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When debt becomes overwhelming, and you cannot see a way out, you may feel that you have few options left. Your financial future may be unclear, and worse, it could impact your family. You may be getting constant collection calls, which affects your comfort wherever you go until you speak with a bankruptcy attorney. 

When debt becomes overwhelming, filing for bankruptcy with a Tacoma bankruptcy lawyer may be the path forward for you and your case. When you file for bankruptcy with our Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers at Symmes Law Group, you receive personable, judgment-free help with your case. We are here to make the bankruptcy process as easy as possible for our clients so they can simply enjoy newfound financial freedom.

Knowing When to File for Bankruptcy Is Your First Step

When you are considering calling a bankruptcy lawyer like ours, you may be unsure whether it is the right time to file. You may still want to pursue other options, but you may feel unsure where to begin. You may even worry that filing for bankruptcy may be the worst choice. 

If you are unsure whether your situation is serious enough to warrant filing for bankruptcy, we can answer your questions about when to file. While some people may have options for pursuing other avenues of debt relief, your options may be limited, so reach out for help. We can provide specific guidance based on the details of your case.

When You Cannot Get Out of Debt Without Aid 

For many people, bankruptcy may feel like the only option to get out of debt successfully. For example, the total number of bankruptcy filings has risen by 16.8%, according to the Administrative Office of the US Courts, many of which are Chapter 7 bankruptcies. These types of bankruptcy filings offer a faster form of debt relief, especially for those with lower incomes. 

When you do not have the funds to recover from your debts alone, bankruptcy may be the answer you need. For many people, bankruptcy is a form of debt relief when paying off their debts on their income is not an option. If you believe you do not have a way out and that your interest, in particular, is growing faster than you can pay off your debts, you may have grounds to pursue bankruptcy.

When Your Home or Other Property Is On the Line 

Our bankruptcy attorneys in Tacoma understand that, for many people, one of the most worrying parts of being in debt is the possibility of losing your home, your car, or other significant property. Losing your home may leave you relying on friends and family or maybe even entirely homeless. That can be a dangerous, desperate situation for you and your loved ones, which is why acting now before your home is foreclosed on is vital.

In many cases, we are able to secure and protect the equity in your home through the Washington State Homestead Exemption applicable for up to the median value of a home in your county if you have owned it for more than 1215 days. These exemptions can help you avoid significant losses that impact you and your family over time, avoiding losing your primary mode of transportation or home. If you are concerned that you may lose property with personal or sentimental value, you can always reach out to us and talk about what exemptions you may receive as you navigate your bankruptcy case.

When Collection Calls Are Overwhelming You

You may also feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of collection calls you are receiving. For some people with significant debt, collection calls may be coming daily, leaving them overwhelmed and unable to recover from these debts. When you file for bankruptcy, you receive an automatic stay, which informs creditors that you are filing for bankruptcy and that collection calls should stop. 

Keep in mind that you do have options to pursue other actions if they continue to call. If they are not following state guidelines, the Washington State Attorney General or Consumer Lawyers. should step in and enforce their policies on acceptable calling times. That can give you the time and space you need to take action on your bankruptcy case.

You Have Options for Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy does not mean you have one singular option for progress. Bankruptcy covers a number of options, also known as Chapters, which you can choose from depending on the specifics of your case and the outcome you want. Each chapter has different rules and processes, and some chapters are specifically designated for businesses. 

As you pursue filing for bankruptcy with a Tacoma bankruptcy attorney, one of our earlier concerns is the outcome you seek as you file for bankruptcy. You may have specific options you would like to pursue, or you may only have particular paths forward based on your income and other factors. During your initial consultation with us, we will discuss the specific chapters you may be eligible for, including the following.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most commonly filed types of bankruptcy. This chapter focuses on liquidation to discharge debts and not make any payments and retain most assets in many cases. However, not everyone will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as eligibility requirements demand that consumers have limited income to qualify. Any non-exempt property is sold, and the proceeds are used to pay creditors. 

Keep in mind that any remaining debt after the sale is then discharged. However, you may be concerned about losing certain property, such as your home or vehicle. It may also only discharge some types of debt. 

Fortunately, Symmes Law Group is here to maximize the value and impact of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When you choose to file with us, we will analyze the factors and assets that will impact your bankruptcy case and do everything in our power to protect as much of your property as possible. That means the impact of liquidation may not be as serious as you may be worried about.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

For some, liquidating certain assets if not exempt may not be appealing, and you may be worried about losing certain property, such as your home. In fact, it may already be in danger of foreclosure, but you may have an income that would allow you to pay off your debts in the right circumstances. In these cases, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide the support you need. 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy consolidates your debts into a payment plan that you are expected to pay within 3 to 5 years, although the amount of debt you need to pay back may vary. Also known as the wage earner’s plan, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to build a plan to pay off your debts over a period of time without needing to let go of any of your assets or property. This option is often the most advantageous for those who earn more than the median income in Washington for their family size, limit but are unable to pay off their debts in a reasonable time frame and it can stop high interest from accruing on unsecured debt like credit cards or personal loans. 

