Virginia Bankruptcy Exemption Citations

Basics
- Bankruptcy Basics - (Basics)
  • How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works in Virginia
    How Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you cancel your debts, protect your exempt property, and stop bill collectors.
  • What are the different kinds of bankruptcy?
    This site focuses on Chapter7 and Chapter 13. But there are also chapters 11, 12, 9, and 15
  • Glossary of Important Bankruptcy Terms
    From Adversary proceeding to Wage garnishment
  • Do I qualify for bankruptcy?
    To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass the means test, which compares your household income to the median income in Virginia for a household your size.
  • Secured debt vs. unsecured debt: What's the difference?
    Bankruptcy helps you get rid of unsecured debt. It does not eliminate secured debts, where you have pledged collateral for a loan, such as a car loan or a mortgage. When you file bankruptcy you must declare what you intend to do about your secured debts.
  • Do I need a lawyer to file for bankruptcy?
    The law does not require to have a lawyer, and if your case is simple and you have few assets, you can successfully file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy yourself. Chapter 13? Not so much. And if you have property to lose, or you're not great with details, getting a lawyers help can be a good idea, no matter what kind of bankruptcy you're filing. Also a lawyer may find ways to help that you haven't' thought of
  • Where do I file for bankruptcy?
    Bankruptcy is federal law and you file in the local Federal District Bankruptcy Court. Find out yours.
  • Can I get free bankruptcy forms?
    The US government makes PDF bankruptcy forms available for free. We'll tell you which ones you need and links to download them.
  • What are bankruptcy exemptions?
    Asset protection is an important benefit of bankruptcy. Exemption laws are the laws that let you protect certain assetss from creditors. Every state has different exemptions. Some states allow you to use the federal exemptions.
  • Do I have to get credit counseling before I file for bankruptcy?
    Yes. You must complete a credit counseling course before you file your bankruptcy petition. Fortunately, it's easy and can be done online. And your case cannot be completed (i.e. you can't get your "discharge order" from the judge until you take a "Debtor Education" course.
  • What is a 341 hearing (creditors meeting)?
    Everyone who files for bankruptcy must attend a 341 hearing, which is also called a "creditors meeting." The meeting is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. During the Coronavirus, it. can be done by phone.
Filing Means Test Exemptions Courts
- Bankruptcy Lawyers Serving Northumberland County, VA - (Lawyers)
- Bankruptcy & the Coronavirus Recession - (COVID-19)
- Bankruptcy News - (News)
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Virginia Bankruptcy Exemptions


Table of Virginia State Law Bankruptcy Exemptions - by Category

Homestead

Homestead Amount Joint Amount
30,000 (for primary residence) 60,000 (for primary residence)

Tenancy by the Entirety

-

Insurance

Miscellaneous

-

Pensions & Retirement Savings

Personal Property

Public Benefits

Tools of Trade

Wage Garnishment Limits

"Wild Card" Exemption

-

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions NOT Available in Virginia

Virginia has opted out of the Federal Exemptions (see below)

Virginia Bankrupcty Exemptions Summary

(details below...)

Homestead

Must file homestead declaration before filing for bankruptcy
$5,000 plus $500 per dependent; rents & profits; sale proceeds exempt to $5,000 (husband & wife may double, unused portion of homestead may be applied to any personal property); if 65 or older, exemption is $10,000; an additional $25,000 exempt if property is primary residence.

  (more...)

Personal Property

Clothing to $1,000
Family portraits & heirlooms to $5,000 total
Household furnishings to $5,000
Firearms to $3,000
Pets
Wedding and engagement rings
Tools, books, and instruments of trade, including motor vehicles, to $10,000, needed in your occupation or education
For farmer, pair of horses, or mules with gear; one wagon or cart, one tractor to $3,000; 2 plows & wedges; one drag, harvest cradle, pitchfork, rake; fertilizer to $1,000

   (more...)

Auto/Truck (aka Motor Vehicle)

Motor vehicles to $6,000 total ($10,000 if needed for occupation or education)

  (more...)

