Filing for bankruptcy is a big decision that should not be made lightly and not before you understand as much as possible about the type of bankruptcy you want to file for. One of the most common types of personal bankruptcy is known as Chapter 7. Find out exactly what it's like to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tacoma and the steps you would take to complete the process in this article.
What Is It?
If you are able to successfully file Chapter 7, you will be given a fresh start to your financial life and will be able to plan for paying future debts more efficiently. Even if you have the best of intentions, things can come up that will make you feel like you're drowning in a sea of debt with no hope in sight.
When you have no other options to help you manage harassing creditors, a bankruptcy attorney will be able to help you get back on your feet. Through Chapter 7, many types of unsecured debt will be wiped out. While this will stay on your credit report for 10 years, sometimes it is the best option for you and your family.
What Debts Aren't Forgiven?
While many types of personal debt are wiped out when you file for Chapter 7, there are few types of debt that will not be included. Things like child support, spousal support, and alimony will still have to be paid. You will also have to pay any back taxes you owe from the last 3 years as well as student loans. It is possible to have student loans forgiven, although you will have to prove special hardship, which can be nearly impossible.
It's important to go into filing for bankruptcy knowing exactly which debts will be forgiven and which will not, so be sure to ask your attorney any specific questions you have before beginning the whole process.
How Do I File?
1. Make sure you're eligible.
Generally if your family's income over the past 6 months is greater than the median income for a family of the same size in your state, you will not qualify for Chapter 7.
2. Handle Secured Debts.
If you have used your home, for example, as collateral on a loan, you will need pay something to your creditor if you want to avoid having your home foreclosed on. You will then have to agree on new terms with the creditor or will have to surrender the property.
3. Fill out and file all necessary forms.
There are a few dozen forms you will need to fill out that will let the court know all about your debt, income, property, and expenses. You will also have to list all of your creditors and which debts you are disputing.
Once everything is filled out, you will file your petition with the court and your case is officially started. You can file the forms and petition at once, or file the petition first and get everything else submitted within 14 days if you're in more of a hurry.
4. Attend a short meeting.
You are required to attend a meeting at the court with a trustee and possibly a few of your creditors. You will have to answer questions they have and go over the forms you submitted.
5. Get your discharge.
Before your bankruptcy case can be successful, you will need to state how you will handle your secured debts and act on it. After all other steps are done for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tacoma, the court will officially discharge your debts and you can begin your fresh start.
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