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Shoreline Bankruptcy Attorneys | Bankruptcy Lawyers in Shoreline, WA | Chapter 7 | Chapter 13

Shoreline bankruptcy lawyers. Stop drowning in debt. If you qualify, there is a way out. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Call now to see if you qualify.

Shoreline bankruptcy lawyers in King County, Washington successfully handling Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases

Call today for a free attorney consultation to find out if you qualify and if filing for bankruptcy is your best financial options.

Shoreline, Washington is a city in King County and borders the northern edge of city of Seattle. It is one of the largest and oldest suburbs in the Seattle metropolitan area.

Shoreline is home to over 50,000 people in the Seattle area, many of them homeowners and renters who have fallen on difficult economic times largely due to the recent economic recession or for other unforeseen economic circumstances. Many Shoreline residents have chosen to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for a fresh financial start in order to discharge (wipe out) debts they can no longer afford to pay or lower their payments on bills to an affordable monthly amount.

Over the years, our law firm has helped many Shoreline residents get back on solid financial footing by representing them and guiding them step by step though the consumer bankruptcy process.

Why Consider Filing for Bankruptcy in Shoreline?

Filing for bankruptcy can have many financial advantages and actually improve credit over time. Most people who file for bankruptcy have one or more of the following financial issues:

1. Can’t Afford Their Monthly Credit Card Payments
2. Are behind on their medical bills, credit cards, payday loans, utilities bills, rent or other unsecured debts.
3. Can’t afford their car loan and may have had their car repossessed.
4. Are Being Harassed By Creditors and Want the Calls to Stop
5. Have a home schedule for Foreclosure, want to keep their home and want to stop the foreclosure sale.
6. Have Been Served with a lawsuit and are at risk of being garnished.

Bankruptcy Is Filed to Discharge All or a Substantial Amount of Unsecured Debt.

People file for consumer bankruptcy because they can no longer afford to pay all of their debts. The most common reason for people to file for bankruptcy is to discharge all a substantial portion of their unsecured debts. An unsecured debts is a debt with no collateral attached to it hence, it is a debt not secured by property. The most common unsecured debts are credit card debts, medical bills, payday loans, remaining unsecured residual debts from repossessed cars sold at auctions, debts from broken apartment leases, attorney fees owed from representation in a civil or criminal lawsuit, and unpaid utilities. 

Shoreline bankruptcy is a federal court case that cancels your debt with a final order called a “discharge”.  The discharge is an injunction against creditors ever collecting a debt from you again.  If they violate the discharge, they can be sanctioned by the federal courts.  The idea is to provide the honest, unfortunate debtor with a financial fresh start when a debt load gets so burdensome that it interferes with someone’s dignity and ability to be a productive citizen.

Some debts cannot be discharged – such as student loans, back taxes, back child support and fines.  Though most debt can be discharged, you should consult an attorney to discuss which of your debts can be wiped out in a Shoreline bankruptcy.  Often, you can keep your car, your house or other things you are making payments on in a Shoreline bankruptcy.

There are two types of Shoreline bankruptcy for most consumers – Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  A Chapter 7 is an easier, cheaper form of Shoreline bankruptcy.  The whole process usually takes just over three months.  Though most property can be protected in a Chapter 7, there is a risk of having some of your property sold to pay part of your debts.  If you make over the average income, you may have to file a Chapter 13 Shoreline bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 is a three to five-year repayment plan.  It can be a great way to protect yourself from foreclosure, the IRS, license suspensions, paying your ex-spouses debts, car repossessions and having your assets taken.  Even if you have a high income and must pay back all your debts, at least a Chapter 13 offers legal certainty and a specific date when you know you will be out of debt.

Whether you are considering filing a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, our Shoreline bankruptcy lawyers will be with you every step of the process from start to finish.

A brief overview of Shoreline Chapter 13

A Shoreline Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a plan to pay your creditors at least something over a three to five year period.  You can consolidate all kinds of debt in a Shoreline Chapter 13 plan.  Unlike non-bankruptcy debt consolidation plans, you can include taxes, car loans, back child support, credit cards, medical bills, tickets and other fines – all your debt – in a Shoreline Chapter 13.  You can get caught up on mortgage arrears and save your house from foreclosure in a Shoreline Chapter 13.  People who earn over the average income may have to do a Shoreline Chapter 13.  It is possible to save property that might be liquidated (sold for cash to pay your creditors) in a Chapter 7.

Like with a Chapter 7, you have to take a short two-hour credit counselling class before you file a Shoreline Chapter 13.  Your case starts with filing a petition with the bankruptcy court, along with a plan to repay your creditors and other documents showing your income, expenses, property, debts and other financial details.  A trustee administers your case.  The trustee collects a monthly payment from you and makes monthly payments to your creditors according to the plan you file.

