Venue in bankruptcy court is the location in which your case will be filed and heard. Just like anything else this is controlled by a provision of the bankruptcy code. The rules for venue are simple. Venue is proper in the judicial district where for the 180 days prior to filing your petition you have a:
- Principal Place of business, or
- Principal assets are located
Change Of Venue in Bankruptcy
As you can see there are possibly multiple places you could file a bankruptcy petition depending on your situation. In the event there are multiple venue possibilities you can choose any that apply. You must understand, however, another party if they file a motion, or even the bankruptcy judge on his own can change venue in the interest of justice or for the convenience of the parties.
Some cases are simply filed in the incorrect venue. That does not deprive the court of jurisdiction over your case. Even if you file in the wrong place a judge can elect to keep the case in his court.
Proper Division to File Bankruptcy Case
The most common issue confronting a consumer debtor is which district, or which division within a district is proper for filing your case? This is incredibly common in the age of rampant foreclosure. My office is in Lorain County, Ohio. We are on the western edge of the border between the Cleveland division and the Toledo division of our bankruptcy court. Many clients have homes on one side of the line, and abruptly move to the other side of the line. So where is the proper venue to file your bankruptcy petition? Cleveland or Toledo?
The code has an answer for this situation as well. Venue is proper in the district (or division) where you have been for the longer period of the 90 days prior to filing. So, if none of the other provisions apply, the proper district or division you have been in for the preceding 91 days rules.
Residence State and Exemptions
One more thing to know that is not a venue issue in bankruptcy is your state of residence for exemption purposes. In 2005 BAPCPA stopped the migration of well heeled debtors from places like Ohio to Florida or Texas. These states have far more favorable exemption laws than Ohio. Their lawmakers remember who they work for.
Before 2005 you could rent an apartment and stay in one of the good states for just over 3 months and then file bankruptcy and keep much more than you could in Ohio.
Now exemptions are only available for that state in which you resided for the past 730 days. If you have been in more than one over that term then you look to the 180 days prior to the 730. If there is still no state that applies, then you can use the federal exemptions. Even these are more generous than what passes for adequate in Ohio.
Other attorneys writing the bankruptcy alphabet:
- Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska Bankruptcy Attorney, Ryan D. Caldwell writes V is for Vehicle
- Hawaii Bankruptcy Attorney. Stuart T.Ing Claims V is for Violation of Automatic Stay.
- Silicon Valley Bankruptcy Attorney Cathy Moran claims V is for Value.
- Jay Fleischman, a bankruptcy lawyer in New York thinks V is for Vesting.
- Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney, Mitchell Goldstein show true genius when he chooses Venue as well.