A Quandary... where to file bankruptcy?
Over a year ago, I moved from Georgia to Alabama to take a contract position after losing a very lucrative job. My original job contract was for 6mos but was subsequently extended for a full year.
While in Bama, my GA drivers license was due to expire. I decided to get an Alabama DL ... mainly for the convenience of not having to drive to GA to renew my license. I later registered my vehicle in Alabama since I had a Alabama DL.
NOW ... I have decided to file for bankruptcy as I am unable to pay the debts I incurred when my salary was much higher. In addition, I have determined that I can qualify for either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. But I am uncertain if I should file in GA or AL?
The only asset I care about retaining is the home in Georgia I resided in for 24 years and still consider my primary residence. I have continued to pay the mortgage and taxes on the home. My daughter currently lives in the house with a roommate. She pays the utilities but they also are in my name.
Given I would like to attempt to keep my "primary residence" in GA but am currently residing in Alabama .....
WHERE must or should I file for bankruptcy ....Alabama or Georgia?
2 Answers from Attorneys
The rule as to where you file bankruptcy is your current residency. If you are now a resident in Alabama and have lived there more than six months from moving from Georgia, then you file in Alabama. However, Georgia controls as to the exemptions you are allowed in bankruptcy. You need to see an Alabama bankruptcy lawyer.
If you have been living in Alabama, your Georgia home is NOT your primary residence. Generally you would file in Alabama.
A federal statute, 28 USC 1408(1) specifies where a bankruptcy case may be filed. For a person, in most situations it is obvious where the case should be filed. Most cases are filed where the individual has lived for more than the last three months prior to the date of filing. The statute provides for filing in the district "in which the domicile, residence, principal place of business in the United States, or principal assets in the United States, of the person or entity that is the subject of the case have been located for the one hundred eighty days immediately preceding such commencement, or for a longer portion of such one-hundred-and-eighty-day period than in any other district."
You will likely be inelgible for Alabama exemptions. You will also likely be inelgible for Georgia's. Georgia’s exemptions are limited to debtors whose “domicile has been located in Georgia for the 180 days immediately preceding the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition or for a longer portion of such 180 day period than in any other place.” Ga. Code Ann. § 44-13-100(b). Few nonresident debtors will be eligible.
This means you probably will use federal exemptions.
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