Written by Charleston Bankruptcy Lawyer, Russell A. DeMott
What are “South Carolina bankruptcy laws?” Technically speaking, there really is no such thing as South Carolina bankruptcy law. But this doesn’t mean South Carolina law won’t affect your case.
Our bankruptcy law is found in Title 11 of the United States Code and is federal law. Still, South Carolina law is important. Although bankruptcy law is federal law, state laws control certain aspects of a case.
For example, state law controls your exemptions–how much property you can protect from your creditors. Under South Carolina law, each debtor may exempt up to $51,450 in equity in their residence. (Equity is the value of the property less any mortgages or other liens on the property.)
Another example is property law. Property interests (what you own, how you own it, what interest a creditor might have in it, and so on) are controlled solely by state law, not federal law. To determine your interest a particular piece of real estate, to use one example, we look to South Carolina law. Was the description correct in the deed according to South Carolina law? Was the deed properly executed under South Carolina law?
Another important example is local practice and procedure. In a certain sense, our bankruptcy court (officially called the Bankruptcy Court for the District of South Carolina ) establishes a South Carolina way of doing things. All bankruptcy courts do this. We have local rules which apply only to South Carolina and decisions interpreting the Code, which may be very different than the ways other courts do things. So in way, our court interprets federal law in a uniquely South Carolina way.
While there’s no such thing as South Carolina bankruptcy law, if you file here in South Carolina, its laws and the procedures of our court will have a significant impact on your case.