Bankruptcy Attorney Bend, Oregon
Considering Filing for Bankruptcy in OR?
You might have found yourself in an unexpected situation that made it difficult for you to make payments on your loans or credit cards. Now you are struggling with crippling debt. If you're looking for a way to manage your debt and get a fresh financial start, you may consider filing for bankruptcy. This form of relief allows you to discharge or restructure your debts to help you manage them. It also stops most creditors from taking specific actions. Filing for bankruptcy isn't always straightforward, as you must follow federal rules and regulations to successfully petition.
Instead of trying to tackle the bankruptcy process on your own, reach out to our skilled bankruptcy attorneys in Bend, Oregon at Baxter Harder, LLC. We have extensive experience working in the legal system and have an in-depth understanding of both state and federal laws. When you hire us, our team will work closely with you to learn about your financial situation, gather necessary information, and file the correct forms to the court. We know that this can be a stressful time for you, which is why we will be by your side throughout the process, providing sound legal advice.
What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a relief option available to individuals struggling with crippling debt. Depending on your situation, you might be able to eliminate some of your financial obligations or set up payment plans to pay off some of the amounts you owe.
When you file for bankruptcy, you begin a legal process. A court will go through all of the information you provided, including your debts, assets, income, and expenses, to determine whether you should be granted this type of relief.
Our team at Baxter Harder, LLC has intimate knowledge of the bankruptcy filing process, and we can answer all your questions. We believe in arming you with the information necessary for you to make informed decisions about how to move forward with your case.
Different Types of Bankruptcy
Various types of bankruptcy exist. The kind you file for depends on your specific situation.
The most common bankruptcies are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the type most people think about when they consider this type of financial relief. If it is granted, assets are sold to pay off some of the amount owed to creditors, and the remaining balances are eliminated. To qualify for Chapter 7, you must pass a means tests to determine whether you meet the income threshold.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option for those who fail to pass the Chapter 7 means test and have an income to pay back some of their debts. If you are granted this type of relief, you, your Bend bankruptcy attorney, and the court will develop a 3- to 5-year payment plan. After you successfully complete the plan, your remaining debts are eliminated.
What Is an Automatic Stay?
If you find yourself buried in debt, your creditors might begin calling you or send you letters to try to collect on what they're owed. They might even threaten you with lawsuits.
When you file for bankruptcy, the court issues an automatic stay, which stops most creditors from contacting you. This can relieve you of some of the stresses associated with your debts and allow you to focus on getting everything in order for your bankruptcy filing.
Are All Debts Eliminated After Filing for Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a way for you to relieve yourself of some of the debts you've acquired. However, it does not eliminate all of them.
Depending on your situation, you may still be required to may payments on financial obligations such as:
- Federal student loans
- Child support
- Debts acquired after filing for bankruptcy
What Assets Are Exempt When I File for Bankruptcy?
When you file for bankruptcy, your property gets put into an estate. The trustee assigned to your case is responsible for selling your estate assets to pay your creditors.
However, because bankruptcy laws are in place to help people get fresh starts, it would be counterproductive to require you to give up all of your property. Doing so would essentially mean that you would have to start your whole life over from scratch. Thus, you may be able to keep some of your property after filing for bankruptcy.
The assets you keep are referred to as exempt property. They are considered exempt because the trustee cannot liquidate them to benefit your creditors. The assets you cannot retain are referred to as non-exempt property because they are not spared from being sold.
The assets you might be able to keep may include your:
- Household appliances
- Retirement accounts
Property that may be exempted in a bankruptcy case depend on state and federal laws, as well as your specific situation. If you're filing for bankruptcy and want to protect your assets, speak with Baxter Harder, LLC. We can clearly explain the laws and help you retain ownership of your important assets.
What Is a Means Test for Bankruptcy?
Before most people can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they must take a means test. The test is used to determine whether you have enough money each month to pay down your creditors.
The means test concerns three areas:
- Your monthly expenses: This includes all debt you currently have.
- Your current income: This is the income you've earned for the 6 months before you filed for bankruptcy.
- Your disposable income: This is the amount of money you have leftover each month after subtracting your monthly expenses from your current income.
In the first part of the means test, you are determining where your current income is in relation to the median income for Oregon. If it's below the median, you qualify to file for Chapter 7 and you don't have to determine your expenses or disposable income.
If your current income is above the median, that does not immediately disqualify you from filing Chapter 7. Instead, it means you must determine what your disposable income is. If it's not enough to satisfy your monthly debts, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
However, if your disposable income is enough to pay down your expenses, you do not qualify for Chapter 7. Although this bankruptcy option wouldn't be available to you, you might still be able to file Chapter 13. If you pursue this option, you would be put on a payment plan for a period of 3 or 5 years. During that time, you would be required to adhere to a strict budget. If you satisfy all requirements, your remaining qualifying debt will be discharged.
At Baxter Harder, LLC, our Bend bankruptcy lawyers can assist with compiling and entering your financial data for the means test and help you understand your bankruptcy options.
Who Can I Contact for Help?
Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy process. You're required to provide the court with all your financial information, complete various documents, and attend hearings. Trying to handle this alone could be challenging. That is why our Bend, OR bankruptcy attorneys are here. We'll provide the guidance you need during this time.
Over 60+ Years of Combined Experience
Work With an Experienced Former Deputy District Attorney at the Firm
Extensive Trial Experience
We Can Handle Complex Cases in Criminal, Civil, & Family Law
Highly Personalized Representation
Free or Low-Cost Consultations
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When you choose our team of experienced lawyers, we will take the time to listen to your needs and remain focused on that as we proceed with your case. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources to provide the quality legal representation you need.