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.

What Does a Chapter 13 Filing Entail?

When you start to think about a bankruptcy filing, you should understand the fact that there are different types of bankruptcies, and you will not necessarily qualify for all of them. Chapter 12 is a type of bankruptcy that is available to some family farmers and fishing businesses. Chapter 11 is a reorganization plan that is typically utilized by businesses. The vast majority of individuals who are looking for debt relief will choose either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13.

If your income is greater than the median income in the state of your residence, you may not be able to qualify for a Chapter 7. You will be required to submit financial disclosure forms, and you will be deemed ineligible for a Chapter 7 filing if the court determines that you have enough disposable income to pay back a some portion of your debt over time.

Under these circumstances, you would be able to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy as long as the amount of your secured debt does not exceed $1,184,200, and your unsecured debt is less than $394,725. (These limits will be adjusted for inflation in April 2019.) This is a reorganization bankruptcy, so the idea is to restructure your debt with a payment plan that will typically last 5 years.

As soon as you file for Chapter 13, you will get an automatic stay. This will put a stop to all collection efforts while the process is underway. You do not have to surrender any property when you file for this type of bankruptcy. Priority debts that must be paid first include child support, spousal support, taxes and some other debt. If you are behind on secured debts, like your mortgage or your car payment, the money that you owe can be paid back over time as part of the repayment plan.

Schedule a Free Bankruptcy Consultation Right Now!

If you reside in Vancouver or the Tri-Cities area in Washington, we have an office near you, and we also have numerous offices spread throughout the great state of Oregon. We offer free initial case evaluations, and you can set up an appointment with a licensed bankruptcy attorney right now if you reach out to us toll-free at 800-682-9568.

Can I Negotiate a Debt Repayment Plan?

When you become incapable of keeping up with all of your creditors’ demands, you are naturally going to consider the possibility of a bankruptcy filing. In many cases, this is the best course of action, but you should understand all of your options so that you make the right decision.

There is a popular misconception that some people have with regard to bankruptcy. They assume that there is no debt repayment plan, because you are essentially waving the white flag as you file for a fresh start. In reality, the matter of repayment will depend upon the type of bankruptcy that is filed. If you can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your unsecured debts will usually be discharged.

Chapter 13 Reorganization

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a court-ordered repayment plan. You do not have to surrender your property when you file for this type of bankruptcy. Your debt is reorganized, and your disposable income is utilized to pay the debt over a period of 3 to 5 years. You have to pay all of your priority debts, like taxes and child support, under the reorganization plan. Secured debt like your mortgage and car payments will also be prioritized if you decide to keep those items. Depending on the extent of your disposable income and the level of debt that you have, you may be able to pay a reduced amount to satisfy unsecured debts like credit card and medical bills.

Negotiating With Creditors

It is possible to negotiate with some creditors as an alternative to bankruptcy. Your mortgage lender may work with you if you can stay current going forward and make additional monthly payments to correct the arrears. Credit card companies may be willing to make arrangements with you, but some of them are more responsive than others. We have offices in a number of cities throughout the state of Oregon, including Medford, Salem, and Portland. Utility companies in Oregon typically offer deferred debt repayment plans and payment assistance if you are experiencing a hardship.

We are here to help if you will like to set up a case evaluation, and we offer these sessions free of charge. At the consultation we can get to know you, answer your questions, and help you take the appropriate actions if you decide to proceed. To set the wheels in motion, give us a call right now at 1-800-682-9568.

How Will a Bankruptcy Filing Impact My Credit?

Clearly, a bankruptcy filing is going to have a significant impact on your credit, and the exact details will vary depending upon many different factors. When it comes to your FICO score, if your score was low prior to your bankruptcy filing, the reduction will be minimal. Some people end up with better credit scores immediately after the bankruptcy. If you had a good credit rating before your bankruptcy, the score is going to plummet significantly. While your credit score is definitely going to go down if you file, there can be a silver lining. If you do nothing, your credit score will continually cascade downward month after month. On the other hand, if you take the bull by the horns and file a bankruptcy, you can begin to rebuild your credit sooner rather than later.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy, and it will wipe out all of your unsecured credit card debt. Chapter 13 is a form of bankruptcy that is called a reorganization. You continue to pay your bills with your disposable income when you file for a Chapter 13, but the debts are restructured to be more manageable. Depending on how soon after filing a bankruptcy you need good credit, a chapter 7 and chapter 13 will have different result. The type of bankruptcy that you file for also has an impact on the length of time that it will remain on your credit report. According to, a Chapter 13 will be deleted seven years after the filing, and the duration is 10 years for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Many people think that they will not be able to get any type of credit for years after a bankruptcy filing, but this is not the case. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to get credit cards and car loans shortly after your bankruptcy is finalized. However, you will wind up paying inflated rates of interest, and there will typically be significant annual fees and high interest rates on the credit cards. If you have no bad debt after the bankruptcy you will be able to qualify for a good mortgage in as little as 2 or 3 years.

Yes, a bankruptcy is going to have an impact on your credit, but it is not as severe as many individuals are led to believe. We offer no obligation, free case evaluations to people in Medford, Coos Bay, Klamath Falls, and a number of other communities in Oregon and Washington. If you will like to set up an appointment, send us a message through our contact page and we will get back to you in short order.