Wild Card

Unused portion of homestead or personal property exemption
$10,000 of any property for disabled veterans

  (more...)

Wage Garnishment Law

Virginia garnishment law protects 75% of wages or 40 times federal minimum wage. If household income does not exceed $1,750/month, additional exemptions of $34/week for one child, $52/week for two, and $66/week for three or more.

Virginia scored a "D" in the the NCLC grading of state wage garnishment protections, because it preserves more of a worker’s wages than the minimum required by federal law.

  (more...)

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Does Virginia Adjust Exemptions for Inflation?

Virginia does not adjust exemption amounts for inflation. 

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Federal Non-Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal "non-bankruptcy" exemptions are available in every state

You are entitled to use so-called federal "non-bankruptcy" exemptions in addition to your state law exemptions.

Non-bankruptcy exemptions are those exemption provisions of U.S. law that are NOT part of the bankruptcy code section section 522(d).

The four most significant non-bankruptcy exemptions are for

  • Wages (a general cap on what percentage of your wages can be garnished),
  • Social Security benefits,
  • Civil Service benefits,
  • Veterans Benefits

Other so called "non-bankruptcy" exemptions mostly deal with various benefits to government and military personnel, with a few odd laws regarding specially-regulated labor markets such as railroad workers, seamen, and longshoremen.

 

Table of Federal "Non-Bankruptcy" Exemptions

Homestead

-

Insurance

Miscellaneous

Pensions & Retirement Accounts

Personal Property

Public Benefits

Tools of Trade

Wage Garnishment Limits

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

Citations and links to primary law and secondary sources are provided for those who wish to do further research. Every effort has been made to make this information up to date and accurate, but laws can and do change without notice. Persons relying on this information are responsible for confirming its timeliness and accuracy before relying on it. (This information was updated for April 2019.)

Also bear in mind that these brief summaries do not list every detail or exception to these exemptions. For example, there are often exceptions for collection of child support debt and/or taxes. These listings are designed to inform you of laws that exist for your benefit, so that you may exercise what rights you may have.

Finally, this website is intended to provide information only. It cannot answer whether your property does or does not qualify for a specific exemption.

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Can I Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Virginia?

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions Available?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

-

Background of state "opt out" laws

Every state has a list of exemptions that protect specific types and amounts of property from collections on judgements within that state.

When bankruptcy law was first modernized 50 years ago, the proposal was to have a federal list of bankruptcy exemptions apply uniformly across all 50 states. Many states objected to this idea, because state collection law had traditionally ruled that issues of collections and "asset protection" were matters of state, not federal law. So a compromise was struck, that allows states to "opt out" of the federal bankruptcy exemptions. 

Table of Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions Under §522(d)

Homestead

Tenancy by the Entirety

Insurance

Miscellaneous

-

Pensions & Retirement Savings

Personal Property

Public Benefits

Tools of Trade

Wage Garnishment Limits

"Wild Card" Exemption

-

Disclaimer

Disclaimer

Citations and links to primary law and secondary sources are provided for those who wish to do further research. Every effort has been made to make this information up to date and accurate, but laws can and do change without notice. Persons relying on this information are responsible for confirming its timeliness and accuracy before relying on it. (This information was updated for April 2019.)

Also bear in mind that these brief summaries do not list every detail or exception to these exemptions. For example, there are often exceptions for collection of child support debt and/or taxes. These listings are designed to inform you of laws that exist for your benefit, so that you may exercise what rights you may have.

Finally, this website is intended to provide information only. It cannot answer whether your property does or does not qualify for a specific exemption.


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Homestead

Virginia Homestead Exemption

Virginia Homestead Exemption 

Must file homestead declaration before filing for bankruptcy
$5,000 plus $500 per dependent; rents & profits; sale proceeds exempt to $5,000 (husband & wife may double, unused portion of homestead may be applied to any personal property); if 65 or older, exemption is $10,000; an additional $25,000 exempt if property is primary residence.

