Filing for bankruptcy is a federal matter, therefore your case would be filed in federal Court. Be careful though; it’s not as simple as driving down to the nearest Federal Courthouse and filing your case. Specifically, you have to file your case at the Bankruptcy Court which in some cases are not located in the same Federal Court where other Federal cases are filed.
The other important thing to know is that each state is divided into districts. If you live in Southern California, there are two districts – the Central District of California and the Southern District. Generally, once you go south of Orange County, you would be filing your case in the Southern District. If you’re in LA County, Ventura County, Riverside County, and Orange County, you would file your case in the Central District of California. Within each District however, there is more than just one bankruptcy Court and you should not file wherever you feel like.
Technically you should be filing your case that is allocated to the zip code in which you are domiciled (ie. you physically live). If you work in downtown Los Angeles but you live in Woodland HIlls, then you would actually file your case at the Woodland Hills bankruptcy Court. If you go to the Central District’s website, you can type in your zip code and it will tell you which Court you should be filing your case. Even if it seems obvious where you should file, you should still lookup which Court is allocated to your zip code as they change the allocation from time to time.
How to figure out where to file your bankruptcy case:
- Visit this website: http://www.cacb.uscourts.gov/court-locator
- In the top right search box that appears on that page, type in your zip code
- Look at the results – it will tell you which bankruptcy Court to file your case
Voila! That’s all there is to it. Remember, you can’t pick and choose where you file your case based on where is more convenient to you or where you think you may have a more sympathetic Trustee or Judge. You should be filing based on your zip code. Good luck!