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cfortunato, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
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Experience:  Bankruptcy professor.
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Question Determining Residency for Bankruptcy Purposes I

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Question: Determining Residency for Bankruptcy Purposes?

I moved from NC to PA 3 months ago. I now have a PA driver's license, work and live full time in PA but I have a home in NC that was foreclosed. I am trying to declare bankruptcy but I don't know where I can declare residency: NC or PA? I have no business or other property in NC however if this former home is in the process of foreclosure BUT not finished (meaning it hasn't sold at auction yet) can I still use my old home address in NC as my legal residence for bankruptcy purposes or do I need to wait to establish residency where I live now (in PA) and declare BK in PA instead? I've been told it will take 6 months to establish residency in PA.
Hi JACustomer,
Did you live in North Carolina for at least 3 years before you moved to Pennsylvania?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes indeed...
You would file the petition where you currently reside (PA), but you would use the North Carolina bankruptcy exemptions.
There is no minimum amount of time that one has to live in a state before that person can file in that state.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Ok. So I could file for BK either in NC or PA, right? Although our house was foreclosed I've been told that I could still use that previous address if I decide to go and file for BK in NC. Does it sound logical from the legal standpoint of view to you?
Unless you are actually living in NC, you cannot file there. If your house was foreclosed, and you file in NC anyway, the trustee will want to know why you used that address to file when you are no longer living there, and will then dismiss or transfer the case to PA.
Even if you could file in NC, there would be no advantage to filing in North Carolina instead of Pennsylvania, because you would be using the same exemptions (NC) regardless.
When you actually file, if you have not lived in the same place for the previous 2 years, you have to use the exemptions from the state where you lived for the most time during the 180 days before the 2 years, which is North Carolina in your case.

Edited by Christina Fortunato, Esq. on 5/4/2010 at 2:26 PM EST
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