A month after you file your case, you attend a meeting of creditors.  The trustee conducts the meeting.  Creditors don’t usually appear but they can.  The trustee swears you in and reviews your bankruptcy forms and plan and financial documents you provide before your meeting.  The trustee can make recommendations or file a formal complaint against your plan.  Creditors can also object to your plan.  Your attorney can fight back if they ask for too much.  The final decision comes from a bankruptcy judge who must confirm your plan for your case to go through.

The confirmation of your plan locks in the terms and at that point only need to keep making your monthly payments until the three to five year period is over.  However, either you or the trustee can ask the court to change the plans if circumstances change – for instance, you can ask to the court to lower your payments if your income goes down.  You can also convert your case to a Chapter 7 in some circumstances, especially if there is a drop income.

Who qualifies for Shoreline Chapter 13?

To qualify for a Shoreline Chapter 13 repayment plan, you must have sufficient income to make a plan payment.  If you cannot afford to pay off a plan within five years, the plan is “unfeasible”.  If you can’t afford to pay for certain things, like cars or houses, in plan, then you may have to surrender them to make your plan feasible.  If you are behind on house payments, you have to be able to pay your current mortgage payments through the plan and get caught up within five years to make your plan feasible.  You have to be able to pay back non-discharged taxes and back child support in your plan to make it feasible.

If you have too much debt and can’t file a Chapter 7, you may have to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which is expensive and is the same chapter businesses file.  As for April 1, 2016, the most unsecured debt you can have in a Shoreline Chapter 13 is $394,725 and the most secured debt you can have is $1,184,200.

If you filed a Chapter 7 and received a discharge in the last four years, then you can’t get a discharge in a Shoreline Chapter 13.  You can still file one, but any debt you don’t pay in your repayment plan will still be owed when you finish.  That might not matter if all you want to do is pay back mortgage arrears.  You still get the protection of the “automatic stay” while you are in bankruptcy, meaning creditors can’t try to collect from you, even if  you can’t get a discharge.   If you filed a Shoreline Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the last 2 years and received a discharge, you can’t get another Shoreline Chapter 13 discharge.  Such a situation would be very rare anyway.

As with a Chapter 7, you cannot file a Shoreline Chapter 13 case until you have taken a credit counselling class.  The pricing for these classes can vary, but we can refer to you several reputable companies.  The classes last about two hours and can be taken on-line.

What happens to my car in a Shoreline bankruptcy?

Most people who file Shoreline bankruptcy can keep their car.  Shoreline bankruptcy is designed to give someone in financial trouble a fresh start and it wouldn’t be much of a fresh start if your car was taken from you.

There are basically two issues regarding whether you can keep a car in Shoreline bankruptcy:  the value of the car and whether you can afford the payments.  Most people finance cars and, by the time the loan is paid off, the car has depreciated enough so it’s protected in Shoreline bankruptcy.  Only newer paid in full cars are vulnerable to being taken to pay some debt back.  If there is a loan on the car, that cuts into the amount of equity can could be used to pay debt. a car, you have three options.  You can surrender the car and walk away from the loan all together.  You can redeem the car by paying off the loan at the value of the car or you can reaffirm the

If you file a Chapter 7 case and are making payments on loan – agree to keep making the contract payments.  Some people can borrow money while in a Shoreline bankruptcy to redeem the loan.  You should consider signing a reaffirmation agreement carefully because if you can’t make the payments in the future, you could lose your car and still owe a lot of money for the car after the Shoreline bankruptcy.  A reaffirmation agreement basically takes the loan outside the Shoreline bankruptcy.  

You could just keep making the payments without signing the reaffirmation but a creditor can repossess your car even if you are current with the payments – some car finance companies will do this, others won’t.  Not signing a reaffirmation put all the risk on the car company because they have to give you the title if you pay off the loan, but if you can’t make the payments, you can give the car back even if your Shoreline bankruptcy is over and not pay anything on the loan.

Car loans can be paid off in a Chapter 13 plan.  If you purchased the car over two and a half years or your loan was refinanced, you can “cram down” your loan in a Chapter 13.  That means that you can pay back your loan up to what the car is worth, potentially saving thousands of dollars.  Even if you have to pay off the whole car loan, a Chapter 13 plan reduces interest and lets you spread payments out to make them more affordable.

Sometimes it makes a lot of sense to get out of a bad car loan during a Shoreline bankruptcy.  You may want to figure out a plan to replace your car as you get ready to file your case.  Our Shoreline bankruptcy lawyers can offer advice on the best way to deal with your car.  Sometimes it takes a few months to prepare to file a Shoreline bankruptcy and you might have a lot of questions regarding your car.  We can be on call during the time you are preparing your case so you don’t make any mistakes during this process.

Shoreline bankruptcy attorneys fighting to protect your legal rights and financial future. 

Facing a financial crisis? Wondering if a Washington bankruptcy is right for you? 

Talk to one of our Shoreline debt relief lawyers today!