Venue and Bankruptcy: Which Court do you file your case?

(Note: this post is from a guest writer from Atlanta, GA. Peter Bricks has been a member of the Georgia bar since 2006 and is also a member of the DC bar. If you are looking for a Georgia bankruptcy attorney, click here to see Mr. Brick’s site)

As a primarily NorthernDistrict of Georgia bankruptcy attorney, I know based on what county my client resides whether their case will be filed in either the Atlanta, Newnan, Gainesville or Rome courthouse.  If the debtor does not reside in any of the counties assigned to the Northern District of Georgia, the case will therefore most likely be filled in either the Middle District of Georgiaor the Southern District of Georgia.

This is because venue in a bankruptcy venue in a bankruptcy case is dictated by 11 USC 1408. That code section says “a case under title 11may be commenced in the district court for the district—(1) in which the domicile, residence, principal place of business in the United States, or principal assets in the United States, of the person or entity that is subject of such case have been located for the one hundred and eighty days immediately preceding such commencement, or for a longer portion of such one-hundred-and-eighty-day period than the domicile, residence, or principle place of business, in the United States, or principal assets in the United States, of such person were located in any other district.


Therefore, while the vast majority of the time venue isbased on the debtor’s primary residence, it can also be selected due to the debtor’s assets. If the majority of the debtor’s assets are located elsewhere from where the debtor actually resides, then venue is appropriate in that location as well.

One important point to mention about basing venue on residence is that it applies to where the debtor lived for the greater part of 91 days of the 180 days preceding filing. While that is usually where the debtor currently resides, it is not necessarily so.

A debtor who has recently moved will need to decide whether to wait and file at the new place of residence or file now where venue will beperhaps be even in a different state from the debtor’s new residence. This is important, particularly as the debtor must make the meeting of creditors appearance at the court that has venue. And should it be a Chapter 13 case, the debtor is likely to need to appear in court on more than one occasion;therefore, making more problematic the decision to not hold off the filing to establish new venue.

Peter Bricks is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. He has bankruptcy attorney offices in Dunwoody, Cumming and Jonesboro, Georgia.







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