Most people seeking bankruptcy protection file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
We understand that our clients are seeking bankruptcy protection because they are struggling financially. Our bankruptcy law firm offers reasonable fees and payment plans. At your initial consultation we can give our clients a quote on their fees and a “game plan” on how they can get us retained and make payments on their fees if needed.
It is actually pretty rare for a debtor to lose assets or have things sold during a bankruptcy. There are several exemptions, or protections that will protect many assets. Our experienced Vancouver bankruptcy lawyers can tell you from the start if any of your assets are at risk of being liquidated. If so, our attorney can also go over options and ideas of how to best protect your assets through a bankruptcy. This may include some pre-bankruptcy planning that can get very complex. You will want one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys to help guide you through this if needed.
No. You will be required to attend a “meeting of creditors” and answer some questions from a bankruptcy Trustee. Your bankruptcy attorney from Hackett Law Firm will appear at this meeting with you. Despite being called a “meeting of creditors”, it is rare for creditors to attend these hearings and ask you questions.
From filing to discharge a Chapter 7 lasts as little as 3 months. A chapter 13 may last between 3 and 5 years. A good attorney should be able to tell you at the initial consultation how long a chapter 13 would last if you file that type of bankruptcy.
No, although medical debt is a common type of debt that people discharge in bankruptcy, there isn’t a special type of bankruptcy for medical debt. It can be taken care of in both chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Yes, but you will need to keep making your current car payments. Vehicles are a secured debt, so if you want to keep the car, you need to keep making the payments. In Chapter 13 you may be able to restructure your car loan.
Generally, only your creditors are informed of your bankruptcy filing. Bankruptcy is a public record so the filings are available to be found. However, a person would either need to do a public bankruptcy search on PACER (and have an account) to find out about your bankruptcy. Unless you owe your employer money, they would not know about a chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if you file chapter 13 they would likely know because the chapter 13 payments come out of your paychecks in form of a wage deduction. Federal Laws prohibit employers from discriminating against you based on a bankruptcy filing.
Yes, but there may be some timing issues. You cannot get a discharge in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case if you have filed (and received a discharge) in a prior chapter 7 that was filed within the past 8 years. However, you are able to refile a chapter 13 which may be a good way to stop garnishments, get creditors off your back, etc. even if you are not eligible for a chapter 7 due to a prior filing.
If you find yourself struggling with any type of debt and having trouble making ends meet, it makes a lot of sense to at least explore the option of bankruptcy. The best way to determine if bankruptcy is right for you is to do a little bit of research, and then meet with a local, experienced bankruptcy attorney to go over your options. Most of us offer free consultations and are happy to discuss your situation and explore options to help you get some debt relief.
Anyone looking to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy in Washington must first qualify by passing a “means test”. This is basically a formula to determine if you are eligible for chapter 7 relief based on your income. Some people earn to much to be able to file a chapter 7 because they can’t pass this means test. If that happens, a good back up option may be a chapter 13. It is important to have an experienced attorney as the means test formula can become very complex for certain people. You are subject to a full means test when you income is above the median income for your state. For Washington, the median income figures can be found here. Median income figures are based on your state and number of individuals in your household.
In certain cases, taxes may be able to be discharged in a Washington Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The general rule is that the taxes must be due more than 3 years ago, actually filed by the debtor on time, or at least filed 2 years before the bankruptcy, and assessed more than 240 days (8 months) ago. Also, there must be no fraud or willful evasion. These rules can be tricky, so if you have tax debt is it important to seek the advice from an experienced professional to discuss your tax options in bankruptcy. Even if you are unable to discharge the taxes in full a chapter 13 may help to get the taxes paid back without further interest or penalties.
In chapter 7, no. However, in chapter 13 you may be able to discharge non-criminal (tickets, violations) fines. Also, chapter 13 allows you to get a suspended driver’s license back quickly. If you are without a license to do non payment of fines, contact our office to discuss your options to get the license reinstated.