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Tacoma Bankruptcy Lawyer

Our Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers will fight for you, your family, and your financial future.

If you're reading this page, you are likely facing financial troubles and are wondering if there's a way to put an end to your debt and hit the financial reset button. You are not alone. Anyone can fall behind on bills and get caught up in a downward spiral of debt until their situation becomes hopeless. Money problems can cause a great deal of stress and turmoil in your life, and affect everyone in your family.

Adding to the problem, debt collectors will harass you with phone calls and threats until you reach your breaking point. These collection companies are often sold debt from credit card companies, and they have no problem employing deceitful tactics in an attempt to get money from you that you simply don't have.

Our Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys are here to tell you that you don't have to live this way. Bankruptcy laws in the US were created to help people like you get out from the crushing pressure of uncontrollable debt. Few people are aware of these laws and hardly anyone understands their legal rights as a debtor, which empowers these debt collectors to be even more aggressive.

The negative opinions associated with filing for bankruptcy in the Washington is unwarranted. To become an active participant in our nation's economy, you need to be free from debt. This is why the government created bankruptcy in the first place - to give hard working people a chance to start over.

Filing for bankruptcy is like hitting a financial reset button. If you have questions about Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, our Pierce County bankruptcy lawyers can help.

Now is the perfect time to consider a fresh financial start.

Filing for bankruptcy doesn't mean you're a failure, and it may be your best chance for a fresh start
  • When you file for bankruptcy, all collections are stopped
  • Bankruptcy isn't right for everyone, but it costs you nothing to find out
  • All or most of your unsecured debt can be discharged when you file for bankruptcy
  • Your Tacoma bankruptcy attorney will explain the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and help you determine whether you qualify for either
  • Don't allow debt rule your life - let our Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers help you take the first step

Tacoma is a mid-size urban port city named after the original name of nearby Mount Rainer. Located on Puget Sound, Tacoma is the third largest city in the great State of Washington. Tacoma's deep water harbor and geographical position at the western terminus of the Northern Pacific Railroad, makes it a transportation hub with a rich history. The City of Tacoma was “incorporated” on November 12, 1875, and is estimated to have more than 207,000 residents.

Tacoma is located in Pierce County and has been named one of the most livable areas in the country. It boasts the first modern electric light rail and a high density of history and art museums. Pierce County is also home to many other suburbs and cities. Our Washington State bankruptcy attorneys serve clients throughout the region, including the cities of Seattle, Kent, Renton, Bellevue, Federal Way, Shoreline, Burien, and Des Moines, just to name a few.

To learn more about the City of Tacoma, we recommend visiting the city homepage. This site contains a useful and helpful information about Tacoma, including how the local government functions. If you live in Pierce County, your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will be filed at the United State District Court for the Western District of Washington , which is in the heart of downtown Seattle. The U.S District Courthouse is where your meeting of creditors will be held.

If you are planning on visiting Tacoma, many resources online can help you learn about all of the activities, events, and other things to do while visiting Tacoma and Pierce County. Many of the best city of Tacoma attractions can be found on the “ Travel Tacoma” website. While much of Tacoma continues to thrive, many people who live there are struggling financially, an perhaps you are one of them. Our Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers have the resources and the experience to help you determine if bankruptcy protection is possible for you. Contact our law office in Tacoma and find out. If you qualify for bankruptcy, we will help guide you through the process so that you can get a fresh start financially.

Our Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers answer some frequently asked questions

Most of our new clients have a lot of questions about the bankruptcy process. Many of these questions are similar, so we created this list of frequently asked questions to help you better understand what to expect if you choose to file for bankruptcy.

How much does bankruptcy cost in Washington State?
This is a difficult question to answer without getting a more in depth look at your personal finances. You may encounter other Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers offering outrageously cheap prices, but this is just a way to get people to call their law office. We've been told that these prices only cover a “really simply bankruptcy petition,” and that the actual price they pay is much higher. Our attorneys charge low flat fees based on the amount of work it will take to complete each case. You will know the cost up front, and there won't be any hidden charges.

How long does bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
10 years.

Will my credit score drop all the way to zero?
This is a very common question, but there is no way to know what your credit score will be. However, many people's scores increase after filing for bankruptcy.

Can I pay friends and family back?
Yes, but you should wait one year.

Can I get rid of a student loan that isn't federal?
No. All student loans are treated equally.

Can I maintain possession of my car and/or home?
Almost everyone that files for bankruptcy does. You must keep current on payments, and if you refinance your home mortgage you should go to a different bank. Be sure to obtain a payment history from your current lender.

