Personal Bankruptcy Filing Chapter 7 in Portland
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney in Portland, OR
Dealing with financial stress can be overwhelming mentally, physically, and emotionally. By filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’d get the chance to eliminate almost all of your unsecured debts and get a fresh start.
There are different types of bankruptcy chapters available for individuals, and hiring a bankruptcy attorney can help you deal with your financial burdens with the best solution. To know if a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you, call us at 503-694-4445 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Portland bankruptcy attorneys.
How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works
In a Portland Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or also known as “liquidation bankruptcy,” you’re allowed to keep certain “exempt” assets up to a certain amount. You would then have to surrender your non-exempt assets to a Bankruptcy Trustee.
The trustee will then review your financial assets and sell the assets not covered by the exemption and give the proceeds to the unsecured creditors to pay off debts. After this process, the remaining unsecured debts will be discharged. If the Trustee decides that there are no assets to sell, the bankruptcy case will be reported as a “no asset case” and the case will be closed. This whole process would take about 3 to 4 months in the bankruptcy court. At Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, P.C., we have Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys in Portland who can help you throughout the bankruptcy process.
Which Debts Can Be Discharged in Chapter 7?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy mainly focuses on wiping out unsecured debts such as credit card bills, personal loans, and medical expenses. Unsecured debts are debts that aren’t backed by collateral property.
Not all unsecured debts, however, can be wiped out in a Chapter 7. For example, child support, alimony, and student loans (with a few exceptions) are part of what is called non-dischargeable debts. This means that you’d have to pay for them even after bankruptcy.
Creditors can sometimes object from discharging your debts. Debts such as for luxury goods, tax debts (due within the last 3 years prior to filing), and debts incurred because of fraud might not be dischargeable.
If you have used your property as collateral for a loan, then that loan is called a secured debt. Secured debts, such as auto loans and mortgage, aren’t completely dischargeable in Chapter 7. If you’re late on your payments, creditors can request to lift the automatic stay to foreclose your property or repossess your vehicle. On the other hand, if you’re current on your payments, then you can keep the property and continue making payments, unless there is enough equity in your property to justify its sale.
These debts can only be discharged if you will surrender the collateral, or the property used to secure the loan. Your personal liability for your secured debts will also be discharged, which means that debt collectors won’t be able to sue you if they foreclose or repossess your property and sell it for an amount that is smaller than what you owe them.
Qualifying for a Portland Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The Means Test
Not everyone will qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Portland. To know if you qualify for debt relief, you’d have to take the Means Test. The Means Test will take into account your income and expenses, and compare them to the standard median income in Portland. To pass the test, you must earn less than the state median income. Otherwise, the court would have you apply for a Chapter 13 repayment plan instead. However, you can still pass the test even if your income is more than the state median income, but the process is more complicated. If after paying your monthly debts there is not enough money for your monthly expenses, then you may qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
There are also other requirements to become eligible for Chapter 7. For example, if you’ve already received a bankruptcy discharge in the last six to eight years, depending on the type of bankruptcy you’ve filed, then you won’t be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Dealing with financial trouble and mounting debt can affect your quality of life. To know if you qualify for a Portland Chapter 7 bankruptcy, connect with a trusted Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in Portland.
Once you file bankruptcy, a court-issued order known as the automatic stay will immediately stop most civil lawsuits filed against you by your creditors and most collections being taken against your assets by creditors, collection agencies, or government agencies.
An automatic stay can temporarily help you especially if you’re at risk of experiencing wage garnishment, losing your home, being evicted, or your utility services are about to be cut off.
An automatic stay can help with:
- House foreclosure. If you’re unable to pay your mortgage on time and your property is at risk of foreclosure, the automatic stay can help delay or stop the proceedings. The relief of an automatic stay may be temporary, however. A bankruptcy attorney can help you find a way to possibly keep your home even after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Eviction. An automatic stay can also provide you some temporary protection if you’re at risk of being evicted from your home. It can usually buy you some time, but a landlord can still evict you if they already have a judgement of possession against you prior to your bankruptcy filing, or ask the court to lift the automatic stay and allow the eviction to proceed.
- Utility services disconnection. If you’re late on your payments on your utility bills and they’re about to be disconnected, the automatic stay can help prevent your utilities from being disconnected for at least 20 days.
- Wage garnishment. Filing for bankruptcy can stop most wage garnishments right away. It can discharge most qualifying debts such as personal loans and credit card debt. However, some debt garnishments won’t be disqualified, for instance, your child support and alimony obligations will still continue to be deducted from your income.
FACING COMPLEX DEBT PROBLEMS?
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!
Portland Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys
Michael D. O’Brien & Associates helps individuals and families find relief from debt by using the protections afforded under bankruptcy law. Recently gone through a divorce, suffered a job loss, or cannot make ends meet for another reason? Our Portland bankruptcy lawyers can help you take control of your financial future and make a fresh start through Chapter 7.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as liquidation, basically allows individuals to sell off assets in order to pay creditors. When you file for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy Court will step in and determine how your debts will be repaid, sometimes eliminating or cancelling debts. Chapter 7 may be a practical solution in situations involving:
- High credit card debt or medical bills
- Inability to pay monthly bills by the due date
- Repossession deficiencies on vehicle loans
- Lost income because of wage garnishment
- Harassment or threats of lawsuits from creditors
Generally, once you file for bankruptcy, creditors cannot contact you regarding collections nor can they initiate or continue legal proceedings against you. This injunction is referred to as an automatic stay. In fact, once you are under the protection of the bankruptcy Court, you will most likely only have to deal with the Court and the designated bankruptcy Trustee. Many who file for bankruptcy find that this relief from constant creditor harassment greatly reduces stress and anxiety. Hence, allowing them to focus on the task at hand, financial recovery.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Done Right
If Chapter 7 or any bankruptcy is a viable course of action for you, it is imperative to take action as soon as possible. There are important bankruptcy rights that you may lose by waiting to file, most of which cannot be recovered through bankruptcy. Our Portland Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys will take the time to fully understand your financial situation and help you determine if bankruptcy is your best option. Should you decide to file, we will work with you to facilitate the process, while ensuring that you receive every protection and benefit available to you.
Equally crucial to the overall success of the bankruptcy process is the completeness and correctness of the initial filing; because once you file, you cannot undo it. For example, if you fail to include debts in your filing paperwork, they cannot be discharged even if they would have otherwise qualified for elimination. Therefore, it is in your best interest to be forthright about all of your debts. Our Portland Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys can help you make sure that you do not overlook any debt obligation so that you are in the best financial position possible coming out of bankruptcy.
Seek Experienced, Personal Representation
If you are facing financial difficulties and mounting debt, we can help restore you to positive financial health. Please contact Michael D. O’Brien & Associates, P.C. to discuss your options under bankruptcy law. We offer free initial consultations on most matters, and always provide discreet, professional legal counsel.