Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Oklahoma: 3 Things You Need to Know

You may be going through a tough financial time and are considering filing bankruptcy in Oklahoma, specifically Chapter 7. Today we will cover 3 things you need to know about Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Oklahoma.
Information in this article does not constitute legal advice, it is for informational purposes only, and may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Readers should contact their attorney for advice on any particular legal matter.

When it comes to filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Oklahoma, you may want to consider a few things first: 

  1. Find out if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how much it'll cost to file in Oklahoma.
  2. Explore alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Sometimes, other options may be more suitable for your situation.
  3. Understand the ins and outs of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Oklahoma.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type in the United States.

If you prefer a visual approach, you can use the Oklahoma Chapter 7 Calculator below to estimate your qualification and cost:

Let's understand why Chapter 7 may be something people consider in Oklahoma.

1) How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works in Oklahoma

There are two main things to keep in mind:

  1. How quickly will it discharge the debt?
  2. How much will it cost?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually the cheapest and fastest way out of debt so that it may be a good option.

How Fast Do You Get Relief in A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, you can often get a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge in as little as 120 days.

A "no-asset" Chapter 7 case refers to a situation where you don't own any houses or other valuable assets that might exceed the Oklahoma bankruptcy exemptions. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes away most of your debts, allowing you to hit the reset button on your financial life. There are many pros and cons, so it is essential to navigate the bankruptcy process with the help of a skilled attorney who can guide you through the complexities and ensure you meet all the requirements.

How Much Does It Cost To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Oklahoma?

Generally, you can expect to pay between $500 and $3000 nationwide. However, things get a little different when it comes to Oklahoma.

The cost of Chapter 7 bankruptcy can differ depending on where you file within the state. Let's take a look at Norman and Tulsa, for example. In Norman, you might find yourself paying a bankruptcy attorney fee of $1,170. But, in Oklahoma City, that fee could be $1,500.

There are situations where you might be able to reduce the cost of filing for bankruptcy through a filing fee waiver. If you're curious about this option, I recommend checking out the Oklahoma filing fee waiver for more information.

How Do I Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Oklahoma?

To qualify for Chapter 7, you may have to consider the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Oklahoma Income Limits.

You will need to pass the Oklahoma bankruptcy means test. A household gross income threshold determines whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Remember that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can mainly discharge unsecured debts such as medical bills, personal loans, old income tax debts, utility bills, credit card debts, and most personal judgments. Unsecured creditors hold these debts.

What about secured debts in Chapter 7?

Secured debts like car loans and mortgages may be more challenging under Chapter 7. If you want to discharge these debts, you must hand over the asset to the creditor, who has to accept the asset as complete payment for what you owe.

IMPORTANT: Chapter 7 Qualification via Oklahoma Means Test

An important thing to consider when filing for bankruptcy is the Bankruptcy Means Test. This calculates how much money you make each month and each year and compares your income to the average income of other households in Oklahoma.

If your income is below the Oklahoma average, you might qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. You can use the free Oklahoma Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test Calculator below to determine eligibility. It'll give you an estimate of whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

My Income Exceeded The Chapter 7 Means Test Allowable in Oklahoma: What Are My Options?

If you're making more money than the average person in your state, you might have to look closely at part 2 of the means test or explore other options.

The means test isn't a simple pass-fail exam with just one section. If you "fail" the first part, you can still "pass" the second part and qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Oklahoma Income Limits

The Oklahoma median income figures for the Means Test are adjusted from time to time based on data from the IRS and Census Bureau. It's essential to stay updated with the latest info, so always double-check the U.S. Trustees website for the most current figures when you're crunching those numbers.

For bankruptcy cases filed on or after November 1, 2023, the Oklahoma median income looks a little something like this:

# of PeopleAnnual Income
1$53,173
2$68,234
3$78,963
4$87,909
5$97,809
6$107,709
7$117,609
8$127,509
9$137,409

You may find that you can add $9,000 for each additional family member if you have more than nine members.

These figures are specifically for Oklahoma households. If you are in a different state, you'll want to check out your area's median income figures and stay updated by visiting the U.S. Trustees website.

Will I lose my belongings?

Let's talk about bankruptcy exemptions and how they can protect your property. Specific properties might be sold in a Chapter 7 liquidation case if you don't qualify for bankruptcy exemptions.

