Services by Type of Debt

Washington Debt Law offers solutions to various types of debts.  For each type of debt, there are multiple solutions which represent our various practice areas.  When we craft solutions, we review each practice area as well as out of the box concepts (such as becoming judgment proof or considering hard money and unconventional lending solutions).

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Overview of the Types of Debts we Handle

Washington Debt Law handles a wide variety of debts.  The list below is an overview of the types of debts we handle.  Scroll further down to the appropriate type of debt for a list of services we offer for each type.

Specific Services by Type of Debt

Auto Debt

Auto debts generally include those from repossessions, deficiency amounts after auction, tow truck fees, impound fees, parking tickets, traffic tickets, insurance subrogation claims, personal injury claims, injuries to property, car loans, and defaults upon car loans.  Additionally, while not a “debt” we also handle consumer protection and breach of contract claims against auto dealers, auto repair shops, tow truck operators, impound yards, and any other relevant creditor.

See our Lemon Law & Auto Issues page generally for options

Business Debt

Business debt typically comes in two forms: debt the business has acquired and personal guarantee liability.  We can handle both.  Most of our options can be utilized for either side, sometimes giving you two bites at the apple- such a business bankruptcy followed by a personal bankruptcy.  It is important to note that if most of your personal debt is business debt, you may qualify for an exception to the bankruptcy means test, even if you would not otherwise pass and qualify for a chapter 7.

Consumer Debt

Consumer debt is generally any sort of debt for the benefit of your or your family that is not related to a business.  Credit cars for personal expenses, home loans, and other type of non-business debts are included.  If you are a consumer, you likely fall under various consumer protection laws which provide additional protections beyond any contractual rights you may possess.

See our Consumer Protection page for the statutes we generally litigate

Credit Cards

Credit card debt can be resolved in many ways from filing for Bankruptcy to attacking the interest calculations and counterclaiming for FDCPA violations.  To determine the best approach, we consider each of the below options from a cost-benefit perspective.  The size of the debt, quality of data the collector has, and the overall amount of debt you possess are factors to consider in crating the best solution.

Family Law Debt

Like family law issues themselves, family law debt is complicated.  If the debt is related to alimony, maintenance, or support, the debts are generally non-dischargeable in bankruptcy and do not qualify for protection under the FDCPA or equivalent state law.  If it is a property settlement, it cannot be discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy but can be discharged in a chapter 13 bankruptcy.  If a hold harmless clause applies in the property settlement, it may be effectively non-dischargeable or lead to a motion for contempt.

We offer a range of services to help fight these debts.  This includes filing bankruptcy before a trial or final order is issued, consultation on how to settle or avoid debt assigned to you, how to enforce debt owed to you to include partition and sale actions, and more.

See our Family Law Debt page for more information

Government Fines & Criminal Debt

This type of debt can be difficult to deal with.  Most of it is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy and both the federal government and state government use statutes to add massive markups for the collection process.  For example, state law RCW 19.16.500 allows a 50% markup of the principal merely for being referred to collections- even if you pay immediately and they exert no effort beyond sending you a single letter, you still have to pay this amount.  The ways to fight these debts generally include filing bankruptcy to discharge other debts and free up cash flow or to pay the debt  time, attacking the interest and costs, counterclaims for consumer protection violations, and settling.

See our Government Fine & Criminal Debt Page

Home & Mortgage Debt

See our Foreclosure Defense Page and Mortgage Fraud Litigation Page

Generally your home is both your largest asset and largest debt.  If your house is upside down, we can assist with options ranging from strategic default strategies to loan modification to litigation including quiet title.  If you house has equity, we have options such as using chapter 13 to force the bank to accept repayment, loan modification, or litigation as necessary to defend or force a settlement.  We have a robust array of options to handle any situation involving your home.

