Washington DC Bankruptcy Laws


What Are The Washington DC Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Washington, D.C.

Washington DC 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 a Washington DC bankruptcy attorney to find which of your assets will be protected in a bankruptcy filed in Washington DC. In general, the major Washington DC bankruptcy exemptions include:

General Washington DC Exemptions
Real Estate (the Homestead Exemption)
100 percent of the debtor's aggregate interest in real property used as the residence of the debtor is 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 Washington DC bankruptcy attorney for specific information.
Automobiles
Up to $2,575 of equity in a motor vehicle can be protected.
Other Property
Exemption of $425 in value, in any particular item, or $8,625 in aggregate value, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments, that are held primarily for the personal family or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor; and $1,625 exemption for any implements, professional books, or tools of the trade of the debtor or the trade of a dependent of the debtor.
View the complete list of Washington DC bankruptcy exemptions

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?

Generally, 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 Washington DC a Community Property State?

No, Washington DC 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.

Washington DC Bankruptcy Court Locations:

333 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Room 4400
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 565-2500

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.

Washington DC Bankruptcy Attorney Locations:

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