In Oklahoma, the homestead exemption allows you to keep your home safe. The exemption sometimes varies depending on your age and marital status.

  • Single and under 65, your homestead exemption is infinite. That means you can keep your home no matter what.
  • For single and 65 or older, your homestead exemption is infinite.
  • For married under 65, the homestead exemption is infinite.
  • For married and 65 or older, the homestead exemption is infinite.

Here's a specific example of the Oklahoma homestead bankruptcy exemption: 31 Okla. St. Ann. § 2. Unlimited for 160 acres rural and 1 acre urban. There's a $5,000 limit if more than 25% of the total square footage area is used for business purposes.

It's essential to check out other bankruptcy exemptions available in Oklahoma to find the ones that best protect your assets. If you're curious about the federal bankruptcy exemptions, you can find them in the 11 U.S. Code §522. However, Oklahoma doesn't allow you to use those federal exemptions.

Always make sure you're using the most up-to-date information when it comes to bankruptcy exemptions.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Oklahoma Pros and Cons

Chapter 7 can be a great option to get out of debt, but it is essential to understand all the pros and cons before you file.

Pros

  1. Affordable debt relief solution
  2. You can receive a discharge in about 120 days.
  3. Fresh start that allows you to discharge the debt.
  4. You may be able to keep your home and belongings due to exemptions.
  5. It can put a stop to debt collection lawsuits. No more constant phone calls, threatening letters, or fear of legal action.
  6. No more deficiency. This is when you owe more on a loan than what your collateral is worth, and the difference is called a deficiency, but a Chapter 7 can wipe it away.
  7. Provides relief for unaffordable, unsecured debts.

It's important to consider all the benefits and sides of Chapter 7 to make the best decision.

Cons

  1. There are income requirements for qualification that you need to meet.
  2. You may lose your home and other belongings if your assets exceed the exemption limit.
  3. It will hurt the credit report for ten years.
  4. It may hurt credit scores.
  5. If you have non-dischargeable debt, it may not be able to be wiped away. These are debts such as student loans and taxes that may not be able to be included.
  6. Difficult to prevent foreclosure

Now that we've explored the pros and cons of Chapter 7 bankruptcy let's dive into the alternatives.

2) Alternatives to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Oklahoma

If a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not the right fit for you, there are many other options you can look into. Whether you don't qualify for Chapter 7, have assets you want to keep, or don't want to go down that road, another option may work better.

a) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Oklahoma

Even if you don't qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to your income, you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 can help restructure your debts into a more manageable monthly plan. By doing this, most people can keep their homes and vehicles. It can also stop foreclosures, repossessions, and wage garnishments. With Chapter 13, you can pay back your mortgage payments, catch up on past-due car payments, and handle your tax debt over three to five years through a bankruptcy plan. A Chapter 13 might allow you to reduce unpaid child support and alimony. However, you must keep making regular domestic support payments to stay in Chapter 13. If you meet specific requirements, you may be able to lower your car loan payments and even get rid of second mortgages through a Chapter 13 plan.

Can you afford Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Let's say you don't qualify for an Oklahoma Chapter 7 bankruptcy and are considering a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead. To figure out if you can afford a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you might want to consider when it would make sense to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy over Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

b) Debt Relief

A debt relief program in Oklahoma can be cheaper than Debt Management and Payoff Planning. The debt settlement company negotiates a lower amount on your total debt, which can open up some of your income.

If you're considering debt settlement, you should keep a few things in mind. First, consider its impact on your credit score, weigh the pros and cons of debt settlement, and watch out for any red flags when choosing a debt settlement company because there are many sketchy ones out there.

c) Debt Management

Debt management companies negotiate lower interest rates instead of the overall amount as debt settlement does. These programs usually last around 3 or 5 years. However, debt management can be pricier than debt settlement, and some creditors, such as personal loan lenders, might not even want to work with a debt management company. There may be a negative impact on your credit score with debt management.

Debt management is usually good for people with a bunch of credit card debt with sky-high interest rates. For example, if you're paying interest rates of 22-30%, debt management can potentially lower the interest rate to 10%, and now you can spend a lot more towards the principle.

d) Debt Payoff Planning

Debt payoff planning is all about cutting back on expenses and channeling extra cash toward the debt. By doing this, you can try to keep up with the interest and stop it from increasing.

However, debt payoff planning may not work for everyone. Sometimes, the financial hardship is too significant to handle alone so that you may need a more aggressive option.

