Although bankruptcy is outlined in federal law, some bankruptcy guidelines may range from state to state regarding exemptions, how filing may effect a spouse, and other aspects. When filing, it is important to know what makes Texas unique.
Citizens who file for bankruptcy cannot necessarily use whatever state’s exemption system they file in. They should check the guidelines for which state’s exemption system they are eligible for.
One unique aspect to Texas is that it is one of nine community property states, meaning that all assets acquired within a marriage are considered the “estate” of the individual filing, even if he or she is filing independently. In other states, it is only the assets of the individual filing that is considered the estate.
Another aspect that differers from state to state is exemptions. Exemptions include property that the state has decided is a basic necessity and therefore will not be taken by creditors. Often this property is essential in recovering financially, like property essential for work. Texas is known as one of the most generous exemption states. The extensive list includes home furnishings, retirement plans and social security benefits, health aids, vehicles (one vehicle per driving family member), and current wages. Those in the military may have other property exempt if the court decides that his or her debt is the result of military service.
One big difference is Texas’s protection for homeowners. Federal law indicates that homes must be exempt at least up to a specific value, but Texas law allows an unlimited value of the home to be exempt, although some restrictions may apply.
Texas Bankruptcy does not discharge all types of debt. Debt acquired from child support, income tax, and debts occurred from certain personal injuries are included in the list of debts that are not discharged. These debts must be paid or added to a bankruptcy plan.
Depending on the circumstances of a citizen’s assets and debt, the type of bankruptcy matters. In Texas, qualifications for filing Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the most common types for individuals, differ depending on amount of debt, wages, and other circumstances surrounding individual.
Determining which type of bankruptcy to file, as not all applicants are eligible for every type, can be complicated, so any individual intending to file should consult an El Paso bankruptcy attorney.
The differences in filing for bankruptcy from state to state go well beyond these aspects, so individuals should be sure to do their homework when preparing to file.