Iowa State Bankruptcy Laws


What Are The Iowa Bankruptcy Exemptions?

IowaIowa law protects all or a portion of your property from being seized by creditors or the bankruptcy trustee in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are generally allowed to keep all of your assets and property. Certain exceptions may apply, so it's wise to consult with an Iowa bankruptcy attorney to find which of your assets will be protected in a bankruptcy filed in Iowa. In general, the major Iowa bankruptcy exemptions include:

General Iowa Exemptions
Real Estate (the Homestead Exemption)
½ acre including dwelling house (if in city); otherwise, 40 acres including dwelling house can be protected.

A provision in the new bankruptcy law caps the homestead exemption at $125,000 if you have not lived in the state for at least 40 months prior to the time you file a bankruptcy petition. In some situations, the cap may be permanent. You should consult with a Iowa bankruptcy attorney for specific information.

Automobiles
There is no specific automobile exemption in Iowa.
Other Property
$1,000 worth of clothing; books, bibles, pictures, musical instruments, and paintings up to $1,000 in the aggregate; household furnishings, goods, and appliances up to $2,000 in the aggregate; implements, professional books, and tools of the trade of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor up to $10,000 in the aggregate; and for farmers, tools, equipment, and livestock up to $10,000 in the aggregate.
View the complete list of Iowa bankruptcy exemptions

In Iowa, you have the choice of electing the federal exemption statutes rather than the Iowa state exemptions. Consult with an Iowa bankruptcy attorney for more details.

Please remember that this page provides general information only, and is not intended to provide legal advice. The information is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified bankruptcy attorney. If you need legal assistance, consult an attorney.

Which state's exemption laws apply in your bankruptcy?

IowaGenerally, the laws of the state in which you lived for the 730 days (2 years) prior to filing a bankruptcy petition will apply in your bankruptcy.

If you have not lived in the same state for the 2 years immediately prior to filing your bankruptcy petition, the laws of the state in which you lived for the majority of the 180-day period preceding the 2-year period will likely apply.

If application of the preceding general rules renders you ineligible for exemptions under any state's laws, you may be allowed to choose the federal exemptions applicable in your bankruptcy.

Is Iowa a Community Property State?

No, Iowa is not a community property state. Because it is not a community property state, you will be responsible for your spouse's debts only if you voluntarily assumed those debts by, for example, co-signing on a loan given to your spouse. In a non-community property state, one spouse can file for bankruptcy and be eligible to eliminate all of their unsecured debts without the involvement of the other spouse.

How did your senator vote on the new bankruptcy laws?

Following years of intense lobbying by creditors, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). How did your Senators vote on these largely pro-creditor provisions?

Grassley (R-IA) — YEA
Harkin (D-IA) — NAY

Iowa Bankruptcy Court Locations:

United States Bankruptcy Court
Northern District of Iowa

P.O. Box 74890
Cedar Rapids, IA 52407
(319) 286-2200

United States Bankruptcy Court
Northern District of Iowa

P.O. Box 3857
Sioux City, IA 51102-3857
(712) 233-3939

300 U.S. Courthouse Annex
110 East Court Ave Suite 300
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 284-6230

Note: You may not have to actually go to one of the above bankruptcy courts. Trustees often conduct your meeting at a local venue.

Although bankruptcy is federal law, the bankruptcy courts in each jurisdiction have local rules that must be followed. A local bankruptcy attorney will be familiar with the specific rules in your area.

Iowa Bankruptcy Attorney Locations:

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Bankruptcy Laws in Your State