3) Specific Oklahoma Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Information:

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often called "liquidation bankruptcy" because your non-exempt assets may be sold off to pay back your creditors. Being familiar with the exemptions is essential to protect some of your property. These exemptions vary from state to state, so look at Oklahoma's law.

One significant benefit of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it can give you a fresh financial start. Once your bankruptcy is complete, most, if not all, of your unsecured debts will be wiped clean. This can allow you to rebuild your credit and get back on your feet. However, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy comes with its fair share of challenges. It can significantly impact your credit score, and Chapter 7 stays on your credit report for up to ten years, making it harder to secure loans or credit in the future. Another challenge is that not all debts can be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Certain debts, such as student loans, child support, or tax debts, may not be eligible for discharge.

It's essential to weigh the long-term consequences before making a decision. With that in mind, you may want to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to understand which debts can be wiped away and which ones you'll still be responsible for.

Keep in mind the potential benefits of a fresh start and debt relief, but also be aware of its impact on your credit and the limitations on which debts can be discharged.

Make sure to take the time to gather all the information you need and consult with a professional to make an informed choice.

Oklahoma Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses

When you file for Chapter 7, you must fulfill several requirements. One of them is completing two bankruptcy courses to receive a bankruptcy discharge. These courses are designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to manage your finances better in the future.

The first course you must take is a credit counseling course, which you must complete before filing for bankruptcy. This course helps you understand your financial situation, explore alternatives to bankruptcy, and develop a personalized budget plan. The second course is debtor education; you must take it after filing for bankruptcy. This course focuses on financial management skills and aims to equip you with the tools and knowledge to make informed financial decisions. It covers topics like budgeting, credit management, and future financial planning.

You can find these approved courses online through the United States Trustee's office. They have approved specific companies in each state that offer bankruptcy courses, and you can find a list of these companies in Oklahoma on the UST website. Just visit their website and look for the credit counseling and debtor education information section. Both courses are available online; however, remember that there is a small fee associated with these courses.

Oklahoma Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Court Locations

You must complete something called the 341 meetings of creditors when filing bankruptcy. These meetings have been happening over the phone or through Zoom lately because of the pandemic. However, if you're in Oklahoma and need to go in person, it's good to know where the courthouse is. The court locations in Oklahoma for filing bankruptcy are based on the bankruptcy district.

Northern District

  1. 224 S. Boulder Ave. Tulsa, Oklahoma. Room 411.

Eastern

  1. 101 North 5th Street, Muskogee, OK. Room 208.
  2. If you prefer, mail: P.O. Box 607 in Muskogee, OK.

Western

  1. 200 NW 4th Street in Oklahoma City, zip code 73102.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees Oklahoma

Below is a list of Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees in Oklahoma, sorted by bankruptcy district. You can also find this list online right here.

Here's a table that breaks down the trustees by district, along with their names and phone numbers:

DistrictNamePhone
EasternCharles Greenough(918) 587-0000
EasternGerald R. Miller(918) 687-1347
EasternSidney K. Swinson(918) 595-4800
EasternKaren S. Walsh(918) 699-8981
NorthernCharles Greenough(918) 587-0000
NorthernScott P. Kirtley(918) 587-3161
NorthernPatrick Joseph Malloy, III(918) 699-0345
NorthernGerald R. Miller(918) 687-1347
NorthernSteven W. Soule(918) 594-0400
NorthernSidney K. Swinson(918) 595-4800
NorthernKaren S. Walsh(918) 699-8981
WesternKevin M. Coffey(405) 235-1497
WesternGinger L. Goddard(405) 329-5297
WesternDouglas N. Gould(405) 286-3338
WesternJoel C. Hall(405) 600-9500
WesternSusan J. Manchester(405) 278-8880
WesternJohn D. Mashburn(405) 726-9795
WesternLyle R. Nelson(405) 232-3722

It's important to know that Oklahoma has some local bankruptcy rules that might differ from the Federal Bankruptcy Rules. Be sure to look at the local regulations before filing your case.

Conclusion

If you're curious to see if you qualify and estimate the cost, you can try out the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test calculator below. It can give you an idea of where you stand. Feel free to dive into our article for more details about the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.

When filing for bankruptcy, most people work with a bankruptcy attorney for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. However, you can do it independently; just be sure to do extensive research to be fully prepared.

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