Bankruptcy in Spokane, WA

Are you contemplating bankruptcy or hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Spokane, Washington? Are you tired of creditors calling for payments you can’t make? Maybe looking for a way to get out of debt and have you exhausted all other options? Then bankruptcy might be the solution you seek. It is a legal option that can erase a portion or all of your debts.

Types of Bankruptcy in Spokane, Washington

Bankruptcy is a legal process that helps individuals and businesses get a fresh financial start. It eliminates a portion of or all of their debts or financial liabilities. In Spokane, WA to be approved, individuals must prove they have a hardship that prevents them from staying current on their financial obligations. Keep in mind that not all debts qualify. Some liabilities, such as child support arrears, delinquent taxes, alimony, and student loans generally do not qualify for discharge. Consumers who find themselves falling behind in debt can file either Chapter 7, 11 or 13. To determine which option is right for you, you’ll need to assess your goals, assets, and income. You should also consider working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Spokane residents facing bankruptcy in Washington State will have to file with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Many people find Chapter 7 to be the right solution for their circumstances because it provides them with the opportunity to start over financially. However, before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should thoroughly assess your income and ability to repay what you owe. You should also speak with a bankruptcy attorney in Spokane  who can help you to decide if a liquidation plan is right for you.

Typically, individuals approved for Chapter 7 lack stable income or have experienced a change in circumstances that has resulted in an inability to manage their debts. Though Chapter 7 erases debts, the tradeoff is you may have to give up certain possessions, such as your home, car or some other assets. However, once you file your petition, an automatic stay goes into effect that requires all collection activity against you like foreclosures and garnishments, to stop temporarily. However, the automatic stay does not prevent all collection attempts. For example, if you owe child support or restitution for a criminal case, you are still liable for those payments.

Federal Law states that any individual in Spokane filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy must complete credit counseling and debt education courses. In fact, before your bankruptcy is ever filed you must present a certificate of credit counseling. As well, you must complete a debtor’s education course. In addition, those wishing to file for Chapter 7 will have to pass a means test. This will determine if their income bracket will allow for this type of filing.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is more complex than other types of bankruptcy. It is often used by businesses and certain types of people. It allows petitioners to restructure their debts with a reorganization plan, so they are easier to manage over a determined length of time, usually four to 18 months. The main benefit of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that it does not require petitioners to sell off or liquidate their assets to pay what they owe. It does allow debtors to negotiate with their creditors a reorganization plan that enables them to stay current on their debts moving forward.

The Washington Courts provide all the forms online that you’ll need in order to file Chapter 11. Chapter 11 can protect the assets of a business that does not wish to liquidate, but rather restructure their debt. A trustee is not appointed in Chapter 11 unless the judge decides it is necessary. Anyone filing this type of bankruptcy will have to submit a payment plan. However, your creditors may be able to approve or disapprove of your payment plan depending on the circumstances of the case.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt restructuring or wage earners plan. In Spokane, WA after you file, the courts will assign a trustee to examine your liabilities and assets and ability to pay bills. Unlike other types of bankruptcy, Chapter 13 involves you restructuring your debt with a three to five-year repayment plan. The flexibility of this repayment plan will depend on what property you want to keep and how steady your income is. It may also give you the opportunity to have some or most of your debts discharged.

Washington Bankruptcy Law states that the normal time for repayment under Chapter 13 is anywhere between 3 and 5 years. Chapter 13 helps individuals protect their homes and pay off their mortgages. As well it helps them pay other outstanding debts on their automobiles, pay off back taxes, and even helps stop interest from accruing on their accounts.

When you file for Chapter 13 you’ll be required to submit proof of a credit counseling course. You must pay the filing fee, as well as provide statements on your social security numbers. Finally, you will complete your voluntary petition, provide a list of creditors, and provide any eviction notices against you.

The Bankruptcy Process in Spokane, Washington

There is never an ideal time to declare bankruptcy. However, if you are unable to pay off what you owe within five years, filing for bankruptcy can help you to lessen the negative impact on your situation and help you get back on track.

In Spokane to begin the filing process, gather all of your financial records, including monthly expenses, debts, assets and annual income. This information is crucial to give the courts an accurate picture of your circumstances. Failure to provide all necessary information can result in your petition being denied.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Spokane the first step is to determine if bankruptcy can actually alleviate your debt. If yes, then you must decide which chapter is appropriate and most beneficial. Once you’ve filed and paid the appropriate fees, you must discontinue any payment to creditors. An experienced attorney in Spokane can help you navigate this process

Potential Exemptions

Still, there are several exemptions that can benefit you, according to Washington Bankruptcy Statutes. Your residence can be exempt in equity up to $125,000, or the median sale for a single-family home in Spokane County. Your motor vehicle can be protected up to $3,250, and pensions, public benefits, insurance can all be exempted. It is also worth noting that if you and your spouse file for bankruptcy jointly in Washington, you can double the amount of your exemptions.

At least six months before you file for bankruptcy, eliminate unnecessary spending. Do not run up the balances on your credit accounts. You’ll also need to complete an approved credit counseling course, usually online or over the phone. Credit counseling is necessary to help you learn financial literacy and help you learn better financial habits. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to include in your filing. If you don’t have the certificate of completion from the credit counseling course that you took, the courts will reject your bankruptcy petition.

Work With an Experienced Spokane, Washington Lawyer

Hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer in Spokane during this process can help reduce the costly risks of self-representation in court. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer understands state and federal bankruptcy laws. He or she can help you understand which laws apply to your case, especially which debts that can be discharged or can’t be discharged. An experienced Washington attorney can also offer you guidance to improve the outcome of your case.

Keep in mind that there are debt management alternatives and financial resources that may benefit you more than bankruptcy, such as debt consolidation. Though bankruptcy is an attractive solution, it is best as a last resort. Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Spokane can guide you through the entire bankruptcy process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Washington state lines.

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