What laws govern when you file an Arizona bankruptcy?
Because it’s common for people to move from state to state, it is also common for people filing bankruptcy in Arizona to have property, both personal property and real estate, in other states. Because of this, there are three common questions that my clients will ask me: When can I file bankruptcy in Arizona? What state laws control the outcome of my bankruptcy? What state laws protect me outside of bankruptcy?
When can I file bankruptcy in Arizona?
Anyone who has lived in Arizona for at least 91 consecutive days prior to filing may file bankruptcy in Arizona (Please keep in mind that even if you have not lived in AZ for 91 days you may still be able to file in Arizona. In this circumstance, you should speak with an Arizona bankruptcy attorney to qualify). Even if some or all of your property is located in other states, you can still file in Arizona if you have lived here for the past 91 days.
What state laws control the outcome of my bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy law is federal, so much of the procedure and over-arching principals of bankruptcy are covered by federal law no matter what state you file in. However, when it comes to protecting property, the federal laws provide regulations for protecting property, but often defer to the individual state laws to determine what property may be protected. Arizona has decided not to use the federal exemptions to protect property in bankruptcy, so most people filing in Arizona must use its exemption laws.
However, to use Arizona’s state exemption laws you must have lived in Arizona for two years prior to filing. If not, you will be forced to use either the exemption laws from the state you previously lived in, or you may be able to use the exemption laws provided by the bankruptcy code. It starts to get very complicated from here. If you have moved recently and need to file bankruptcy, I strongly recommend speaking with an attorney to help you determine what laws you are entitled to use to protect your property.
What state laws protect me outside of bankruptcy?
If you are unsure whether you need to file bankruptcy because you think you may be protected, you need to know what state’s laws will protect you. The state laws that protect real estate are the laws of the state in which the real estate is located; if a home is located in California, California’s laws govern what happens to the real estate regardless if the owner is located in Arizona. The state laws that protect personal property, like cars and household goods, are the laws of the state in which the owner resides; if the owner of a car lives in Arizona, the laws of Arizona will decide whether the car is protected, regardless if the car is located in California.
If you have moved to Arizona in the last two years and are considering filing bankruptcy, it is best to talk to an experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney with knowledge as to what laws will protect you and your property . Call (480) 648-8975 to schedule your FREE consultation.