Bankruptcy Basics | What is Bankruptcy? | Portland, OR

Bankruptcy Basics

Bankruptcy Lawyers in Portland, Oregon

Bankruptcy is an extraordinary relief which the US Constitution allows.  Honest individuals and businesses can exercise and protect their financial future. We do not think of bankruptcy as a judgmental process looking back at the causes of a problem. Rather we think of it as providing forward-looking relief to secure a better future.  The causes of financial distress are wide and varied. We help people get relief from their debt, relief from foreclosures or garnishments, and get back on track to success. Let’s find out what filing for bankruptcy in Oregon requires and how a law firm with competent bankruptcy lawyers can fight alongside you until you get the financial freedom you are longing for. 

  • Bankruptcy Relief in Oregon
  • Types of Bankruptcy in Oregon

Bankruptcy Relief in Oregon

Bankruptcy is a federal law that provides protection from creditors with the ultimate goal of achieving a fresh start without debt.  For bankruptcy in Oregon, we can help!   The code is organized like a book.  Chapter 7 details the laws governing a liquidation case.  Chapter 11 details the laws governing a business reorganization.  Chapter 13  details the laws governing an individual debt repayment plan. Each bankruptcy chapter provides different benefits and risks and we have the expertise to assist you in every option. Meeting with a lawyer who can explain to you all the options is crucial, otherwise, you may miss out on an important opportunity to solve your financial problem.  Contact our Portland, Oregon bankruptcy attorneys today to find out which bankruptcy chapter will best help you.


How Bankruptcy Helps

We all encounter financial difficulties every once in a while. There are many reasons why people struggle with financial debt; it might be because of unemployment, growing medical expenses, credit card debt, or marital issues.

Being in serious debt is a big problem, and filing for bankruptcy is one solution that might help ease the burden. A bankruptcy filing may seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and knowledge from Oregon bankruptcy attorneys, the whole bankruptcy process could be a breeze.

If you’re struggling with debt and you’re considering bankruptcy, our experienced Portland bankruptcy attorney can help you assess your situation and decide the best course of action to take.


How Bankruptcy Works

To put it simply, bankruptcy is a legal process where individuals, families, or even businesses get a fresh start with the option of clearing their debts, especially when they are no longer capable of paying them back.

Bankruptcy provides a solution by giving people burdened with a tremendous amount of debt the opportunity to have a fresh financial start. Temporarily or permanently preventing debt collectors from collecting payments for your debt while making sure that creditors are treated fairly is just one of the means to jumpstart your financial breakthrough.

There are different bankruptcy options, and depending on which type of bankruptcy you filed, a bankruptcy can stop collection activities of debt collectors through an automatic stay, stop wage garnishment, car repossession, and lawsuits.

A bankruptcy can also help you eliminate personal debts and reorganize your debts, so you can catch up on missed payments.

However, it is important to note that while declaring bankruptcy can give you a fresh start and debt relief if you can’t repay your debt, it is still considered a last resort debt management solution. Once you file your bankruptcy, it will be kept on your credit report for up to 7-10 years, which can limit your opportunity to acquire credit, buy a house or apply for a mortgage, get life insurance, or sometimes, even land a job.


Types of Bankruptcy in Oregon

People who file for bankruptcy must also follow the bankruptcy rules, receiving either:

  • a court order relieving them of their duty to repay their debts,
  • a debt discharge, or
  • a repayment plan for their loans.

In general, all types of bankruptcies fall into one of these two categories — reorganization or liquidation.


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will wipe out your debts, but in exchange, you must allow a trustee (the one in charge of administering a bankruptcy estate) to liquidate or sell a part of your assets to pay back your debts. In this type of bankruptcy, there are some exempt properties under state laws that you can keep. It usually lasts for 4-6 months, and both consumers and businesses can apply for this type of bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, as a bankruptcy discharge will erase most of your debts (called dischargeable debts). Debt collectors and creditors will be stopped from collecting a debt that has already been discharged. Unsecured debts or loans that aren’t backed by a guarantor or collateral are also cleared. This includes unpaid medical bills, credit card bills, personal loans, unpaid utility bills, old tax debts, and vehicle loans.

In exchange, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee can sell certain properties of the debtor, called nonexempt properties. The trustee in bankruptcy chapter 7 will then distribute the payment for these sold properties to creditors.

A debtor isn’t required to give up and sell all their assets. You’ll be able to keep certain properties (exempt properties) that are necessary for work and for maintaining a home such as home furniture and appliances, clothing, and possibly a vehicle if you use it daily for work. Many bankruptcy filers can also retain most or all of their properties.