Amount Joint amount

30,000 (for primary residence)

60,000 (for primary residence)

NOTE: Residency Requirement Caps Maximum Homestead at $160,375 if you've recently moved to a State that allows more than that

Under the 2005 bankruptcy law, you must be have lived in the state for at least 40 months (3 years + 4 months) before you can claim any homestead protection greater than $160,375. (If your state's exemption offers less than this amount, the law is irrelevant to you.) .

IF you are moving to another state, OR you moved to Virginia within in the last two years, click here.

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Homestead Exemptions (available in every State)

These are exemptions under federal law, and not part of the bankruptcy code, so states cannot "opt out" from these exemptions.

-

US Bankruptcy Code § 522(d) Homestead Exemption

Can a Virginia debtor use the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of Virginia exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions under 11 U.S.C. § 522(d) are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while,
  • or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Home Valuation tool

Just add your street address to get an estimate of the value of your house, and all others in your neighborhood. (Note: Does not serve all areas, and valuations are imperfect estimates only.)

Homestead Exemptions in Other States

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Tenancy By The Entirety

Does Virginia Recognize Tenancy by the Entirety?

Virginia recognizes TBE for all types of property.

-

 

Tenancy By The Entirety in Other States

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Insurance

Virginia Insurance Exemptions

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Insurance Exemptions (available in all states)

US Bankruptcy Code § 522 Insurance Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Code Exemptions under section 522 are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Virginia allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

Insurance Exemptions in Other States

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Misc

Virginia Miscellaneous Exemptions

-

 

US Bankruptcy Code § 522 Miscellaneous Exemptions

-

Does Virginia allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if
  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

 

Miscellaneous Exemptions in Other States

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Pensions

Virginia Pension Exemptions

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Pension & Retirement Exemptions (available in every state)

Federal Bankruptcy Code § 522(d) Pension & Retirement Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions under 11 U.S.C are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Virginia allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

Pension & Retirement Exemptions in Other States

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Personal Property

Virginia Motor Vehicle Exemption & Other Personal Property Exemptions

Virginia Motor Vehicle Exemption

Motor vehicles to $6,000 total ($10,000 if needed for occupation or education)

Virginia Personal Property Exemptions

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Personal Property Exemptions (available in every state)

Federal Bankruptcy Code § 522(d) Personal Property Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Virginia allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

Personal Property Exemptions in Other States

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Public Benefits

Public Benefits Exemptions for Virginia

Federal "non-bankruptcy" Public Benefits exemptions (available in all states)

Federal Bankruptcy Code §522(d) Public Benefits Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Virginia allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

Public Benefits Exemptions in Other States

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Tools of Trade

Virginia Tools of Trade Exemptions

Virginia Tools of Trade Exemptions

Federal non-bankrupcty Tools of Trade Exemptions

US Bankruptcy Code § 522 (d) Tools of Trade Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Virginia allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

Tools of Trade Exemptions in Other States

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Wages

Virginia Wage Garnishment Exemption

Virginia collections law and federal labor law (a federal non-bankruptcy exemption) set limits on what wages can be garnished. 
 
As the NCLC pointed out in a 2019 survey of state wage garnishment laws, some states fail to guarantee that a debtor can earn a poverty wage, free of garnishment.

Virginia garnishment law protects 75% of wages or 40 times federal minimum wage. If household income does not exceed $1,750/month, additional exemptions of $34/week for one child, $52/week for two, and $66/week for three or more.

Virginia scored a "D" in the the NCLC grading of state wage garnishment protections, because it preserves more of a worker’s wages than the minimum required by federal law.

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Law (available in all states)

Federal "non-bankruptcy" law also offers exemption protection for wages.

US Bankruptcy Code § 522 Wage Garnishment Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Virginia allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

See also

Wage and Hour Law: Can My Employer Garnish My Wages in Virginia?

Wage Garnishment in Other States

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WildCard

Virginia WildCard Exemption

Unused portion of homestead or personal property exemption
$10,000 of any property for disabled veterans

-

Federal Bankruptcy Wildcard Exemptions

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while, or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

Does Virginia allow debtor the option of using the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of state law exemptions?

No. Va. Code Ann. § 34-3.1.

-

WildCard Exemptions in Other States

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