Where You Should File Bankruptcy
You cannot simply file your bankruptcy petition with any bankruptcy court. Proper bankruptcy filings require proper venue; the filing of a bankruptcy petition in the proper district and division as determined by 28 USC §1408(1) and local rules. Title 28 of the United States Code §1408(1) allows filing a bankruptcy petition in any district in which the debtor has either a domicile, residence, principal place of business in the U.S., or principal assets in the U.S. for the longest portion of the 180 day period preceding the filing of the bankruptcy case. For regular individuals, this rule often means filing their bankruptcy petition in the district and division of their home’s zip code. However, §1408(1) gives some debtors options when selecting a district or division for filing.
Again, you can file your bankruptcy case in the federal district in which you had either a domicile or residence during the longest portion of the 180 days before filing. However, what qualifies as a domicile or residence deserves some discussion. Generally, a domicile for federal bankruptcy venue purposes is your residence in fact; it’s where you would return after a substantial period of absence. Therefore, your subjective intent (where you consider your home to be) has some bearing in determining where your domicile is. For instance, if you own houses A and B, and live in house A more than house B, but think of house B as your “home” and would return there after a very long vacation trip to resume your normal life, house B may be your domicile. In essence, where you lay your head the majority of nights throughout the year does not alone determine where your domicile is. Rather, your totality of contacts with the subject locations and your intent to remain determine where your domicile exists. On the other end of the spectrum, a residence is your permanent home, not a stopping place for conducting business or taking brief vacations. To differentiate a domicile from residence remember that you can have multiple residences (homes where you stay for periods of the year), but only 1 domicile.
Principal place of business
Businesses have the option of filing in the district in which they had their principal place of business during the 180 days before filing. The principal place of business is not determined by the location of that business’ incorporation or formation, but by the location of its managerial decisions. The “nerve center” of the business (where the business’ officers direct and coordinate business activities) identifies the location of the principal place of business.