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Michigan Bankruptcy Records

What is Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Bankruptcy in Michigan describes a legal proceeding where an individual or entity, regarded as debtor, is granted relief from debts owed to creditors. Debtors may get relief from debts owed to creditors via the liquidation of their assets or the creation of a repayment plan. Bankruptcy in Michigan is under the purview of federal courts. Michigan is host to three federal District courts. Hence, debtors can file for bankruptcy at the federal district court in the region where the debtor's business or residence is situated.

Individual or non-individual debtors may file for bankruptcy under different chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, depending on the debt amount, income level, and desired outcome of the case. For example, debtors whose monthly income is below the state's median income level may file for a Chapter 7. In contrast, debtors with a sustainable income may file for a Chapter 11 or 13 Bankruptcy to enable them to pay off the debt within a fixed timeframe. Debtors can file for bankruptcy based on the debtor's profession or industry. For example, only farmers and fishermen are allowed to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy.

How Do You Qualify for Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Under the US Bankruptcy Code, debtors are qualified to file for bankruptcy depending on the type of bankruptcy case: For example, those who file under Chapter 7 must have a disposable income less than the state’s median income. Michigan bankruptcy courts require debtors to take a "means test" before qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In contrast, individual or non-individual debtors filing for Chapter 13 must have unsecured debts less than $394,725, and secured debts less than $1,184,200. In addition to this, they must agree to repay a significant portion of their unsecured debts over a 3 to 5-year period.

What Type of Bankruptcy Should You File in Michigan?

Bankruptcy courts require debtors to attend a credit counseling course to determine the best of bankruptcy to choose. In addition to this, taking a "means" test will enable debtors to either file for a Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy. The means test analyses the debtor's income for the last six months, expenses, and family size to determine if the debtor can file for a Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy. Business owners do not need to take the test if the debt is mainly from their business.

Where and How to File for Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Individual or entities can file for bankruptcy with the Clerk of the Court at the following Michigan bankruptcy courts:

Michigan Eastern Bankruptcy Court
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
211 West Fort Street
21 st. Floor
21st Floor Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 234-0068

Bankruptcy Clerk
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
111 1street
P.O. Box 911
Bay City, MI 48707
Phone: (517) 894-8840

Bankruptcy Clerk
U.S. Bankruptcy Clerk
226 West 2nd. Street
Flint, MI 48502
Phone: (313) 766-5050

Michigan Western Bankruptcy Court
Bankruptcy Clerk
Gerald Ford Federal Building
110 Michigan Street Northwest
Grand Rapids, MI 49501
Phone: (616) 456-2693

Marquette Clerk's Office
202 West Washington Street
Room 314
Marquette, MI 49855
Phone: (906) 226-2117

Generally, individual and non-individual debtors can file for bankruptcy at the bankruptcy court under the following steps:

  • Filing bankruptcy is considered a "last resort" for most debtors. Therefore, Michigan bankruptcy courts require individuals or entities to attend credit counseling from an accredited center at least six months before filing for bankruptcy. In addition, debtors may attend debt management classes before filing bankruptcy in Michigan.
  • Next, persons who wish to file for a Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy must pass the means test. To take the test, debtors must provide information on all their sources of income, including rental income, business income, unemployment income, and income from other members of the household. The means test determines if the debtor is eligible to file for Chapter 7 or 13 Bankruptcy. Debtors are exempt from taking the means test if the debt is not predominantly consumer debt.
  • Debtors must collate documents detailing their monthly living expenses, secured and unsecured debts, all properties and assets, tax returns and major financial transactions over the last two years, and documents on procured loans;
  • Debtors must complete the bankruptcy forms required for the type of bankruptcy petition. At this point, debtors may hire the services of an attorney to help out with filling the forms and filing the case.

What are Michigan Bankruptcy Records?

A Michigan bankruptcy record will contain case files, dockets, and other legal documentation concerning the filing and disposition of a bankruptcy case in Michigan. The record also has the personal and financial information of individuals or businesses that filed a bankruptcy petition, as well as details about the petitioner's creditors such as names, locations, and the amounts owed. Bankruptcy cases are federal proceedings regulated by the Bankruptcy Code, which governs all bankruptcy actions nationwide.

Michigan bankruptcy records are stored in case of files at the courthouse where the case was heard or at the National Archives. Any person who wishes to obtain a bankruptcy record must have certain details of the record to help identify it, such as a case number, filing date, and the petitioner's name. Other than the federal courts and National Archives, Georgia bankruptcy records are accessible through Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER), Multi-Court Voice Case Information System (MCVCIS), the Court Electronic Case Filing (ECF) system, and third-party public records websites.

What Do Michigan Bankruptcy Records Contain?

