In these tough economic times, some people in Washington may find that their debt has spiraled out of control. In such situations, filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be the answer to addressing these debts and obtaining a fresh financial start. However, while bankruptcy can extinguish some debts, not all debts are dischargeable through bankruptcy.
The benefits of bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy offers some benefits. Once filed, an automatic stay will be placed on your case that stops most creditors from taking further debt collection actions against you until the stay is lifted. An automatic stay can also put a stop to eviction and foreclosure proceedings.
Credit card debt, medical debt, overdue utility bills and other types of unsecured debts may be discharged through bankruptcy, depending on the situation. Some secured debts, such as a mortgage or auto loan may also be discharged through bankruptcy, and depending on the circumstances you may even be able to keep these assets after the bankruptcy process is complete.
Not all debts are dischargeable through bankruptcy
However, bankruptcy will not discharge all debts. Liens on property, such as tax liens, will still stand until the debt is paid off. This means that if the automatic stay is lifted, and you cannot meet your mortgage payments, your lender can continue with foreclosure proceedings. Child support and spousal support arrears also cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. And, student loans generally cannot be discharged through bankruptcy unless it can be shown that paying these loans would cause you “undue hardship” — a high standard to meet.
Learn more about bankruptcy in Washington
The decision to file for bankruptcy is an important one, so it is essential that you understand the process before proceeding. This post does not contain legal advice. Those in Washington who want to learn more about bankruptcy can visit our firm’s website for further information.