However, not all debts can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are nondischargeable debts that you need to pay off even after declaring bankruptcy. These include:

  • Child support and spousal support/alimony
  • Income taxes for the last three years or more
  • Student loan debts (unless you can otherwise prove that it would be unfair to repay it)
  • Court fines and penalties


Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Chapter 13 can reorganize your debt, especially if you’re a high-income earner. In this type of bankruptcy, you can keep all of your properties and assets, but you must pay back your creditors for non-exempt assets through a three- to a five-year repayment plan.

Also known as a “wage earner” bankruptcy, individuals who want to file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy must have a steady income to repay their debts. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee will evaluate your financial situation to see if you qualify for Chapter 13.

Repayment Plan

When you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must propose a bankruptcy repayment plan that indicates how you’re planning to repay your debts in a span of 3-5 years. The amount you have to pay will depend on your income, how much debt you have, and the value of your non-exempt properties.

Car Loans and Mortgage

A repayment plan in a chapter 13 bankruptcy can be used to catch up on the overdue car and house payments in order to avoid a car repossession or a house foreclosure.

A car loan can be modified to fit the current financial situation of the debtor as long as the legal requirements are met and the creditor will be paid back. You can keep your house and avoid foreclosure by paying your monthly mortgage in a span of 3 to 5 years. You can also pay nondischargeable debts in full.


Other Types of Bankruptcy

Aside from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are still two other types of reorganization bankruptcy: Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Chapter 12 bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 is basically used by businesses that are struggling financially. Individuals who have debts that exceed the Chapter 13 threshold can also apply for this type of bankruptcy.

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

A chapter 12 bankruptcy is almost similar to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The only difference is that, to qualify for this bankruptcy, at least 80% of your total debts must be from the operation of a family fishery or farm.

There are different types of bankruptcy, and each type has its advantages and disadvantages. If you want to know more about each type of bankruptcy and which type suits your financial situation, schedule a case evaluation with an experienced Oregon bankruptcy attorney.


What Makes Our Oregon Bankruptcy Lawyers Different?

Expertise —  Michael O’Brien is one of only three lawyers in Oregon who are Nationally Certified as a Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist.

Experience — Our Oregon bankruptcy attorneys have over 20 years of experience and nearly 20,000 fact patterns assessed. You get the advantage of a broad knowledge base of strategies to solve financial problems.

Creativity — Many financial problems do NOT require bankruptcy. Our Portland, Bend, and Clackamas bankruptcy lawyers are welcome to explore non-bankruptcy alternatives and creative solutions to address our client’s debt problems.

Advocacy — Our Portland, OR attorneys fight for their clients and do not shy away from difficult fact patterns. You need a lawyer who litigates against aggressive Chapter 7 Trustees, Chapter 13 Trustees, and Creditors.

Empathy — Our Oregon bankruptcy attorneys enjoy their work because we like helping people. We care about our community and take comfort in the knowledge that we have a positive impact.

Service — Our lawyers and staff provide a full-service solution. From assessment of your unique situation and recommendation of a plan thru implementation. Culminating in a completed recovery and finally through after-action assessment to verify that the goals were achieved. You need a trusted Portland Oregon bankruptcy attorney who completes the bankruptcy, not just starts it for you.


Speak With Oregon Bankruptcy Attorneys Today!

Filing bankruptcy is a legal option for people to get out of debt and gain financial freedom once again. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you understand how bankruptcy works, and they can also help understand how to file a bankruptcy petition.

Our Portland bankruptcy attorneys at Michael D. O’Brien & Associates are experienced in dealing with bankruptcy filings and can provide you with the help you need. Call us today at (503) 694-4445 for a free case evaluation.

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Whether you're dealing with overwhelming debt, stopping foreclosure or repossession proceedings, or looking for a way to protect your assets, our Portland bankruptcy attorneys are here to help you overcome your financial hurdles!

Please be aware that submission of this no-obligation form does not establish an attorney-client relationship. By filling out the form, you agree to receiving emails from our firm regarding your case evaluation and other helpful resources. 

Disclaimer:By submitting this form you consent to our privacy policy. If you prefer contact via text you understand that *regular text message rates may apply. The information presented on this site should not be construed as formal legal advice and your submission of this form does not establish a lawyer/client relationship. We are proud to be a debt relief agency who frequently, but not always, helps people get relief through bankruptcy.

portland bankruptcy attorney logo


Whether you're dealing with overwhelming debt, stopping foreclosure or repossession proceedings, or looking for a way to protect your assets, our Portland bankruptcy attorneys are here to help you overcome your financial hurdles!

Please be aware that submission of this no-obligation form does not establish an attorney-client relationship. By filling out the form, you agree to receiving emails from our firm regarding your case evaluation and other helpful resources. 

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