A Michigan bankruptcy record will typically contain the petitioner's case files and any other legal documents or notes from the bankruptcy proceedings. This includes the case number, petitioner's personal information, a list of assets, date, and chapter of filing, and the voluntary petition. Other information found in a bankruptcy record includes the attorney, creditors, judge, and bankruptcy trustee details. A Michigan bankruptcy record will also indicate the current status of a case, and the dates of discharge and closing (if available).

Are Bankruptcy Records Public Information?

Yes. The Freedom of Information Act makes proceedings from federal courts, including the bankruptcy courts, available to members of the public upon request. Anyone can request access to any Georgia bankruptcy record, the only exception being if the record was sealed by a judge, which rarely occurs. Individuals can view Georgia bankruptcy records using the public access terminals in the Court Clerk's office or through PACER.

Record seekers looking for an alternative to government sources may obtain bankruptcy records from third-party websites. These non-governmental websites often come with tools that help simplify the search for single or multiple records. However, record availability on third-party sites tends to vary because they’re independent of government sources. To obtain bankruptcy case information using third-party sites, record seekers may need to provide:

  • A complete name of the debtor involved in the record
  • A bankruptcy case number

How to Get Michigan Bankruptcy Records?

Michigan bankruptcy records can be obtained via the following means:

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER): PACER is an electronic public access service developed for federal courts. PACER allows persons with internet access to retrieve official case information and court dockets electronically from the Michigan bankruptcy courts. Users must register to access the service. There are charges to obtain records on PACER, assessed by the type and quantity of records needed.

Multi-Court Voice Case Information Service (MCVCIS): MCVCIS is a free automated system that allows the public to dial into the court's live database and obtain case information using a touch-tone telephone. The database is accessible 24/7, except on maintenance days. Case information provided to the public includes debtor names, case numbers, judges, filing dates, filing chapters, asset/no asset designations, attorneys, trustees, and current case status. To use this service, dial (866) 222-8029 and follow the voice instructions to retrieve case information.

Office of the Clerk of the Court: Visit the clerk's office at any staffed court location and use the public access terminals to search and obtain information from Michigan bankruptcy case records. Documents can be printed at a fee of $0.10 per page. The clerk's office can also mail bankruptcy records upon receiving a mail request and the appropriate copy fees. Certified copies of bankruptcy records are also available for $11 per certification. In Michigan, the bankruptcy clerks have offices in the following locations:

United States Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Michigan:

Detroit
US Bankruptcy Court
Eastern District of Michigan
211 West Fort Street
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (313) 234-0065

Bay City
111 First Street
Bay City, MI 48708
Phone: (989) 894-8840

Flint
226 West Second Street
Flint, MI 48502
(810) 235-4126

United States Bankruptcy Court of the Western District of Michigan:

Grand Rapids
US Bankruptcy Court
Western District of Michigan
1 Division Avenue North, Room 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 456-2693

Marquette
US Bankruptcy Court
Western District of Michigan
202 West Washington Street, 3rd Floor
Marquette, MI 49855
Phone: (616) 456-2693

National Archives: Archived Michigan bankruptcy records are stored with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Records stored with NARA can be obtained in the following ways:

  • Order from the Federal Resource Center (FRC). The records will be delivered directly to the requester.
  • Order through the Court. The record will be delivered to the court, which will notify the requester when it arrives. Contact the appropriate court clerk for instructions on ordering archived records.

How Do I Find Out if My Bankruptcy Case is Closed in Michigan?

Typically, when a bankruptcy case is closed, the judge who presided over the case will issue a closing order. The notice will be sent to the petitioner (or petitioner's attorney, if there is one) after the judge is satisfied that all case obligations have been met.

An individual can also find out if a bankruptcy case has been closed in Michigan by using PACER or MCVCIS to search and retrieve the status of the bankruptcy case. This information can also be collected from the clerk's office or courthouse public access terminals.

Can a Bankruptcy Be Expunged in Michigan?

No. It is not possible to expunge bankruptcy records or have them removed from the public domain in the State of Michigan. The Bankruptcy Code, USC Title 11, does not provide for the expungement or removal of bankruptcy records.

What are the Downsides of Filing for Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Debtors may face the following downsides despite the benefits of filing for bankruptcy in Michigan:

  • During bankruptcy, credit card companies will cancel credit cards in a debtor's possession. Although debtors can re-apply for credit cards after filing for bankruptcy, the cards may come with additional charges and high interest rates;
  • Filing for bankruptcy places a negative mark on a credit score - this reduces the debtor's chances of getting loans after bankruptcy. Furthermore, the negative mark will remain on the credit score, based on the type of bankruptcy filed. For example, a chapter 7 bankruptcy record stays on the credit score for ten years after filing the case.
  • Loss of properties and assets. Not all properties are exempt from liquidation from filing for bankruptcy. In other words, bankruptcy courts will sell all non-exempt properties and assets to offset the debtor's secured or unsecured debts.
  • Debtors may face stigmas when applying for jobs or searching for a new residence.
  • Bankruptcy does not erase unsecured debts, such as child support, spousal support, or student loans. Note that the Michigan bankruptcy courts can erase student loans if the debtor can prove extreme financial hardship;
  • In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, co-signers to a loan are required to repay part of the debtor's debt. Hence, co-signers must file for bankruptcy protection to avoid paying part of the loan.

