Tag Archives: Local Portland bankruptcy lawyer

Is Bankruptcy the Best Option for Me (or My Family)?

At the risk of sounding too much like a lawyer, the answer is … it depends. There is no doubt that filing for bankruptcy can be a lifeboat in a stormy sea – it wipes the slate clean, stops the collection calls and letters, and provides a fresh start. Almost all consumer debts, such as credit card debts and medical bills, are dischargeable via bankruptcy. Also, the vast majority of people get to keep all of their property, including their house and car. However, whether to file for bankruptcy, when to file, and how to file are all extremely important considerations. The particular financial circumstances, future expectations, and personal preferences of each individual need to be carefully assessed. Also, it depends on what type of debts you have. If most of your debt is non-dischargeable (most tax debts, student loans, child or spousal support, etc.), then Chapter 7 bankruptcy at least, may not be the best option. But Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be a good solution. Ultimately, of course, the decision whether to file for bankruptcy must be made by the individual or couple, not by friends, family, or a lawyer.

With that said, it is highly recommended that those contemplating bankruptcy consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney prior to making this crucial decision. The bankruptcy laws themselves can be quite complex, are poorly drafted, and have been interpreted differently depending on the jurisdiction. The required forms (petition, schedules, etc.) are numerous and require accurate, detailed, and current information.  A good (and ethically responsible) lawyer will never try to “push” his or her potential client to file for bankruptcy. Instead, the attorney should thoroughly evaluate the overall financial circumstances of the client and explain the bankruptcy process, including the pros and the cons. Only in this way can people considering bankruptcy make the best decision for themselves and their family. Of course, there are scenarios in which, even if you have fallen behind on your bills and accumulated significant debt, bankruptcy may not be the best option. However, if you can answer yes to some or many of the following questions then bankruptcy may indeed be a good option for you.

Are you significantly behind on your credit card payments or other payments? Has your credit card company or another creditor/debt collector sent you a default notice, or threatened to sue you? Has a creditor assigned your debt for collection? Are you being sued by a debt collector or its attorney? Do you have judgments against you for unpaid debts? Are your wages being garnished or threatened with garnishment? Have you recently lost a job, suffered an illness or a disability, and had debts pile up? Are you stressed out about your debts and concerned about your ability to pay them? Have you incurred significant medical bills that you are afraid you will not be able to pay? Has the stress of your debts caused arguments or turmoil in your personal life? Are debt collectors calling you, sending you letters, or harassing you? Do you need to free up money that you are paying to your creditors so you can afford your basic living expenses like mortgage/rent, food, and support for your family?

Even if some of the above scenarios apply to you, it does not mean that bankruptcy is the only choice, but it is probably a good idea to at least consult with a bankruptcy lawyer to help you assess your situation further. Click here for more info about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or here for more information about Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Or, better yet, If you live in Portland, Gresham, Multnomah County, or the Portland Metro area, and you think that bankruptcy may be a good option for you, contact me at (503) 847-4329 for a FREE phone consultation.

Study says 1/3 of Americans have at least one debt in collections and the average Oregonian is $60,752 in debt- the 9th highest average in the nation

More than one-third of Americans (35%) have a debt in collections, according to a study recently released by the Urban Institute. That means just about every third person you pass by on the street is dealing with a collection company in regard to a delinquent debt.

Just about one out of every three Oregonians is also dealing with a debt collector. The same study found that 30.5% of Oregonians have a debt in collections, with the amount averaging $5,456. The national average amount of a debt in collections is $5,178. The national average debt is $53,850. The average Oregonian is $60,752 in debt, the ninth highest in the nation. Only 20% of Americans with credit records have no debt at all.

Debt in collections often originates from nonpayment of a bill, including failing to make payments on an outstanding credit card balance, not paying medical or utility bills, or even not paying a parking ticket. After a debt is more than 180 days past due, it is typically placed in collections by the original creditor or sold to a third-party debt buyer. What the report reveals beyond the numbers is the daily financial distress millions of Americans are living under, as well as the degree of that distress.

The collections industry recovers approximately $50 billion annually, mostly from consumers, according to a study published this year by a Federal Reserve branch research group. Thus while everyday Americans may be struggling, the collections industry is booming and cashing in on the situation. Debt collectors are regulated by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), among other state specific statutes, such as Oregon’s Unlawful Debt Collection Practices Act (UDCPA). The vast majority of the debts being collected by debt collectors can be discharged in bankruptcy. Although filing a bankruptcy here in may not be the best option for everyone, at least consulting with a local bankruptcy lawyer in your area is probably a very good idea so that you can base your decision on the facts.  Also, if you feel that your rights may have been violated under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), you should also consult with a local consumer rights lawyer in your area.