Who can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Iowa?

A debtor can only file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Iowa if venue is proper there. Venue is proper in Iowa only if the debtor has lived there for most of the six months prior to filing. Otherwise, he or she will have to wait to file or file in the state where he or she lived for most of that six-month period.

However, which state’s exemptions will apply in a case is determined under a separate test. That is, filing for bankruptcy in Iowa doesn’t necessarily mean Iowa’s exemptions will be used. Instead, the bankruptcy court will use the exemptions defined by the state where:

  • The debtor has lived for the entire two-year period prior to filing; or
  • The debtor lived for most of the six months just before that two-year period, if the debtor lived in multiple states during the last two years.

Example: Joseph files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Iowa on August 1, 2017. He has lived in Iowa since January 1, 2017, after having lived in Hawaii his whole life. Because he has lived in Iowa for the entire six-month period prior to filing, venue is proper there. However, because he has not lived in Io

Cost to file chapter 7 in Iowa

The chapter 7 filing fees in Iowa are $338, but that doesn’t tell the whole story of the real cost to file bankruptcy. Bankruptcy lawyers usually charge between $1,000 and $2,000 to file a chapter 7 case, in addition to the filing fee.

Iowa Bankruptcy Court Locations

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases in southern counties in Iowa are filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Iowa. It has three locations:

Des Moines: 110 E. Court Ave., Ste. 300, Des Moines, IA 50309, (515) 284-6230

Davenport: 131 E. Fourth St., Davenport, IA 52801, (563) 884-7607

Council Bluffs: 8 S. Sixth St., Council Bluffs, IA 51501, (712) 328-0283

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases in Iowa’s northern half are filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa. Although it holds hearings in multiple locations, it has only two where bankruptcy cases can be filed:

Cedar Rapids: 111 Seventh Ave. SE, #15, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401, (319) 286-2200

Sioux City: 320 Sixth St., Rm. 126, Sioux City, IA 51101, (712) 233-3939

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