One of the most common questions consumers filing bankruptcy want to know is, what happens when you file bankruptcy in Seattle, Washington, and what can I expect after I file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy process can last for a minimum of 90 days in a chapter 7 bankruptcy or go as long as 5 years in a chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. These are the two most common types of bankruptcy for consumers, with chapter 11 bankruptcy being an option for businesses looking to restructure or those individuals who may not qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy due to income or being over the debt limit in chapter 13.
Once you have provided your Seattle bankruptcy attorney with all your required financial information and you have read and signed your bankruptcy petition, your bankruptcy attorney will file your bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy court online. The court will then automatically send out notices to all your creditors that you have filed for bankruptcy and that they are forbidden from collecting on a debt moving forward. The bankruptcy automatic stay goes into affect immediately upon filing a bankruptcy, which means nobody can continue to collect on a debt, garnish wages, or continue with a foreclosure sale. What Happens When you File Bankruptcy is different depending on whether you have filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankruptcy or another form of bankruptcy.
What Happens When you File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Seattle, Washington?
In chapter 7 bankruptcy, your 341 meeting of creditors will be scheduled in about 30 days after your case is filed. This meeting is typically fairly straight forward and no creditors typically show up, although they have a right to do so and ask you questions about your financial affairs. The main goal of a creditor showing up at the meeting is to simply ask you questions to build a case against you for fraud while you are under oath. The meeting is conducted by a bankruptcy trustee who is typically an attorney and has the job to liquidate and sell assets that are not exempt (protected) for the benefit of your creditors. In most bankruptcy cases, the trustee does not liquidate or sell any assets as all of the debtors assets are exempt and the meeting will be concluded in about 5 minutes, although you should plan to be at your meeting for about an hour while the bankruptcy trustee get’s through other cases before yours. After the bankruptcy meeting has concluded, parties will have about 60 days to object to your bankruptcy filing, and if no objections are received, then you should get your bankruptcy discharge from the bankruptcy judge at that time if you have completed your second credit counseling class requirement. The discharge order will be sent to all of your creditors notifying them that they can no longer collect on the debt, unless it is a type of debt that would be deemed non dischargeable, such as domestic support obligations, recent tax debt, or debts for restitution.
What Happens When you File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Seattle, Washington?
In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, your 341 meeting of creditors is scheduled in about 45 days after your case is filed and creditors may file claims in your bankruptcy case to be paid through your plan as soon as your case is filed. The goal of a chapter 13 trustee is different than in chapter 7. In chapter 13 the trustee manages all of the payments you make in your bankruptcy and uses those funds to pay your creditors based on the plan you have proposed. Your first chapter 13 bankruptcy plan payment is due 30 days after your case is filed and is typically done through automatic withdrawal from your paycheck, however you can request to make direct payment online or through mail. After the court meeting, there is a confirmation hearing to approve your plan in about 45 days after the chapter 13 meeting of creditors. Typically your attorney will help you make any amendments needed based on trustee or creditor objections as your case moves forward. Chapter 13 plans can last 3-5 years based on whether you were an above median income debtor for your state when your case was filed. In chapter 13 bankruptcy, you still need to complete a second credit counseling class as well has file a statement that you are current on domestic support obligations prior to getting a discharge at the end of your chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. If you have made all your payments and satisfied the class and domestic support obligation requirements, a bankruptcy judge will issue a discharge at the end of your chapter 13 plan.