Bankruptcy In New Mexico
Every state has its own bankruptcy laws. Although the basic procedures are identical, there can be big differences, especially in the exemption statutes, which determine how much property you can keep when you file.
Choice Between Federal and State Exemptions
Some states allow you to choose which exemptions you want to use, either the federal or the state exemptions. New Mexico is one of those states. Under the New Mexico exemptions, most of your property can be exempted. For example, a married couple is allowed to keep a house if they have less than $120,000 of equity. Similarly, cars can be kept with less than $4000 equity, household goods up to $10,000, all retirement funds, most jewelry, tools of the trade, and other common property.
When to Choose the Federal Exemptions
Sometimes you are better off choosing the Federal exemptions. For example, if you don't own a house, or have no equity in a house, the Federal statutes allow you to keep about $22,000 ($11,000 per person) in any property. So, for example, if you have a bank account with $10,000 in it, and are not claiming a homestead exemption, you would want to choose the federal exemptions. Your bankruptcy lawyers would help you determine which statutes to choose.
New Mexico has an extremely efficient bankruptcy court web site with much information online. It can be found at http://www.nmcourt.fed.us/usbc/. For example, the web site contains a "Bankruptcy Basics" section, reproduced below:
Bankruptcy Basics (from the New Mexico Bankruptcy Court Web Site)
- The Discharge in Bankruptcy
- Chapter 7. Liquidation Under the Bankruptcy Code
- Chapter 13. Individual Debt Adjustment
- Chapter 11. Reorganization Under the Bankruptcy Code
- Chapter 12. Family Farmer Bankruptcy or Family Fisherman Bankruptcy
- Chapter 9. Municipality Bankruptcy
- Chapter 15. Ancillary and Other Cross-Border Cases
- SCRA. Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act
- SIPA. Securities Investor Protection Act
- Glossary - Terms You Need to Know
Bankruptcy Basics provides basic information to debtors, creditors, court personnel, the media, and the general public on different aspects of the federal bankruptcy laws. It also provides individuals who may be considering bankruptcy with a basic explanation of the different chapters under which a bankruptcy case may be filed and to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the bankruptcy process.
On April 20, 2005, President Bush signed into law the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 ("BAPCPA"). BAPCPA made substantial changes to the Bankruptcy Code. And the Bankruptcy Judges Division has made significant revisions to this online version of Bankruptcy Basics to account for BAPCPA's changes to the Code.
Different Hearing Locations
Although there is just one bankruptcy court, located in Albuquerque, you get assigned a hearing in one of five locations, depending where you live. Hearings are conducted in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Roswell, and Farmington.