Insurance Subrogation Claims

Insurance subrogation typically means that an insurance company has paid off someone else (your mortgage holder or a plaintiff in an auto accident for example) and now is coming after you for what they had to pay.  Strangely, both the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the equivalent Washington Collection Agency Act (RCW 19.16) exclude subrogation claims as being covered debts.  This means that if you believe a collector is violating the FDCPA based on how, what time, and to who they contact regarding your debt, you are likely wrong.  Fortunately, the Washington Consumer Protection Act (RCW 19.86) still applies along with basic contract principles and common law defenses so you can still defend against subrogation claims and creditor abuses.

Medical Debt

Medical debts are one of the leading causes of bankruptcy.  We like to see if there are other options.  We use a complex analysis where we review for charity care options, whether insurance billed or was billed properly using the right codes, whether consumer protection laws or common law defenses apply, and whether bankruptcy may be a viable option.

Military Debt

Military debt falls into a couple of issues.  First is debt owed to the military.  This can be a reenlistment bonus, overpayment, debt on a military star card, etc.  Second is debt that impacts your security clearance or might result in punishment under article 123 or 134.  The third is SCRA issues relating to deployment, cram down, and other issues.  We help you with all of these.

See our Military Debt page for more information

Non Dischargeable Debt

Non dischargeable debt comes in many forms: family law debt for alimony, maintenance, and support, government fines, criminal debt, certain tax debt, personal injuries caused while drunk or under the influence, fraud, and many more.  There are ways to handle these sorts of debt.  The best methods are typically bankruptcy (to discharge other debts and free up cash flow or to pay off the debt over time), settlement, payment arrangements, vacating the underlying judgment, appealing the judgment, and in some situations becoming judgment proof.

Pay Day Loans

While some pay day lenders operate legitimately, many do not- in particular those that are solely online.  In Washington State, non-bank pay day lenders have to be licensed and if they are not they cannot collect.  In many instances violations of law can allow counterclaims and successful defense.  At worst, pay day loans can be discharged in bankruptcy.

Personal Loans

Personal loans can come from banks.  They can also come from friends, family, neighbors, your church, your work, or other places.  Personal loans are generally like any other debt and can be discharged in bankruptcy or defended against.  The key with a successful defense is typically that your default upon the loan is not too close to the time you took out the loan in the first place with the amount, who you borrowed from, and the nature of the loan being factors to consider.

Personal Injury Debt

If you were not drunk, intoxicated, or under the influence and only property damage was involved, you are generally going to be fine and a normal defense would apply.  If you were under the influence or if there was personal injury, it gets a little more complicated.  Compounding that complication, most collection protection laws like the FDCPA and RCW 19.16 do not apply if it is a subrogation claim which makes the chance of a counterclaim much less likely.  However, we have options no matter your circumstances.

Student Loan Debt

In 2005, the Federal Government chose to make student loans very challenging to discharge in bankruptcy.  In Re Bruner set the standard for the four part hardship discharge test.  It is possible and we have discharged student loans via hardship discharge, but it is a tough road that requires a thorough analysis.

For federal loans, generally there are many programs to forgive, reduce, or help you make your payments.  There are also options to defend, file consumer protection counterclaims, or to settle.  Unfortunately, the statute of limitations does not apply to federal loans.

For private loans, there are no programs to help other than whatever weak options the private lender offers (if any).  Because of that, it is easier to discharge private loans in bankruptcy and you have similar options to defend or counterclaim.  The statute of limitation does apply and can be a great defense.

See our Student Loan page generally for information.

Tax Debt

Tax law is a specialty.  We have great referrals that work with us for controversy, offer and compromise, and related services.  We can help you discharge the debt in bankruptcy and also craft strategies around the timing of discharge, defending or discharging other debts, and other strategic considerations.  If your tax attorney or accountant has recommended a bankruptcy and/or if the tax debt is three years old or more, call us to see how we can help.

Zombie Debt

Few things make us happier than suing creditors coming after you on bad debt.  Bad debt is usually defined as beyond the statute of limitations, discharged in bankruptcy, written off and you received a form 1099 and paid the taxes on it, you have settled or paid the debt already, etc.  We have many options from reopening your bankruptcy and filing a motion for contempt or adversary proceeding for damages to counterclaims under the FDCPA, RCW 19.16, and RCW 19.86.  In many instances, we can represent you on a contingent basis.