Oregon Bankruptcy Procedures

How Bankruptcy Affects Your Assets

Oregon bankruptcy cases will generally protect the personal and real property of an individual, a family or a small business, with the Oregon statutory exemptions. These are Oregon laws that have been created to protect personal and real property from creditors, up to a certain maximum value or a maximum amount of equity. You can generally keep your vehicle and home and still file for bankruptcy relief. There is a maximum amount of equity or value allowed for all personal and real property. If you exceed these value or equity ceilings, the item you own may not be protected from a bankruptcy trustee. This is a good reason to discuss your case with a bankruptcy lawyer before you decide to file. The amount of your debt, income and assets will generally determine which bankruptcy chapter you file.

Automatic Stay

You will usually receive creditor protection (an automatic stay) once the case has been filed in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. A Chapter 7 case generally takes 90 days until the order of discharge (meaning debts that can be discharged are legally gone forever) is received. The 90 days start once the case has been filed. A Chapter 13 case is more complicated and technical. Please consult with a bankruptcy lawyer before filing for Chapter 13 relief on your own. A Chapter 13 case will generally last between 36 and 60 months. In a Chapter 13 case, you must make a monthly payment to a case trustee and turn over some or all of your tax refunds for the entire 36- to 60-month timeline.

An Oregon bankruptcy case can help with many situations, including stopping or delaying a house foreclosure, stopping bank garnishments, stopping paycheck garnishments, stopping a tax levy, stopping circuit court lawsuits, protecting your assets from creditors, and protecting you from harassing phone calls, letters and lawsuits. Some families may be able to strip a second mortgage lien or other subsequent mortgage lien off of their residence. This would require a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing and successful discharge of the case. To strip a second or subsequent mortgage from real estate, the home value must be less than the payoff on the first mortgage. Oregon bankruptcy allows you to make choices on your secured debts (autos and house payments, for example). You can choose to keep the item and keep making the payments (reaffirm). You can choose to voluntarily surrender or have a repossession or foreclosure of the item, and let it go back to the creditor or mortgage lender (surrender). This choice protects you from having a creditor sue you for any deficiency on the value of the item it took back, including a second mortgage or HELOC. You can also choose to buy the item back based on its current value, not necessarily the amount due on the item's contract (redeem). This can be a good choice on some autos and jewelry.

Federal Requirements To File For Bankruptcy Relief In Oregon

A small business, a family or an individual must live in or be established in Oregon at least 91 days continuously and intend to remain in Oregon. State jurisdiction for bankruptcy cases is generally a six-month period of residency. If a person has not lived in Oregon consistently for two-years before a bankruptcy case is filed, then his or her property will be protected by federal exemption laws or the laws of a state he or she previously lived in. If you have not lived in Oregon for two years before seeking to file for bankruptcy relief, you may want to discuss this matter with an Oregon bankruptcy lawyer. Bankruptcy is a federal area of law, but there are differences in what property is protected for individuals, families or businesses, depending on which state's exemptions are used or if the federal exemptions are used. An Oregon bankruptcy case will be filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon in either Portland or Eugene. The Portland Bankruptcy Court is at 1001 SW. 5th Ave., No. 700, Portland, OR 97204, phone 503-326-1500. The Eugene Bankruptcy Court is at 405 East 8th Ave., No. 2600, Eugene, OR 97401, phone 541-431-4000.

Get A Fresh Start

An Oregon bankruptcy filing may help you move forward from your financial past and receive a fresh start with no (or fewer) outstanding debts. I understand that this is a difficult decision to make. Please contact me today if you have questions about filing for bankruptcy in Oregon or if you would like a free consultation.