Wisconsin Bankruptcy

This page provides information regarding Wisconsin bankruptcy.



If you are not looking for information regarding Wisconsin, please use the links on the left to find information for your state.



Wisconsin Bankruptcy Courts - Location and Contact Information

Wisconsin bankruptcy courts are divided into two districts. The Western District of Wisconsin is further divided into two divisions.  Generally, the debtor’s county of residence will determine which district and division the bankruptcy petition is filed.  It may also be determined by the location of the debtor’s principal place of business or principal assets.



EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN

Counties of Jurisdiction:

Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Milwaukee, Oconto, Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago Counties

Following is the address and telephone number for the Eastern District of Wisconsin bankruptcy court:

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
126 U.S. Courthouse
517 East Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202-4581
(414) 297-3291 

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WESTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN

Counties of Jurisdiction:

Madison Division - Adams, Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Grant, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Lafayette, Richland, Rock and SaukCounties

Eau Claire Division - Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse,  Lincoln,  Marathon, Monroe,  Oneida, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, Rusk, St. Croix, Sawyer, Taylor, Trempealeau, Vernon, Viola, Vilas, Washburn and Wood Counties  

DIVISION STREET ADDRESS MAILING ADDRESS TELEPHONE
Madison
Division
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
120 North Henry Street,
Room 340  (53703)
P.O. Box 548
Madison, WI 53703

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
PO Box 548
Madison, WI 53701-0548
(608) 264-5178
Eau Claire
Division
U.S. Bankruptcy Court
500 South Barstow Street 
Eau Claire, WI 54701

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
PO Box 5009
Eau Claire, WI 54702-5009
(715) 839-2980

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Wisconsin Bankruptcy Laws and Exemptions

Wisconsin Exemptions

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows individual debtors to exempt certain property from creditor claims based on exemptions under either federal law or state law. Exemptions vary from state to state. Some states have adopted their own set of bankruptcy exemptions that are used in place of the federal exemptions. However, other states give debtors an option to choose between either state or federal exemptions.

Wisconsin bankruptcy law allows residents to use either the federal set of exemptions or state exemptions.

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Following are common state exemptions in Wisconsin:

Homestead $40,000 homestead exemption
Automobile Motor vehicles not to exceed $1,200 in aggregate value, plus any unused portion of the household goods exemption
Bank Accounts Personal depository accounts in the aggregate value of $1,000
Household
Goods
Household goods and furnishings, wearing apparel, keepsakes, jewelry, appliances, books, musical instruments, firearms, sporting goods, animals or other tangible personal property not to exceed $5,000 in aggregate value
Books & Art Objects See "Household Goods"
Wearing
Apparel
See "Household Goods"
Furs & Jewelry See "Household Goods"
Tools of the Trade Equipment, inventory, farm products and professional books used in the business of the debtor not to exceed $7,500 in aggregate value
Other Cemetery lots, above ground burial facilities, burial monuments, tombstones, coffins

Click the following links to read the text of common bankruptcy exemptions pursuant to Wisconsin state law: homestead exemption, bank accounts and personal property.

Contact a Wisconsin bankruptcy lawyer for more information regarding Wisconsin bankruptcy exemptions.

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Wisconsin Means Test

The new bankruptcy laws enacted in 2005 also require that debtors pass a means test before filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are two ways to pass the means test:

1. the debtor's annual income (calculated using the average gross income for the six month period prior to filing) must be below the state median. Census Bureau statistics for state median income by family size can be found here (for cases filed between April 1, 2013 and April 30, 2013).

2. If income exceeds the median income, individuals may still file Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on results of Form 22A: Chapter 7 Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means-Test Calculation. .

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Wisconsin Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Agencies

Pursuant to the new bankruptcy laws enacted in 2005, individuals who file personal bankruptcy (with limited exceptions) in Wisconsin must:

1. take a credit counseling course from an approved Wisconsin credit counseling provider within six months before filing bankruptcy; and

2. complete a debtor education course from an approved Wisconsin debtor education agency prior to receiving a bankruptcy discharge.

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Wisconsin Personal Bankruptcy Attorneys

To find Wisconsin bankruptcy lawyers in your area, you may want to contact your local county bar association or the Wisconsin State Bar Association:

State Bar of Wisconsin
P.O. Box 7158
Madison WI 53707-7158
Telephone: (800) 728-7788

Based on income, free bankruptcy advice and representation may also be obtained from the following organizations: See the Legal Explorer website for a list of organizations that provide legal services to low income clients in Wisconsin.

The Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin also offers a "Pro Se Help Desk" on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. See the Pro Se Help Desk page for more information.

If you are concerned about the representation provided to you by an Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney, visit the Wisconsin Supreme Court's Office of Lawyer Regulation for information regarding how to file a grievance.

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Resources for Wisconsin Bankruptcy Laws

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin - administrative and procedural information for Eastern District of Wisconsin bankruptcy filings

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin - administrative and procedural information for Western District of Wisconsin bankruptcy filings

Office of the U.S. Trustee for Region 11 - oversees the administration of Wisconsin personal bankruptcy cases and case trustees

State Bar of Wisconsin - information about the Wisconsin bar, membership, ethics, continuing legal education, and resources for the public.

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