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*This Chapter 7 Bankruptcy FAQ is provided for informational purposes related to filing chapter 7 bankruptcy and should not be taken as actual legal advice.

A bankruptcy lawyer with Symmes Law Group will prepare and file your bankruptcy petition with the court, answer your pre-filing questions and post filing questions up through your discharge date, attend your 341 trustee meeting with you which is currently done over a phone conference and provide required financial documents to trustee as well as coordinate with the bankruptcy trustee if additional information is requested.

A flat fee for legal services will be quoted to you during your free initial consultation depending on the facts of your case. There is a court filing fee of $338, credit counseling fee of $25-$50, and a credit report fee of $37-$74 depending on whether you are single or married which is an additional cost to the flat fee legal fee that we quote you. The legal and credit report fees are due prior to us filing your case, however $235 of the court filing fee may be paid in installments with the bankruptcy court post filing. You may also choose to retain us by putting $100 down and make payments towards filing your bankruptcy which will stop creditor phone calls, however we cannot file your case until the full fee is paid, otherwise our fee would be discharged in your case as well.

To determine whether or not you qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy we must look to see if your household income is below the state of Washington median income for your household size, whether you have filed bankruptcy in the last 8 years and whether you own assets that are not protected/exempt. There may be several other factors to consider which we can go over during your free consultation which may impact chapter 7 bankruptcy eligibility.

The most common debts such as credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, and payday loans are usually dischargeable. Student Loans, taxes incurred within the last three years, alimony, child support, debts from illegal activity, and any account in which you charged $600 or more in the last 90 days on luxury items including travel prior to filing are all not dischargeable in bankruptcy. For best results you should wait up to a year in between significant charges or debt incurred to avoid potential objections from creditors.

In most cases you will be allowed to retain all of your personal goods including vehicles and a primary residence you live in up to the median sales price in your county in equity. A bankruptcy attorney with Symmes Law Group will assess your situation and determine whether the federal or state bankruptcy exemptions should be applied to your case so that you get the max protection you are allowed by law. Exemptions are laws to protect up to a specific amount of equity in assets.

In most cases you will only be required to go to court one time to meet with a trustee who will question you about your financial affairs and items listed in your bankruptcy petition. This meeting usually occurs in about 30 days from your bankruptcy filing date. The meeting will be held in the county where you live. Since the Covid-19 Pandemic all initial 341 court meetings have been held telephonically and are expected to continue that way into the future.

You may file your chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Washington State if you have lived in Washington state for the greater part of the last 180 days.

Generally the entire chapter 7 bankruptcy process takes a little more than 90 days from the date of filing after an objection deadline passes. You will be notified by mail of your discharge and your attorney will notify you by e-mail. After you file your bankruptcy case you will have the protection of the automatic stay which forbids creditors from collecting on debts without court approval up until you get your bankruptcy discharge.

Yes, a chapter 7 bankruptcy will stop your garnishment after a bankruptcy attorney files your case and notifies your employer. If your wages have been garnished within 90 days of your case filing, you may be able to get those funds back after your case is filed so long as the funds are exempt.

Filing chapter 7 bankruptcy may only delay the foreclosure process and in most cases does not allow a debtor to catch up on missed payments. A secured creditor may file a motion for relief from the automatic stay and continue the foreclosure action when the motion is approved or after you have received your discharge. Additionally a bankruptcy trustee may seek to work out a short sale or a carve out with the bank if they sell your property, so chapter 7 bankruptcy is not advisable if you are behind on your mortgage payments if you are seeking to retain real estate.

A debtor may file for chapter 7 bankruptcy every 8 years from the filing of the last chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge. A debtor may file a chapter 13 bankruptcy and receive a discharge of their debts after after 4 years from the filing date of a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

There is no set amount that a debtor must have in order to file bankruptcy, however this office advises debtors have at least $10,000 in debt in order to avoid any bankruptcy abuse actions from the trustees office or to make the bankruptcy filing worthwhile. If you feel that you can repay your debt in the future then it is possible that debt settlement may be a better route for you.

In chapter 7 bankruptcy you cannot choose which debts you would like to include, and which debts you would not like included. You must list all of your debt or no debt, there is no in between. Whether a bank or credit card company wishes to keep you as a customer is up to them post bankruptcy filing. You will need to call them to find out what will happen if you file bankruptcy, but the likely result is your account will be closed.

A chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for a period of up to 10 years. After you file bankruptcy you may immediately start rebuilding your credit through adding authorized user accounts, secured credit cards or diversifying your credit accounts moving forward. It’s possible to buy a home after 2 years from filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy case and you can obtain an automobile loan after your case is filed by many lenders.

The bankruptcy means test in a chapter 7 bankruptcy comes into play when a household is above the median income for the state in which they are filing in. If a debtor can justify that they truly have no excess income in which to put into a chapter 13 repayment plan, then the means test may come into play to help qualify the debtor qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  • Richard Symmes

    Hi, Richard here.

    Book a time on my calendar to receive a calendar invite along the option to schedule a Phone, Office or Zoom consultation.

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