Despite the downsides listed above, bankruptcy provides debtors with these upsides:

  • Bankruptcy courts grant an "automatic stay" which prevents calls, judgments, appeals, and collection of the debtor's properties and assets by collection agencies;
  • Debtors who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will get instant relief from all debts owed to creditors;
  • Bankruptcy courts exempt some properties or assets from liquidation. Therefore, debtors may get to keep their homes or cars, under Michigan bankruptcy laws.
  • Also, bankruptcy enables debtors to create a payment plan without liquidating their assets.

What is Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filed under the Bankruptcy Code is a series of legal proceedings where debtors can declare bankruptcy, stay in control of their assets, and create a repayment plan of all debts. Under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, debtors will propose a repayment plan, and creditors may vote to approve or disprove the plan. Individuals and entities that file for this type of bankruptcy may continue to operate without selling assets or properties to pay debts. Likewise, chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Michigan enables creditors to get payments over a three-to-five-year duration.

Who Can File for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Michigan

In Michigan, individual debtors with over $1,000,000 in secured debt are eligible to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. Also, it is common for businesses to file for bankruptcy under this chapter. Individuals or entities may voluntarily file for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy at the federal district court where the business or residence is domiciled. In contrast, two or more creditors can force debtors to file for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

How to File a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Michigan

Individuals or entities can file for bankruptcy at the federal district court in their jurisdiction. Michigan state laws require debtors to obtain a credit counseling certificate from a legally recognized credit counseling agency.

After completing a credit counseling course, debtors must file the certificate alongside the following required documents at the bankruptcy court:

Furthermore, individual debtors must file a copy of a debt repayment plan, and proof of payment from an employer in the last two months before filing. Bankruptcy courts also require statements detailing the debtor's net monthly income and expected increase in earnings after filing for bankruptcy.

Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, debtors may file for a petition with or without an attorney. In the absence of an attorney, debtors must fill out and file a Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury for Debtors. Debtors filing for bankruptcy, without the aid of an attorney, may upload their completed documents on the state's Eastern Bankruptcy Court or the Western Bankruptcy Court's online platform. Note that debtors must create an account on the Western Bankruptcy Court's platform to upload their documents. After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, debtors are automatically in charge of their assets.

What are the Benefits of Filing a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Debtors filing a chapter 11 bankruptcy in Michigan will get the following benefits:

  • It provides debtors with the freedom to restructure and spread their debt repayment plan over a long time.
  • Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, debtors remain in charge of their assets and continue to operate to repay debts;
  • After filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, debtors can obtain lower interest rates on previously-high interest loans.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Michigan covers a legal proceeding in which the court liquidates the debtor's non-exempt properties to settle debts owed to creditors. The court appoints a trustee who collects and sells any non-exempt assets or properties. In addition, the trustee distributes the proceeds from the liquidation assets to creditors. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors can discharge unsecured debts like credit card loans, income tax debts, and medical-related debts.

Note that filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not discharge debts like alimony, student loans, fraudulent debts, court fees and penalties, personal debts, or child support payments. By signing a voluntary "Reaffirmation Agreement", debtors filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Michigan can keep secured debts such as a house, car, or furniture.

Who Can File for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

In Michigan, only individual debtors can file for chapter 7 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court will only allow debtors to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Michigan under the following conditions:

  • If the debtor's monthly household income falls below the state's median income for such households. As of 2021, the median income for households in the UK Michigan is as follows:
  • $44,072 for a one-member family;
  • $52,540 for a 2-member family;
  • $61,110 for a 3-member family;
  • $74,863 for a 4-member family;
  • $82,963 for a 5-member family;
  • $91,063 for a 6-member family;
  • $99,163 for a 7-member family;
  • $107,263 for an 8-member family;
  • $115,363 for a 9-member family;
  • $123,463 for a 10-member family.
  • If the debtor has little to no disposable income.
  • Debtors must pass the means test.

How to File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Michigan

Debtors can start the process of filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy by taking a credit counseling class at a legally approved agency. Upon completing the credit counseling course, debtors must take the means test. The means test analyses a debtor's disposable income by deducting monthly expenses from the average monthly income. Thus, persons with a low disposable income can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Debtors must present the credit counseling certificate and other required documents in person at the bankruptcy court in their jurisdiction. On the other hand, Michigan District Courts maintain an online platform where debtors can upload all the necessary documents for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A bankruptcy judge will issue an automatic stay to the debtor after filing a bankruptcy petition with the court. The court order prevents creditors from calling or repossessing the debtor's properties and assets.

