Can I Keep My Car?
In most cases, yes. Bankruptcy law allows you to keep a vehicle provided the value (or value after deducting the loan balance) is not over a certain limit.
Even if your car is over the limit there may be a way to keep your vehicle. Your options will depend on your particular situation.
Can I Keep My House?
Much like the answer about a car, most often yes. If you live in your home and the value is within the allowed limit, you can keep your home. If the value is over the limit there may be a way to keep it, depending on your circumstances.
If you are behind on mortgage payments and facing foreclose, be sure to ask about your options. Bankruptcy is often used to protect a home from foreclosure.
What Happens to my Credit?
Bankruptcy is reported on credit reports and will reduce your overall credit score. You should plan for a two-year period during which your credit score will be low. Even though bankruptcy remains on your credit reports, after two years, your credit score will improve if you are careful to avoid missed or late payments on any remaining loans.
What Will Bankruptcy Cost?
It depends on the type of bankruptcy. Chapter 7, the most common, is $1,500 for a simple case, including both lawyer fees and court costs. The fee may be higher for a complex case, but it rarely exceeds $2,500.
Chapter 13 is less common and is based on an hourly fee with a payment required to start your case. In most cases the upfront payment is $750. The fees due after the case is filed can be paid over time as the case continues.
We will discuss the fees for your case during the first consultation. Our fees are reasonable and we always discuss them with you in advance.
What is the Process?
First, we will discuss your situation and your available options. If bankruptcy is not a good option for you we will tell you.
If bankruptcy is a good option for you, we will discuss the following; the unique issues of your case, the best type of bankruptcy for you, what the fees will be, the best time for starting your case, how long your case will last, an overview of the court process from filing your case until its completion.
Most chapter 7 cases take 90 days to complete. Chapter 13 cases (are less common and more complex, and cases (can) last for a period from 3 to 5 years depending on the individual case. Each case is unique and there are exceptions to these guidelines.
Do I Qualify?
You do not need a specific amount of debt to qualify for bankruptcy. If your debts are more than you can manage, and if other options (for example, debt consolidation or debt restructuring) will not protect you, bankruptcy may be your best option.
If you have lived in Oregon for the past three months and are 18 years of age you can be eligible for bankruptcy. If you have filed an earlier bankruptcy be sure to ask about the required time period before you can file another bankruptcy. Eight years between chapter 7 filings is required, but you can file sooner if you elect chapter 13.
Bankruptcy can solve some of these common debt problems:
Garnishment of wages or bank accounts
Pending home foreclosure
Monthly debt payments that exceed monthly income