Can I file bankruptcy in NC if I recently moved here?

It is not uncommon for people to consider bankruptcy after moving into a new state. The move is often a period of starting over, with a new job, new home, and more. Getting relief from past debts might enable getting a clean break from old financial circumstances and start building a new financial life.

Will Bankruptcy in North Carolina deal with debts in other states?

Generally yes. The bankruptcy process is federal and has expansive jurisdictional provisions. The bankruptcy discharge is not limited by state boundaries.

Does a new resident need to wait before filing?

Maybe. The bankruptcy venue statute (28 USC 1408) establishes the proper location to file a bankruptcy case. For an individual, the key tests are residency or location of assets. A proper venue under the statute is a place where a debtor has resided more than any other place in the 180 day period prior to filing. If a debtor lived in 2 places, one would talking about greater than 90 days. The same plurality-of-180-days test can be used based on location of principal assets.

Whether or not it is important to wait until the plurality-of-180-days test indicates North Carolina is dependent on the facts of a case. In bankruptcy, individual consumer cases are somewhat regularly filed in the "wrong" district under venue statute. If no one raises concern, such cases often proceed forward without incident. Careful consideration of the facts of a case is needed to balance any risks of a venue objection versus benefits from an earlier filing date that might exist. In many cases, it makes sense to wait the short time needed to ensure that venue cannot be challenged.

What exemptions protect the new resident's property?

Property exemptions are allowances that enable people to keep their property in bankruptcy. This site discusses the North Carolina statutory exemptions at length. Someone who has moved to North Carolina recently (within the last 2 years/730 days) cannot use his or her present North Carolina residency as a basis for claiming North Carolina exemptions (see also who may use NC exemptions in bankruptcy?). Instead, the applicable exemption laws are determined based on 180 day residency window located between approximately 2 years and 2.5 years prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case. The available exemptions might be old state's exemptions or the federal bankruptcy code exemptions, depending on the particulars of the old state's laws.

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