Debts can spiral out of control quickly. Sometimes, all it takes is an unexpected illness or necessary home repair to find yourself in significant debt that you have no realistic chance of paying back. Whatever the case may be, out-of-control debt can have a significant impact on your quality of life and mental health. Fortunately, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may provide a way out.
At Jackman Family Law, we are committed to helping people just like you take advantage of the benefits of consumer bankruptcy. We know how life-changing a fresh start can be, and we work hard to ensure that every client we work with enjoys the best possible resolution to their bankruptcy case. To learn more about how we can help, call our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Bellevue, WA bankruptcy lawyers.
How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a type of liquidation bankruptcy. This means that when a debtor files for bankruptcy, his or her non-exempt assets are sold, the proceeds are used to pay back creditors to whatever extent possible. Most, if not all, of a debtor’s remaining debts are then discharged, which means the debtor is under no legal obligation to pay them back. Some of the debts that can be discharged in bankruptcy include:
- Credit card debts
- Medical bills
- Consumer loans
- Auto loans
- Past-due rent
- Utility bills
- Certain tax debts
- Most civil judgments
There are some debts that you cannot discharge through bankruptcy in most cases. Some common examples of debts that are usually non-dischargeable include:
- Past-due child support
- Past-due alimony
- Debts from to civil judgments related to DUI/DWI
- Student loan debts
The best way to determine whether your debts are dischargeable and if Chapter 7 is right for you is to discuss your situation with an experienced attorney as soon as you can.
Most Filers Keep all of their Assets
You may be under the impression that filing for bankruptcy will leave you with nothing. Fortunately, there are ample exemptions available for personal assets when you file for Chapter 7. When property is exempt, it means that you can keep it even if you file for Chapter 7 and have all your debts discharged. There are exemptions available for equity in your home, work tools, jewelry and art, your vehicle, and other important pieces of property. In fact, most Chapter 7 bankruptcies are zero-asset bankruptcies, which means that filers are able to keep everything they own while still having their debts discharged.
Do You Need a Lawyer to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
If you are experiencing financial hardship and are having trouble paying your bills, you may be wondering whether it’s a good idea to retain an attorney to help you file. After all, lawyers are notorious for charging high hourly rates. If you are already in financial trouble, the idea of taking on additional expenses may seem like a bad one.
The reality is that it is always a good idea to retain an attorney for any legal matter, and it is particularly advisable to retain a lawyer if you are considering bankruptcy. In fact, the U.S. Courts Website “strongly recommends” seeking the advice of an attorney due to the long-term financial and legal outcomes associated with bankruptcy.
Some of the specific ways that a bankruptcy lawyer can help help you include the following:
- Evaluating your financial situation and determining whether you are eligible to file and, if you are, whether bankruptcy is right for you
- Preparing your bankruptcy petition on your behalf
- Collecting supporting documentation detailing the debts you are including in your bankruptcy and filing the appropriate paperwork with the court
- Representing you at the 341 Meeting of Creditors, during which your creditors’ representatives are allowed to question you under oath regarding your financial situation
- Representing you in court and responding to any issues that may arise during your case
Perhaps most importantly, working with an attorney will ensure that everything that you submit to the court is complete and accurate. In some cases, failing to include certain debts or assets in your filing may result in your case being dismissed by the court. In fact, failing to include pertinent information may even result in allegations of bankruptcy fraud, which could result in potential criminal liability.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Bellevue Today
If you are experiencing financial difficulties and do not know where to run, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be right for you. In many cases, people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to eliminate all of their debts and get a fresh financial start within a matter of months. To learn more and to find out if Chapter 7 is right for you, call our office today at 206-790-6430 or send us an email through our online contact form.