North Seattle Bankruptcy Lawyer
We represent consumers and small businesses in filing bankruptcy petitions and in bankruptcy court. We handle simple, no asset cases as well as complex bankruptcies that require litigation or adversary proceedings. Call us for a free consultation to determine if bankruptcy is a good option for you.
Is Bankruptcy the “Best Choice” for You?
As a full-service debt relief firm, bankruptcy is not our go to response or our one size fits all solution. Bankruptcy has severe consequences on your credit score, ability to obtain loans, and cannot be used again effectively for certain periods of time. In effect, it is important to determine the best timing for pushing the “reset button” of bankruptcy and it is not something you want to enter into lightly.
There are times when bankruptcy should be the first and best choice for you. This is typically when you have multiple debts and multiple creditors, are facing imminent garnishment or are already being garnished, or are facing a foreclosure sale within the next month.
Generally, bankruptcy is something you want to have time to prepare for and use strategically to help meet your goals. If you are facing a foreclosure, instead of filing a bankruptcy, you could enter into mediation or look into loan modification options. If you are facing garnishment, you might be able to settle the debt instead. If negotiations go well, a bankruptcy may not be necessary. This allows you to preserve your credit score as well as your ability to file a bankruptcy in the future.
Since we are a full-service debt relief firm, we can help guide you to the most appropriate legal tool in line with your financial goals. If bankruptcy is the “best choice” for you, we can help.
Basic Explanation of Chapter 7, 11, and 13 Bankruptcies
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically for individuals whose income falls below the median income for Washington State. You are able to eliminate most unsecured debt. Unsecured debt is any debt that is not tied to collateral. This means credit cards, medical bills, pay day loans, utility bills, civil judgments, and personal loans can be discharged. Debts that are generally not dischargeable include student loans, fraud, debts arising from criminal acts, and recent taxes.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is for businesses or individuals with significant debts that need to restructure and continue to operate. If you have secured debts that exceed roughly $1,000,000 or unsecured debts that exceed roughly $300,000, you may be required to file a chapter 11 bankruptcy if you wish to restructure.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for individuals that make too much money to qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy and for those who wish to repay their debts over time. This type of bankruptcy essentially allows you to pay a debt over a period of 36-60 months as opposed to all at once. Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides the ability to stop foreclosure, catch up on missed payments, and repay debts without the threat of garnishment. It is also possible to strip off or remove second mortgages on your primary home.
Bankruptcy Litigation and Removal of Second Mortgages
We offer bankruptcy litigation services. If a creditor violates your rights under the bankruptcy code, we can litigate these violations inside your bankruptcy case to obtain relief and possibly damages. Additionally, we can strip off second mortgages on your home through an adversary proceeding in a chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Contempt Actions Against Creditors that Violate Your Rights
If a creditor violates your rights in bankruptcy, we can file a motion for contempt against the creditor. We can do this during your case if a creditor continues to collect debts included in your bankruptcy petition. We can also re-open your bankruptcy and file a contempt motion if a creditor tries to collect debts discharged in a previous bankruptcy (“zombie debt”) or after your current bankruptcy is discharged.
Objection to Creditor Claims and “Produce the Note” Litigation
If you suspect that a creditor claim may be fraudulent, we can object to the creditor’s claim. This is appropriate when there is doubt that the creditor is the actual entity that holds your debt. You can force that creditor to produce the promissory note obligating payment. This strategy is also known as “produce the note” litigation. Objections to claims are also appropriate when it appears the accounting is fraudulent or incorrect.
Student Loan Discharge in Hardship Situations
Generally, student loans are difficult if not impossible to discharge. However, there is an exception that was created for hardship situations. The hardship factors are established by case law and require an in depth analysis. If you have student loans and would like to find out whether your student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy, call us for a free consultation.
Call Our Office for a Free Initial Bankruptcy Consultation
If you believe bankruptcy might be necessary or if you would like to speak with an attorney, call our office for a free initial consultation. We can help you determine if a bankruptcy is necessary, the best timing for filing, and how to prepare your finances accordingly.