How to Move Forward After Bankruptcy

Going through a bankruptcy —– from decision to discharge— can be a long and stressful ordeal. Eventually, though, you get the breathing room you so desperately need. And after Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 comes the next chapter: putting your life and your credit back together.

How can you do that? A bankruptcy stays on your credit report forever, and you’ll never be able to get a mortgage or another credit card, right?


A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years; a Chapter 13 for 7. Maybe restoring your credit won’t be easy, and maybe it won’t be instant, but you can put your life and your credit back together after bankruptcy. We can help you figure out what strategies will work best for you. We have offices in Tigard, Salem, Albany, Grants Pass, Klamath Falls, Bend, and several other cities in Oregon. We also have offices in Vancouver and Tri-Cities in Washington. How quickly you recover from bankruptcy depends a lot on you and what you do after discharge. We can help you develop a sound approach to your fiscal recovery.

In the meantime, here’s a few tips to help you get started down the road to emotional and financial recovery.

Let it Go. Put it Behind You and Move on.

If you’ve recently gone through a bankruptcy, you might be feeling like a failure. You might feel like you are all alone or are some kind of financial outcast. Think again. According to the United States Courts, bankruptcy filings were down in 2017 but they still totaled a whopping 794,492.  You are definitely not alone. But you are the only one that you must forgive.

In order to rebuild your life and move forward, you need to be able to come to grips with the past. You need to take a look at what happened and why, so you can prevent it from happening again, if at all possible. You should look at the past, but you don’t have to live there. Think about what happened and how you can make sure things will be different from now on. Then forgive yourself, and move on. Make a plan to live a better, more responsible fiscal life, and start living that life!

Pay Your Bills on Time. Consider Getting a Secured Credit Card.

One of the best ways to get your financial life back on track is to make a plan and be diligent about paying your nondischargeable debts (taxes, child support, alimony etc.) on time. You can also consider getting a secured credit card. Unlike other credit cards, with a secured credit card, you deposit small amounts of money in your bank account and that becomes your credit line. However, not everyone qualifies for a secured credit card and they often come with high fees.

 Talk to a Lawyer!

Don’t know where to start? If you need help making a plan to rebuild your life after bankruptcy, or if you are considering filing bankruptcy, contact us. We can give you the help and guidance you need.

Answers to Three FAQs about Bankruptcy in Oregon

We have been providing bankruptcy assistance in the state of Oregon for over 40 years, and we now have offices Portland, Eugene, Medford, Grants Pass, Coos Bay, Roseburg, Salem, Bend and a handful of additional cities. If you are considering the possibility of a bankruptcy filing in the state, you are going to have questions, and we can provide you with answers if you visit us in person. In the meantime, let’s look at the answers to three frequently asked questions about bankruptcy in Oregon so you can proceed with an underpinning of basic knowledge.

What are the different types of bankruptcy that are filed by individuals?

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the forms of bankruptcy that are most commonly utilized. Chapter 11 is a type of bankruptcy that is used by businesses and a very limited percentage of individuals who have enormous levels of debt. Chapter 12 is a rarely used form of bankruptcy that is exclusively earmarked for family farmers and family fishermen.

How does a Chapter 7 differ from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

A Chapter 7 is a liquidation bankruptcy, so unsecured debts like medical bills and credit card balances are discharged. Plus, you can usually retain ownership of your car and your home if you are current on your payments. To be able to qualify for this type of bankruptcy, you have to be able to pass a means test. If your income is less than the median income in the state of your residence, you automatically qualify. It is possible to qualify even if your income does exceed the median if certain circumstances exist.

People who cannot qualify for Chapter 7 because they have too much income can file for a Chapter 13 reorganization. If you were to do this, you can keep all of your property, and your debt will be restructured. You will be required to use your disposable income to pay down the debt over a period of 3 to 5 years.

How long will a bankruptcy stay on my credit report?

It depends on the type of bankruptcy you file. Credit reporting agencies will erase a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after seven years. If you file for Chapter 7, the bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 10 years.

Set Up a Free Bankruptcy Consultation

If you will like to take action after absorbing this basic information, we will be more than glad to assist you. We provide free initial case evaluations, so you can get to know us and learn more about the benefits of bankruptcy before you make any final decisions. To set the wheels in motion, send us a message through our contact page and we will get back in touch with you promptly.

Can Bankruptcy Prevent Utility Shut-Offs?

If you are in danger of losing your gas, electric, and/or water services because you have fallen behind on your bills, can you file bankruptcy to stop the utility companies from shutting off your services? This is a good question, and we hear it quite frequently when we consult with clients in Medford, Eugene, Portland, Bend, and the other cities that we serve. Unfortunately, the answer is a less-than-definitive yes and no.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy, which means that unsecured debts can be wiped away if you qualify and you file successfully. You get an automatic stay when you file for this type of bankruptcy, which freezes creditors in their tracks while the process is underway. They can no longer try to collect on unpaid unsecured debts. Utility bills are unsecured debts and can be eliminated in a chapter 7 or 13.

Utility companies cannot cut off your services immediately after you file, but you only have 15 days to provide them with “adequate assurance” that you will be able to pay your bills going forward. This usually equates to paying them a deposit of twice your average monthly bill. If you fail to comply with this adequate assurance provision, they can indeed suspend your service. Conversely, if you do meet the requirement, shut-offs are prohibited, and this remains intact when your outstanding utility balances are discharged when the bankruptcy is finalized.

We should point out the fact that bankruptcy is not your only option if you want to take action to prevent utility companies from terminating your service due to unpaid bills. In Oregon, if a health care condition is present, a medical certificate can prevent disconnections for a limited period of time. Utility companies also offer deferred payment plans for people who are experiencing financial hardships that can prevent service terminations.

If you are concerned about a loss of utility services and other negative consequences that can come about as a result of mounting financial problems, we are here to help. We have been providing bankruptcy assistance in this area for more than three decades, and we provide each and every one of our clients with personalized attention. Our firm offers free initial case evaluations, and you can set up an appointment right now if you call us toll-free at 1-800-682-9568.