Bankruptcy Lawyer Process
Our Washington Bankruptcy Lawyers Can Help!
Our bankruptcy lawyers will immediately work to put a stop to the harassment from your debt collectors; we are very knowledgeable when it comes to Washington State law, and on your behalf, we shall enforce your rights by bringing a lawsuit against them.
Our bankruptcy attorneys will draft your legal paperwork and ensure that all necessary documentation will be made available to you. So that you will be aware of your case status, you shall be kept constantly involved throughout the bankruptcy process.
Step 1 – Meet with Our Qualified Washington Bankruptcy Lawyers to Discuss Your Case
The first step in the process is to give us a call and schedule a free no obligation consultation with our office. During your consultation your attorney will discuss your financial concerns and future financial goals to determine whether bankruptcy is appropriate in your case, and if appropriate determine the type of bankruptcy you should file.
During the consultation your attorney will gather important information from you to advise you of any potential issues that you may face in a bankruptcy case, and if any issues arise discuss how those issues may be avoided. This is commonly referred to as pre-bankruptcy planning. At the end of your consultation your attorney will discuss the bankruptcy process, the information that you must provide us in order to prepare your bankruptcy petition, and discuss fees and payment arrangements.
Step 2 – Gather Financial Documents That We’ll Need
Once you leave our office we will equip you with a list of financial documentation that we will need to assist you with your bankruptcy. Our Bankruptcy Forms page also has all of the documents you will need to fill-out and return to us, and a checklist of additional documents we will need. Once you’ve gathered all of the information simply return it to our office and we will begin working on your case. You can mail, fax, email, or leave the information we request in our overnight drop box.
Step 3 – Complete Pre-Filing Debtor Education Course
In order to be eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete a pre-filing briefing outlining the opportunities for credit counseling AND that assists you in performing a budget analysis within 180 days before your bankruptcy case is filed.
When your bankruptcy case is filed, you must also file with the court the certificate you obtained from the approved credit counseling agency and nonprofit budget. Our bankruptcy lawyers can provide an approved agency list for you.
Step 4 – Meet with Our Qualified Washington Bankruptcy Lawyers to Review Your Final Petition
Once we’ve received your information we will work hard to put together a first draft of your petition as quickly. We then have you schedule an appointment to come review your petition with us for any required changes. We explain each form, and go over the contents of your petition in its entirety with you. If changes are needed – no problem, we’ll fix them right then and there. Once your petition is completely accurate we will have you sign the petition, and we will file it electronically with the Bankruptcy Court.
Step 5 – Attend Your 341 First Meeting of Creditors Hearing
A trustee is assigned to your case as soon as your bankruptcy is filed in court. Essentially, it is their role to help in the selling of your assets that aren’t protected under the laws of bankruptcy, and to distribute the proceeds to the creditors.
In most typical bankruptcy cases there aren’t any assets in which to liquidate, so don’t be too worried. If the bankruptcy trustee does happen to identify assets, our bankruptcy attorneys have probably already advised you about the possibility.
If you’ve filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy the trustee’s responsibilities include the review of the repayment plan being proposed, coming up with recommendations to the court in regards to the plan’s feasibility, as well as payment distribution to your creditors under the terms of your plan. Each month, you will need to send your bankruptcy payments into the trustee, along with other possible documents that are required by law.
As with all bankruptcy cases, this short meeting usually occurs within four to six weeks after filing for bankruptcy. During this meeting, your creditors will receive a chance to address questions. In most cases, the creditor rarely even attends, and is mostly handled by the trustee that was assigned to your case. Your trustee may also inquire about income or assets, focusing on specific items listed on your bankruptcy petition.
The assigned trustee is not a judge, and the meeting will occur at the Vancouver Federal Building in a small meeting room with an informal setting. After the event, it pretty common to hear people express how the processed actually seemed simple, and that they had nothing to fear from Washington State’s bankruptcy law.
Please keep in mind that bringing photo identification issued by the state is a requirement when you come to the meeting. Our bankruptcy lawyers will also give you a list of other possible documents that should be given to the bankruptcy trustee before the meeting can occur.
With filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy there’s one additional hearing that must be attended. It referred to as the Hearing on Confirmation, and will follow the Meeting of Creditors. At this particular hearing, your trustee will make any recommendations to the judge regarding whether or not the payment plan you propose is sufficient and satisfies requirements under the bankruptcy code. The presiding judge will then either let us know that there are adjustments to be made, or will give the repayment plan final approval.
Step 6– Complete a Post-Petition Financial Management Course
A post-petition Financial Management Course must be completed before a debtor can attain a discharge of their debts in any Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case. The intention of this course is to assist the debtor in identifying and correcting the financial mistakes that brought them to file bankruptcy.
With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, it is typically completed immediately following the 341 First Meeting of Creditors. After you have completed this step you will receive a discharge of your debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy roughly 90 days from the date that you originally filed your petition. This official court order relieves you of the obligation to pay back your bills – but please remember that this discharge does not relieve all of your debts in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. You should contact our skilled bankruptcy lawyers to discover which debts can and which ones will not be discharged with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
With Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, the discharge is provided upon the successful completion of your repayment plan. This may vary depending on the length / type of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.
The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer will fight to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Call us today at (360) 334-6277 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer represents clients throughout Southwest Washington State, including in Clark County, Cowlitz County, and Skamania County and Vancouver, Battle Ground, Camas, La Center, Ridgefield, Washougal, Woodland, Yacolt, Castle Rock, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, North Bonneville, and Stevenson. Attorney Erin Bradley McAleer focuses on the areas of Criminal Defense, Bankruptcy, Traffic Infractions, Landlord Tenant, Personal Injury, Firearm Rights Restoration, and Post-Conviction Relief (Vacating & Sealing Criminal Records).