Do I have a choice where I file my bankruptcy case?

01 Mar Do I have a choice where I file my bankruptcy case?

Clients move around a lot.

  • We have a client who is a Franciscan brother. He moves all over the country whenever his superiors tell him to do so. He considers Wisconsin to be his home but he hasn’t been there for a long time. He can file a bankruptcy case in Wisconsin.
  • We have another client who lives in Ireland. He’s lived there for many years. But most of his real estate is in Illinois. He can file a bankruptcy case in Illinois.
  • We have clients who are in the midst of divorce. One lives in Nevada and the other lives in Illinois. They can file a joint bankruptcy in either Illinois or Nevada.
  • Chrysler had its principal offices in Michigan. But it owned a dealership in the heart of Harlem in New York City. Surprise! Chrysler filed its dealership’s chapter 11 bankruptcy case in New York and then filed its corporate bankruptcy case there as an affiliated case with the Harlem dealership.

You may have many reasons for filing a bankruptcy case in one state as opposed to another. This is called a question of venue. Under federal law, venue is somewhat flexible. You can read great information about the law here. You can file a case where you live, where your principal place of business is located or where most of your property is located.

There could be many reasons to select one place as opposed to another to file your bankruptcy case. Talk to your lawyer and discuss the pros and cons of the different venues you might select.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.

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