If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in the Seattle metro area, it is important to figure out when and where you will be able to file bankruptcy in the State of Washington. Most people considering bankruptcy do not get to choose what state they will file in as this is already determined by the bankruptcy code. In general, bankruptcy filers are required to file in the state in which they have resided and are domiciled for the greater part of the last 180 days. Additionally, when a debtor files bankruptcy they are allowed to use bankruptcy exemptions in which to protect their assets. Some state exemptions allow for more protection than others while other states allow a debtor to choose whether to use state exemptions or federal exemptions. The debtors exemption laws are determined by where a debtor resided 730 days prior to filing bankruptcy. This means that if a debtor currently has lived in Washington state for the last year, but prior to that lived in California, her exemption laws would be based on California law.
Residency and domicile requirements can be complicated and failure to file in the correct venue may result in a dismissal of your case. A bankruptcy attorney can advise as to what venue you should be filing in. Things can get even more complicated when there is a married couple who wishes to file a joint petition but they live in two different states for various reasons. Generally, a couple living in two different states may be allowed to file a petition together under the bankruptcy code if most of their domicile is the state in which they want to file or the majority of their assets are in the state that they want to file. Domicile means that, although the debtor is living in a different state, they intend to return to the state where they are originally from. The exemption law however will still be based on where both debtors lived two years ago. For some people, filing two bankruptcies may be easier, although in that case debtors will have to pay two sets of legal and filing fees which can be costly.
If you have additional questions about where you should look to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, give Symmes Law Group a call today at 206-682-7975