Wisconsin State Bankruptcy Laws


What Are The Wisconsin Bankruptcy Exemptions?

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

General Wisconsin Exemptions
Real Estate (the Homestead Exemption)
Up to $40,000 of equity in your homestead can be protected.
Automobiles
Up to $1,200 of equity in one motor vehicle plus any unused portion of the household goods can be protected.
Other Property
Household goods and furnishings, clothing, keepsakes, jewelry and other articles of personal adornment, appliances, books, musical instruments, firearms, sporting goods, animals or other tangible personal property not to exceed $5,000 in aggregate value; $7,500 in equipment, inventory, farm products and professional books used in a trade or business.

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

View the complete list of Wisconsin 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?

WisconsinGenerally, 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 Wisconsin a community property state?

Yes, Wisconsin is a community property state. Because it is a community property state, you are responsible for any debts that your spouse incurred while you were married. You are therefore equally liable for your spouse's debts even if you did not voluntarily assume liability for them by, for example, cosigning for a loan given to your 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?

Feingold (D-WI) — NAY
Kohl (D-WI) — NAY

Wisconsin Bankruptcy Court Locations:

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
126 U.S. Courthouse

517 East Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
53202-4581
(414) 297-3291

Madison Division
120 North Henry Street, Room 340
P.O. Box 548
Madison, WI 53701-0548
(608) 264-5178

Eau Claire Division
500 South Barstow Street
P.O. Box 5009
Eau Claire, WI 54702-5009
(715) 839-2980

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.

Wisconsin Bankruptcy Attorney Locations:

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Bankruptcy Laws in Your State