy protections exist.
Americans believe in a fresh start and second chances. Our Founding Fathers laid the foundation for bankruptcy laws in the United Constitution. Over 200 years later, Americans across this country are still afforded the right to a fresh start.
In this article, we'll show you how Oklahoma bankruptcy law differs from the laws other states; discuss whether you should file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13; and describe how to find and work with a bankruptcy attorney.
How Oklahoma Bankruptcy Law Differs from the Laws of Other States
Oklahoma bankruptcy laws are very generous; and though federal exemptions are not available, it doesn't matter because the Oklahoma exemptions are higher and likely protect most or all of your assets.
- For example, Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions offer homestead protection; your house, no matter how valuable, is protected, meaning it can't be taken by bankruptcy creditors.
- Limitations to the homestead protection may apply if the property is used for business purposes. Consult with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer for good advice.
- You can also protect up to $7,500 of equity in a motor vehicle and this amount is doubled if you're married and filing jointly.
- Other exemptions are generous as well and can be doubled for married couples. You can protect clothing, household items, personal items, jewelry, livestock, wages, alimony, child support, etc.
Your Choices in Filing Bankruptcy in Oklahoma: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
Are you single and is your income under $38,456? Or, are you a family of four and is your income under $62,583?
If so, you automatically qualify to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which means that medical bills and credit card bills disappear and you get a fresh start in just 6 months.
If you don't qualify under this test, there are more ways to qualify and the numbers are adjusted for your individual family size.
Some folks don't qualify for Chapter 7 or they have significant unsecured debts that can't be discharged (such as alimony, most taxes, student loans, and child support), but they still need bankruptcy protection.
If so, your bankruptcy attorney will likely suggest filing under Chapter 13, through which you also get a fresh start, and debts are repaid over 3 to 5 years.
How to Find a Bankruptcy Attorney
Most bankruptcy lawyers will offer a free, no obligation consultation or phone interview so you can determine whether that attorney is a good fit for you.
To narrow down the options:
- Only consider lawyers who focus their practice on bankruptcy law.
- Make sure they are licensed to practice law Oklahoma.
- Ask for referrals.
- Do an Internet search for "Find an Oklahoma Bankruptcy Attorney".
Once you narrow down the field, take advantage of the free consultation offers. Hear what the attorneys have to say about the bankruptcy process, how much it will cost, what they would propose for you, and how you will get your future questions answered.
You'll know exactly which attorney to hire if you follow this process.
How to Prepare to Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney
In the meantime, consider yourself to be a "paperwork cowboy" or "cowgirl." Go ahead and rope-up all those bills, debts, statements, payments made, and assets. Organize them and fill out the forms that your bankruptcy lawyer gives you. All this information is necessary and will help you toward financial recovery and a fresh start.