- Why choose Willamette Valley Bankruptcy?
- I can't afford to pay the attorney fee and court fee required to file a bankruptcy case. Are there any options for me?
- What types of payment plans for attorney fees are offered?
- I just received a garnishment notice. What will bankruptcy do for me and how long will it take?
- I have been garnished for several pay periods. Is there anything you can do to recover some of these funds?
- What types of documents are needed to file my bankruptcy case?
- What should I bring to my first appointment?
- How do I find a list of creditors?
- Can I keep my house, car, and tax refund?
- Can bankruptcy stop my home foreclosure?
- How do I know if I am eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on my income?
- Can I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy if I have filed bankruptcy in the past?
- What is a bankruptcy hearing and what should I expect?
- How long does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy take?
- How long does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy take?
- If I file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, do I have to pay all of my debts?
- What is a bankruptcy discharge?
- Will all of my debts be discharged in bankruptcy?
- How does bankruptcy impact my credit?
Q: Why choose Willamette Valley Bankruptcy?
A: At Willamette Valley Bankruptcy, we know that you need an attorney who not only understands the law, but who also takes the time to understand your situation. Erin Uhlemann will provide you with guidance and resources to help you understand your options and to get your bankruptcy case filed quickly so that you can move on with your life. She will offer payment plan options because she understands, that you are in a difficult financial situation and that you can't afford to pay a large up-front fee to file your bankruptcy case.
Q: I can't afford to pay the attorney fee and court fee required to file a bankruptcy case. Are there any options for me?
A: If you plan to file a Chapter 7 case, you can ask the court to let you pay the court filing fee after your case is filed. The court typically gives you between 1 and 3 months to pay this fee. If your wages are being garnished at the time your case is filed, you may be able to pay a portion of the Chapter 7 fee before the bankruptcy case is filed and to pay the remainder after the case is filed. If you plan to file a Chapter 13 case, a $100 retainer plus the court's filing fee are all that is required to file your bankruptcy case.
Q: What types of payment plans for attorney fees are offered?
A: You can set up a payment plan to make monthly payments toward the attorney fee. Once you have paid the agreed upon fee and provide the documents required to file a bankruptcy case, you can move forward with filing your bankruptcy case.
Q: I just received a garnishment notice. What will bankruptcy do for me and how long will it take?
A: Filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will stop your garnishment if a judgment has been entered against you. You should immediately call an attorney to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your options. Make sure to tell the person you speak with that you are being garnished and that you want to move quickly to stop the garnishment. Willamette Valley Bankruptcy will typically file your Chapter 7 case for a reduced up-front fee if you are being garnished and provide you with a checklist of the documents you will need to file the bankruptcy case so that you can move forward more quickly. As soon as your case is filed with the Bankruptcy Court, your employer and the creditor who is garnishing your wages will be notified that the wage garnishment must immediately stop. With few exceptions, once the garnishment has stopped, the creditor is not allowed to garnish again in the future. If you are being garnished for back child support, taxes, or student loans, the garnishments may eventually resume. If you had a previous bankruptcy case dismissed within a year prior to filing your bankruptcy, it becomes more complicated.
Q: I have been garnished for several pay periods. Is there anything you can do to recover some of these funds?
A: If you have had more than $600 taken from your wages during the 3 months leading up to your bankruptcy filing, Willamette Valley Bankruptcy may be able to recover the garnished funds from the creditor.
Q: What types of documents are needed to file my bankruptcy case?
A: In most cases, you will need to provide tax returns for 2 years, proof of income and bank statements for 7 months, credit reports, and a credit counseling certificate. After reviewing your situation, Erin will tell you if you need any other documents in order to file a bankruptcy case.
Q: What should I bring to my first appointment?
A: It is helpful if you can bring a recent pay stub, tax return, and any summons or other lawsuit documents you have received.
Q: How do I find a list of creditors?
A: Willamette Valley Bankruptcy will provide you with instructions at your initial consultation to tell you how to pull credit reports for free. If you have trouble getting your credit reports using the free options, she can help you use the free site or provide you with other options. You should save all bills you receive and make note of any creditor calls you receive.
Q: Can I keep my house, car, and tax refund?