How long does bankruptcy take?
Chapter 7 takes 3 to 4 months. Chapter 13 takes 3 to 5 years.

If I file Chapter 13, what will end up paying?
This is calculated on a case-by-case basis. We take your average yearly gross income and subtract what is allowed after administering a means test. This “magic number” is how much you're required to pay unsecured creditors. Then we figure how much you owe on secured debt, like car payments, the IRS, and your mortgage including arrears and penalties. Lastly, we add other secured debt you want to keep, trustee fees and leftover attorney's fees. If this number is less than your total debt divided by the length of your debt consolidation plan, then your plan is at 100%.

Will I be able to keep a credit card after I file for bankruptcy?
If you have a credit card without a balance, then you may be able to keep it. This is ultimately up to the financial institution that issued you the card.

I owe money to family and/or friends, but I don't want to list them. Is this okay?
You are required to list all debt, even loans from friends and family.

When can I start to rebuild my credit?
Once your remaining debt is discharged, your credit score will start to improve.

How can I find out if I qualify for bankruptcy protection?

One of our debt relief lawyers in Tacoma can review your financial situation and find out whether bankruptcy is right for you. Countless people all over the state of Washington reap the benefits of bankruptcy protection every year, and wonder why they didn't pursue filing sooner.

Oftentimes it's because they've been misled, or have a false impression of bankruptcy and what it entails. Their misconceptions may lead to money blunders that can have a devastating effect on their finances.

As an example, consider how a creditor may convince someone in debt that it's in their best interests to pay down a delinquent credit card debt by cashing out their retirement. This happens all the time because the debtor is unaware that they can retain 100% of their retirement AND discharge all of their credit card debt by simply filing for bankruptcy.

Our Pierce County bankruptcy attorneys offer this simple piece of advice: Never trust a debt collector's advice when it comes to your finances. Debt collection agencies have one priority, which is getting money from you. The last thing they want is for you to talk a Tacoma bankruptcy lawyer about your options and find out the truth.

Reviewing common myths and misconceptions about filing for bankruptcy in Washington

Bankruptcy is a financial tool that you can use to build a better future. There are rare instances where people abuse the system, but the vast majority of our clients are hard working people who fell behind on bills through no fault of their own. There are plenty of myths surrounding bankruptcy, so our Tacoma bankruptcy attorneys compiled the following list, so that they can be fully debunked...

Myth 1: Filing for bankruptcy means you failed. There is a lot of unwanted negativity surrounding bankruptcy, and the myth of failure is just one of many perpetuated by debt collectors. They use this misinformation when pressuring debtors into making payments that they can't afford. The truth is that failure has nothing to do with having an accident, getting laid off from work, or getting caught up in a nationwide economic downturn. Some things that happen in life are beyond a person's control, and they sometimes lead to financial difficulties.

Bankruptcy is a powerful tool that lets you regain control over your finances, and it has nothing to do with failure.

For many people, one missed payment can quickly turn into many. A point is eventually reached where they realizes that getting ahead is impossible, so they explore bankruptcy as an option. That might be why you're here right now. Most people at the end of their rope would have been better off filing for bankruptcy at an earlier date, but this myth of failure prevented them from taking the first step.

Myth 2: You will lose everything if you file for bankruptcy. This myth is also perpetuated by debt collectors who will say just about anything to get money from debtors. TV and movies also portray bankruptcy as though movers pull up and clean out the house before it goes up for auction. All of this is false. In fact, in the overwhelming majority of bankruptcy cases filed in Pierce County Court, the debtor keeps their Tacoma home, their car, their possessions, 100% of their retirement and up to $125,000 of home equity. And the majority of their debt is discharged.

Every case presents unique obstacles, and our Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers will review your situation carefully before offering guidance. Still, you can hang this one out to dry because the myth that bankruptcy will cause you to get cleaned out is ridiculous.

Myth 3: Filing for bankruptcy in Tacoma will cure every one of your financial woes. There is no doubt that bankruptcy is a powerful tool for ending the cycle of debt, but that doesn't make it a cure-all for every financial problem you have. To begin with, you need to make a commitment to maintain a future free from more debt problems before you file. If you follow through, your credit score will quickly climb.

Additionally, filing your bankruptcy in the Western Washington Division of the United States District Court will not eliminate student loan debt or certain fines. You need to weigh this information before deciding on the path you would like to take.

Myth 4: Bankruptcy ruins your credit. It's true that bankruptcy will affect your credit, but only in the short-term. If you're diligent in maintaining healthy finances after your bankruptcy is done, you will likely have no problem opening new lines of credit.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for ten years, and Chapter 13 for seven, but if you prove you can managing your finances effectively, this is not as bad as some other alternatives.

