(For more articles on the filing process, see Filing for Bankruptcy.)
Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and Pre-Discharge Debtor Education in ColoradoIn order to qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must show that you received credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee in Colorado within the six month period before you file for bankruptcy. You’ll also have to take a debtor education course before you get a bankruptcy discharge. (To learn more about this requirement, including the rare exceptions, see Credit Counseling & Debtor Education Requirements in Bankruptcy.)
You can find the list of approved Colorado credit counseling agencies here.
You can find the list of approved Colorado debtor education agencies here.
Colorado Bankruptcy ExemptionsColorado has a set of bankruptcy exemptions which help determine what property you get to keep in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and play a role in how much you repay unsecured creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. (To learn more, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.)
Unlike in some states, Colorado does not allow debtors to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. If you file for bankruptcy in Colorado, you'll have to use the Colorado state exemptions.
To learn about Colorado’s exemptions for your home and car, see The Homestead Exemption in Colorado and The Motor Vehicle Exemption in Colorado. To find other Colorado exemptions, visit our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.
Completing the Bankruptcy Forms in ColoradoWhen you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a bankruptcy petition, a number of schedules containing detailed information about your finances, and several other forms, including a lengthy form known as the “means test” (for Chapter 7) and a similar form for Chapter 13.
(For a list of the forms you must complete, see The Bankruptcy Forms: Getting Started.)
Getting and Completing the Official Bankruptcy FormsFor more information about each of the official forms, including how to find them, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.
Finding Means Test Information for ColoradoWhen you file for bankruptcy in Colorado, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Colorado. If your income is less than the median, you will be eligible to file for Chapter 7 and, if you choose to file for Chapter 13, you can use a three-year repayment plan (rather than five years). This is called the means test.
If your income is above Colorado’s median income, you still might qualify for Chapter 7, but you’ll have to provide detailed information about your expenses and payments on secured debts in order to find out. Most Chapter 13 filers also have to provide this information.
For information about each of these forms, see:
Form 22A – Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation (for Chapter 7), and
Form 22C – Statement of Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period and Disposable Income (for Chapter 13).
Here’s how to find the Colorado-specific figures for these means test forms:
Colorado median income figures. For a one-person household in Colorado, the median income is $47,361. For a family of three, the Colorado median income is $69,252. These figures change periodically. You can find the most current figures for each household size here.
Example. John’s annual income is $40,000. He lives alone. He will automatically pass the means test because his income is below $47,361.
Standard deductions. Forms 22A and 22C have a comprehensive list of expense categories, such as housing, transportation, food, and childcare. For some of those categories (like childcare), you provide the actual amount you spend. For others, you plug in a predetermined amount -- sometimes that figure is standard for the whole country, other times it varies by county or region.
You can find all of the Colorado state, county and region-specific figures you’ll need for Forms 22A and 22C on the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.justice.gov/ust. Click on “Bankruptcy Reform” and then “Means Testing Information.”
Example. In Colorado, the standard amount you list on your bankruptcy papers for housing varies by county. For example, if you live in Jefferson County, your mortgage or rent deduction is $1,239 for a one-person household. But if you live in Lincoln County, the deduction is $678. You can find housing expense standards for each Colorado county here.
Getting Local Bankruptcy FormsSome judicial districts and bankruptcy courts require bankruptcy filers to complete additional “local forms.” To find out if your court requires additional forms, contact the bankruptcy filing clerk. Some courts post these forms online on the court’s website. (Below you’ll find a link to Colorado’s bankruptcy court.)
Filing in the Colorado Bankruptcy CourtSince there is only one bankruptcy court in Colorado (see below for the link), you don’t need to worry about the rules for filing in the correct court.
You can use the Court Locator tool on the U.S. Trustee’s website to find bankruptcy court locations and websites. The Colorado Bankruptcy Court website is www.cob.uscourts.gov.
The bankruptcy court in Colorado is located in Denver.
by: Mher Asatryan, Contributing Author