A: When you call Willamette Valley Bankruptcy, you will be asked a series of questions about what you own so that we can determine whether you risk losing anything by filing a bankruptcy case. There are laws in place called exemptions that help protect the assets of people who file bankruptcy cases. Exemption laws can be confusing, so it's important to discuss filing a bankruptcy case with an attorney so that you know in advance whether you can keep the assets that are important to you.
Q: Can bankruptcy stop my home foreclosure?
A: Yes. Filing a bankruptcy will stop/stay a foreclosure. Filing a Chapter 13 case will give you 36-60 months to make your back mortgage payments. You can also pursue a mortgage loan modification after you file. In Chapter 13 you may also be able to remove some second mortgages and judgment liens. Chapter 7 provides temporary protection so that you have more time to pursue alternatives such as loan modification.
Q: How do I know if I am eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on my income?
A: There are two income tests used to determine if you are eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The first test uses your current income and expenses to figure out whether you have any money left at the end of the month after paying your regular household. The second test is called the Means Test and is a less straight forward. The Means Test uses your average household income for a specific 6 month period to figure out whether your income is greater or less than the income of other households of the same size. If you are not eligible to file Chapter 7, there are alternatives to consider, such as filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Q: Can I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy if I have filed bankruptcy in the past?
A: It depends on how long ago you filed bankruptcy and which type of bankruptcy you filed. If you aren't sure, you can ask Erin during your initial consultation and she can find out for you. The general rule is that you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief unless you have already filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in the last 8 years and received a discharge or filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case in the last 6 years and received a discharge. If you filed Chapter 13 in the last 6 years and paid at least 70% of your unsecured claims in the case, you don't have to wait 6 years. You also have to show that your income isn't so high that getting a discharge in a Chapter 7 case would not be an "abuse" of the bankruptcy system.
Q: What is a bankruptcy hearing and what should I expect?
A: Whether you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you must attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors. These hearings take place at the federal courthouse located at 405 E 8th Ave.,
Eugene, OR 97401 and are scheduled about 30 days after your case is filed. Erin will attend the hearing with you. After your bankruptcy trustee checks your photo identification and proof of Social Security number, he or she will swear you in and ask you questions about your bankruptcy petition. In most case, the hearings take less than 10 minutes.
Q: How long does a Chapter 7 bankruptcy take?
A: It takes approximately 3 months to complete a Chapter 7 case. However, you will receive bankruptcy protection as soon as your case is filed.
Q: How long does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy take?
A: Chapter 13 cases last 36-60 months unless you pay all of the creditor claims in full.
Q: If I file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, do I have to pay all of my debts?
A: Not in most cases. The amount you pay is based on several factors, including how much extra money you have at the end of the month after you pay your living expenses.
Q: What is a bankruptcy discharge?
A: Obtaining a "discharge" is the main reason most people file a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case. Once the Bankruptcy Court enters a "Discharge Order" at the end of a bankruptcy case, you are no longer personally obligated to repay the dischargeable debts and the creditors are prohibited from attempting to collect on debts that have been discharged.
Q: Will all of my debts be discharged in bankruptcy?
A: The basic rule is that all debts are discharged unless they fall into one of the several exceptions found in 11 USC § 523 (Chapter 7) and 11 USC § 1328 (Chapter 13) of the bankruptcy code. Some examples of debts that are not discharged include, but are not limited to: domestic support obligations, some tax debts, some government fines and penalties, student loans, and debts arising from intentional injury of another person.
Q: How does bankruptcy impact my credit?
A: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically reported on your credit report for 10 years. The debts discharged in your bankruptcy should be appear as "included in bankruptcy" or should appear with a zero balance. Filing bankruptcy doesn't "ruin" your credit for 10 years. In fact, filing a bankruptcy case offers the opportunity for a fresh start so that you can build credit going forward. If you do not file a bankruptcy case and are unable to pay your debts, you may be sued and your wages may be garnished. These types of actions will negatively impact your credit and get in the way of your financial success. If you are at a point that you can no longer pay your debt, filing bankruptcy is often better than not filing a bankruptcy case and facing the possibility of losing wages through garnishment.