I’m About to Move–Where Can I File Bankruptcy?

by Dana Wilkinson, Attorney at Law

July 9, 2008

Although bankruptcy laws are federal, there can be some critical differences in how the law is interpreted from place to place, and in how state laws affect bankruptcy. So if you are planning to move, or you have just completed a move, the place you file bankruptcy can make a big difference in your outcome.

Venue–a fifty-cent word that means where a court is located–for bankruptcy cases involving individuals usually depends on where you have resided the greater part of the 180 days before the bankruptcy case is filed. In other words, your bankruptcy case will be filed in the place where you have lived 91 days out of the last 180. If you’ve been in the same place longer than 91 days, you don’t have to worry about it, and you don’t have much choice about where your case is filed. But if you have just moved, or if you are planning a move, and bankruptcy is an option you are considering, you should discuss your plans with your attorney.

Not only can the choice of venue affect your outcome, but it may affect who represents you. I purely hate when I’ve worked with a client for some time only to discover the client moved to another state more than three months ago, and I can’t file the case. It’s frustrating for me; imagine how the client feels when he’s got to retain a second lawyer! With prompt communication between you and your lawyer, those problems can be avoided.

Consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, and be sure you mention any plans to move.

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Däna (pronounced "Donna") Wilkinson, has been a bankruptcy lawyer in South Carolina for 20 years. She is certified as a bankruptcy specialist by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

Last modified: October 22, 2012