Can My Brother File Bankruptcy From Jail Or Prison?

BY SCOTT RIDDLE

No…not Debtors’ Prison (unless it is child support or some taxes).  It is not all that unusual that someone who files a Bankruptcy case goes to jail later, or someone already in jail or prison wants to file a Bankruptcy case. For example, take the person who is in financial trouble and gets behind on child support. He or she may file a Bankruptcy case, and then be held in contempt and sent to jail in the support case.  There is nothing in the Bankruptcy Code that prevents someone in prison or jail from filing and proceeding with a Bankruptcy case.  It certainly will take some planning and cooperation.  For example, when the individual has to appear in Bankruptcy Court or the first meeting of creditors, their lawyer has to get permission for the person to appear by phone, and set up the call with the jail or prison.  It is also much more likely that someone in prison or in jail for an extended time will not be able to proceed with a Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 case, since they typically require regular income and much more participation in the case.  The lawyer probably has to be willing to meet at the jail or prison, and/or get get signed documents back and forth.  Relatives may have to be recruited for this.  These are merely nuisances or obstacles, but there are no legal prohibitions against someone in prison or jail filing for Bankruptcy.