What are the Benefits of Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

  • Debtors get total relief from a majority of unsecured debts;
  • A Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition takes three to four months to complete;
  • It has a high success rate, as compared to Chapter 11 or 13 Bankruptcy petitions;
  • Debtors can keep all earnings and properties acquired after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Michigan;
  • There is no limited amount of debt required before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

How Long Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Last on Record?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed in Michigan remains on record for ten years after the filing date.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Michigan, individual debtors can repay all or part of their debt in installments over a three to year period. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to pay off creditors from a part of their future income, and prevent them from liquidating their assets. Hence, persons filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy get to keep their homes from foreclosure as long as they can afford to pay the mortgage. Individuals also resort to filing under Chapter 13 bankruptcy if there's a secured asset they wish to protect. In other words, it grants debtors with more control over their assets.

Who Can File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Only individuals and sole proprietors with the financial capability to consistently repay debt are eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Michigan. Bankruptcy courts require debtors to prove their financial capabilities by disclosing their sources of income within 14 days of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Debtors may fund their bankruptcy repayment plan via the following sources of income

  • Self-employment income
  • Workers' compensations and benefits
  • Royalties and rents
  • Retirement benefits;
  • Sales proceeds from selling properties.

In addition, debtors are automatically considered for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if their secured and unsecured debts are below $419,725 and $1,257,850, respectively.

Note that corporations and other business entities can not file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

How to File a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Individual debtors can file for chapter 13 bankruptcy in Michigan via the following steps:

First, debtors must decide to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy with or without the aid of an attorney. Filing bankruptcy with the aid of an attorney improves the chances of a successful petition.

Debtors must attend take a credit counseling course, and file the certificate alongside other required documents at the bankruptcy court serving their jurisdiction;

  • Also, debtors must provide the following data when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy:
  • List of all debts owed to creditors;
  • Documents showing the debtor's sources of income;
  • Tax information

List of monthly liabilities and expenses at least six months to two years before filing for bankruptcy;

After filing for bankruptcy, the court issues an automatic stay to prevent creditors from calling or repossessing the debtor's assets.

What are the Benefits of Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Michigan offers debtors the following advantages:

  • Creditors are unable to repossess or hassle debtors after filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy;
  • Debtors can retain all properties and assets including non-exempt assets;
  • Co-signers to a loan are exempt from repaying the loans;
  • Debts can create a convenient repayment plan to settle all unsecured debts.

How Long Does a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Last on Record?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Texas lasts on record for seven years after the filing date.

What is the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan?

The major difference between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy is in the outcome and requirements of the case. For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy results in the liquidation of the debtor's assets, while those who file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy get to keep their assets and properties. The court allows debtors under Chapter 13 to repay all or part of their debts within 36 to 60 months after filing for bankruptcy. In addition to this, chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right fit for debtors with little to no disposable income. In contrast, debtors filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy must have secured and unsecured debts less than, respectively.

What is Bankruptcy Protection in Michigan?

In Michigan, the bankruptcy judge issues bankruptcy protection or "automatic stay" to prevent creditors from calling or repossessing a debtor's properties and assets. After filing for bankruptcy in Michigan, the court restrains all court orders demanding the collection of a debtor's assets. In the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court allows the creditor to maintain control over the assets before assigning a trustee to manage the assets for liquidation. In contrast, bankruptcy protection in Chapter 11 or 13 bankruptcy enables debtors to regain control over all assets and properties during and after the case.

What are Michigan Bankruptcy Exemptions?

Bankruptcy Exemptions in Michigan protect certain properties and assets from liquidation when filing for bankruptcy. Debtors may opt for state or federal bankruptcy exemptions when filing for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. Unsurprisingly, most debtors choose state bankruptcy exemptions due to the following benefits:

  • Homesteads are exempted under state bankruptcy exemptions. For instead, properties held by co-tenancy are exempt.
  • Real estate properties not more than one lot in cities, villages, and towns. 559.214, 600.6023(1)(h), (I), 600.6023(3), 600.6027
  • Benefits, such as health benefits, society benefits, or fraternal benefits, are also exempt;
  • Personal properties, such as clothes, jewelry, livestock, and social welfare benefits are exempt when filing for bankruptcy;
  • Insurance benefits, including life benefits.

What are the Other Types of Bankruptcy in Michigan?

Persons or entities can also file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy in Michigan. Chapter 12 bankruptcy applies only to those in the agricultural industry, such as farmers and fishermen. Interested persons can obtain information about how to file Chapter 12 bankruptcy at the bankruptcy court in their jurisdiction.