There are two types of consumer bankruptcies available. One type is a Chapter 7 or “Fresh start” Bankruptcy. The filing of a Chapter 7 Petition normally results in a discharge of most of the debts of an individual or family. However, several types of debts cannot be discharged.
These include taxes, child support, spousal maintenance, court fines and student loans. Also some debts are attached or secured to specific property. In other words, a bank or credit company may hold the title of your automobile or may hold a mortgage to your family home. These debts must be paid or “reaffirmed” if you want to keep the property. This reaffirmation procedure is available and allows you to keep secured property such as your home or your automobile.
A second type of bankruptcy is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Under this procedure, you agree to repay your creditors out of your income. Each Chapter 13 Petition requires a plan for repayment of your debts. Your paycheck is turned over to a “trustee” who pays your debts each month. At the end of the procedure, the debts are either paid or discharged. This procedure also allows you to keep your “secured” assets such as your home or your automobile.
The filing fee at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court is $200. Our office charges an additional attorney fee of $600.00 for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. We will prepare and file the Bankruptcy Petition. A date will be set for you to appear at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Tacoma. Your attorney will accompany you to this hearing. You will be questioned by the trustee and by any creditors who appear at the hearing. Approximately two months after the hearing a discharge of your debts is ordered.
An initial review of your financial situation should take place before a decision is made to file Bankruptcy. We offer a consultation of one-half hour with an attorney for a fee of $50. If you decide to proceed, we will provide you with an information packet to complete. All retainer arrangements will be made directly with your attorney.