The first step in the bankruptcy process is to contact a respected local bankruptcy law firm to learn about what options may be available to you. Your bankruptcy attorney will be able to determine whether you qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy and make sure that you will be able to keep all of your assets when you file for bankruptcy. You will be able to keep all of your assets so long as your assets are not above the exemption limits for Washington state or the Federal exemption limits.
When you meet with a bankruptcy attorney you will most likely be given a bankruptcy questionnaire to fill out and will be required to provide your last 6 months of pay stubs as well as your last 2 years of tax returns. The time that it will take to file your bankruptcy petition will depend on how fast you are able to provide your attorney with all of the required information. If you do not fill out the bankruptcy questionnaire completely, then your attorney will not be able to complete your bankruptcy petition in a timely fashion. The questionnaire will ask you to list all of your assets, liabilities as well as what your income is. You should also provide your attorney with any collection letters or law suits from court as well as a fax number for your employer if your wages are being garnished. The notice to your employer to stop a garnishment needs to be provided to your employer a few days before your next paycheck is issued. This is because your employers HR department needs time to stop the garnishment. Whether your bankruptcy petition can be filed in a timely fashion will also depend on how many cases your bankruptcy attorney or staff is handling at the moment but it really depends on the firm you hire as I have heard cases being filed with days like at Symmes Law Group or within months at some of the larger national firms.
If you have additional bankruptcy questions, contact Symmes Law Group at 206-682-7975