Updated May 24, 2016
Bankruptcy is a system of federal law, so the process to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is nearly identical in every state, including Kansas. However, Kansas laws play an important role, especially in setting property exemptions, which determine what property you get to keep (if you file for Chapter 7) and how much you have to repay your creditors (if you file for Chapter 13). There are also important resources available to you by state.
Before you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Kansas, you will have to get credit counseling from an agency approved by the United States Trustee’s Office. Here’s a list of agencies that have been approved to provide this counseling in Kansas.
Kansas has federal bankruptcy courts in Wichita, Topeka, and Kansas City. You can find local rules, forms, and information on bankruptcy filings at the bankruptcy court’s website.
Like every other state, Kansas has its own list of property exemptions. (To learn more about how property exemptions work generally and which exemptions you may use, see Bankruptcy Exemptions: What Do I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?)
Some states let bankruptcy filers choose between the state’s list of exemptions and a list of federal exemptions, but Kansas is not one of them.
Kansas has an unlimited homestead exemption: Filers may exempt all equity in their home, as long as it doesn’t exceed an acre of property in a city or town or 160 acres elsewhere. (To take advantage of this exemption, you must be living or intend to live in the home when you file for bankruptcy.) Kansas also allows a generous $20,000 exemption for vehicles, or an unlimited exemption if the vehicle is equipped or designed for someone with a disability. Here’s a list of Kansas property exemptions.
When you file for bankruptcy, you must compare your income to the median income for a household of your size in Kansas. 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).
Currently, the median income for a four-person household in Kansas is abuot $81,000; these figures change periodically. You can find the most recent amounts on the website of the U.S. Trustee at www.justice.gov/ust. Click on “Means Testing Information.”
After you file for bankruptcy but before you receive your discharge, you must take a debtor education course. Like the mandatory credit counseling you must take before filing your forms, you must receive debtor education from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office. Here is a list of agencies in Kansas that are currently approved to provide this counseling.
If you're considering bankruptcy, you may want to talk to an experienced Kansas bankruptcy lawyer.