Much like other forms of bankruptcy and debt relief, Chapter 13 bankruptcy also prevents contact with creditors due to the automatic stay. Rather than paying off each loan separately, you will have all your debts in one single payment, which can simplify interest, due dates, and more. At the end of this three to five-year period, as long as you have fulfilled the terms of your repayment plan, any remaining debts may be discharged.

Why Hiring an Attorney Gives You an Advantage in Bankruptcy Court 

When you plan to file your bankruptcy case, you may be unsure whether you need our bankruptcy lawyers on your side, but we can provide certain advantages you may not otherwise have access to. Those benefits can make a significant difference in how your case is settled, how much debt you are able to discharge, and whether you can settle any major issues with your case. Without a legal advocate, you may have a lengthier, more difficult case ahead. 

We offer the experience you may not have on your side otherwise. That experience can help you identify assets and property you may have yet to consider as you file for bankruptcy, as well as opportunities to avoid losing more of your property than is necessary. That means that your case may be settled at a much faster pace without significant delays that can impact the specifics of your bankruptcy recovery and debt relief. 

One of the most significant issues you may encounter as you navigate filing for bankruptcy is a creditor objecting to your bankruptcy filing due to fraudulent activity prior to filing. It’s also best to fully disclose all information needed for the bankruptcy petition otherwise during the bankruptcy process, you may be accused of committing fraud or concealing assets, leading to significant issues with your case and even legal action. We have extensive experience in helping people like you file bankruptcy cases as accurately and carefully as possible, potentially avoiding many of these issues.

Tacoma Bankruptcy FAQ 

Before you file for bankruptcy, you may first need answers about the specifics of your case. You may have specific property or assets you are concerned about, or you may be worried about the effect of filing for bankruptcy on your life. Before you make the decision to file, getting answers can help give you peace of mind and certainty that you are doing the right thing. 

We are here to answer any questions you have about your case. When you need a bankruptcy attorney, we are here to help you get the answers you need to navigate your case successfully. 

Will filing for bankruptcy hurt my credit score? 

While filing for bankruptcy can hurt your credit score, it is not a permanent reduction. Remember that while your score may drop by 100 to 200 points, you are also freeing yourself from significant debt. Your credit may then recover over the following years, potentially rising to its original score or higher. Many can purchase a home after 2 years of filing chapter 7 bankruptcy.  

How long does filing for bankruptcy take? 

Bankruptcy can take some months to complete, although most chapter 7 cases are completed after 90 days. There are specific waiting periods, and for those filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you also have a payment period of 3 to 5 years. Fortunately, we can help you through this process in a way that enables you to avoid any extensive waiting periods.

What if the creditors continue to harass me? 

Creditors have specific rules and regulations that they must follow with regard to collection calls and contact with debtors. Because of this, if they continue to harass you following your filing for bankruptcy, we can help you take steps to stop these calls. Creditors may even face bankruptcy court sanctions or issues with their licensing if they fail to stop.

Do I have to liquidate my business if I file for bankruptcy? 

If you are a business owner considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, keep in mind that your business does not have to be on the line. While liquidating your business is a possibility, you may also have options for reorganization, which can help you catch up on your debts, reduce the amount you pay, and avoid foreclosure and repossession. That can help eliminate debt while also allowing you to continue running your business. Chapter 11 bankruptcy can be very expensive and time consuming so is not for everybody, while a chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation where a business does not get a bankruptcy discharge.  If there is personal liability on a debt, it often makes sense to close the business and file a personal bankruptcy.  

Can I discharge my student loans by filing for bankruptcy? 

Unfortunately, federal student loans are typically non-dischargeable debts, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and may only be discharged in specific circumstances. Usually, you will need to prove that they present an undue hardship and that your family would have to live in an impoverished state to pay them. However, while these debts are typically non-dischargeable, we can help you pursue discharging your other crippling debts.

Trust in Tacoma’s Judgement-Free Bankruptcy Law Firm

When you are stuck in significant debt, you may feel that you have few options to escape it. You may be overwhelmed by debt collection calls, your utilities may be shut off, and you may even face legal action. However, you do not have to accept this future as inevitable. 

You can instead reach out to our Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys at Symmes Law Group. We are dedicated and focused on our clients, working hard to get you through the bankruptcy process as quickly as possible without sacrificing your assets as much as possible. To learn more about our services and take action to file for bankruptcy, reach out by calling or completing our online contact form.

  • Richard Symmes

    Hi, Richard here.

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