Settling debts that were sold to debt collection agencies can impact your credit score far more than a bankruptcy. Debt collectors will say that settling a debt for a reduced amount is in your best interests, but the opposite is usually true. Settled debt puts a blemish on your credit report, so if you have multiple accounts that are delinquent, you could end up with a credit history that looks far worse than it should. Remember: Never trust a debt collection agency to give you accurate financial information.

Myth 5: If you plan on filing for bankruptcy, max out all of your credit cards. This myth is dangerous and it can lead to catastrophic repercussions. Doing this can cause your bankruptcy to be denied by the court, and could even lead to criminal prosecution for bankruptcy fraud. If you're serious about bankruptcy, speak to one of our Tacoma lawyers, get the facts, and take steps to achieve debt relief without doing anything that can lead to prosecution.

Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tacoma

You can file for Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tacoma, and each has its own advantages that depend on your current financial situation. Chapter 7 is cheaper, easier, and faster, but Chapter 13 offers a way to seek debt relief when your income is too high to file for Chapter 7. There may be other reasons you choose one over the other.

Our Tacoma Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers will explain how this process works

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all debt collection stops immediately. Even wage garnishments, vehicle repossessions, and home foreclosures stop. A trustee will be appointed, and they are authorized to sell property to pay back creditors on a fair and equal basis. Still, it's rare for people who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy to actually lose any property to the trustee.

Bankruptcy laws were written to help people get a fresh start in a dignified way, which wouldn't be possible if they were forced to give up most of their possessions. For this reason, retirement plans, child support, and public benefits including unemployment compensation are 100% exempt from seizure during a Washington bankruptcy.

Federal and state exemptions for home equity, household items, and vehicles are what allow you to keep your assets. Federal and state exemptions offer you flexibility when deciding what possessions and assets are most important to you. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in Tacoma will help you determine how best to use these exemptions.

All of your unsecured debt, including credit card, pay day loans, and medical bills, are almost always entirely wiped out when you file for Chapter 7. If you earn more than the median Washington State household income, you may have to go through a means test to determine if you're responsible to pay any of your unsecured debt. Our Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers can usually ascertain whether this will be an issue ahead of time.

Your Tacoma Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will help you consolidate your debt

If your earnings end up being too high to file for Chapter 7, Chapter 13 may offer a way for you to enjoy significant debt relief. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debts are consolidated into monthly payments, and the term lasts from three to five years.

Petitioning the court for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy also stops all debt collection. Some people call it the "home saver plan" because mortgage arrears and penalties can be incorporated into your payment plan so that you can catch up on payment. This allows you to maintain your status as a homeowner. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a powerful tool that can also stop home foreclosure in the state of Washington.

In many Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, most or all of your unsecured debt is discharged after you're done with your consolidated payment plan. But even if 100% of your debt must be repaid, you still benefit from an orderly plan that gets you out of debt and allows you to keep your home.

The many benefits of the automatic stay

Arguably the most embarrassing and stressful aspects of dealing with bill problems is being constantly harassed by debt collection agencies. These are the businesses that do the dirty work for creditors, who often buy the debt for pennies on the dollar and then try to make money at the expense of people who are barely getting by.

These companies are merciless and have no regard for anyone struggles. They will threaten you, play good cop/bad cop, and may even attempt to contact your employer unless you tell them not to. Because most people are unaware of their legal rights in regards to bankruptcy, the harassment often makes them do things that they know won't help them in the long run.

Don't let debt collectors do this to you. Take advantage of the automatic stay and fight back against these ruthless tactics. When you file for bankruptcy the automatic stay makes it illegal for any creditor to contact you, which is why they hate hearing our name.

Debt collectors hate us because they are well aware of our reputation.

Contact a Pierce County bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation

Don't live in fear of the phone ringing, because you're worried about debt. Don't keep looking at a hopeless financial future every day for the rest of your life. Instead, contact a member of our team of Tacoma bankruptcy lawyers today and put an end to the vicious cycle of uncontrollable debt.

Our flat rate fees are affordable, and we even offer payment plans under certain circumstances. We can help you get back on your feet financially and enjoy not having to worry about money problems.

Your initial consultation is free.

Client Reviews
Erin Lane is the best attorney I have met by far! I came to her during a very difficult time in my life. I was needing to file a bankruptcy. She was very kind, non-intimidating, and well-understood. She actually came across like a good friend. To this day I still remember and appreciate her (no-stressing approach) I deem Erin qualified for any position having to do with her knowledge in these types of legal matters! Keith D Wilson