Richard J. Shurtz, Attorney at Law

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Buried in debt? Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you a fresh start

The recession is over and the economy is on the mend -- politicians and other government officials seem to love repeating this, but its long-lasting financial impact still seems to be largely ignored by policy makers. During this turbulent time, bread winners lost jobs, wages stagnated, and the cost of everything from a gallon of milk to necessary medical care seemed to skyrocket. We understand how the impact of that troubling time can still be felt throughout much of Washington today, and despite some individuals' best efforts, they may have reached the tipping point of their debt. Despite unfair stigma surrounding the process, Chapter 7 bankruptcy could be one of the most appropriate decisions to make in the wake of financial devastation.

Most people who are burdened by crushing medical, credit card and other debt wish for the same thing -- a fresh start. This is precisely what a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide by discharging the vast majority of a person's debt. Often, the impact can be felt immediately. Upon filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, any wage garnishments for overdue bills or foreclosures are immediately stopped as the case is reviewed. Some people may not realize that a Chapter 7 really does provide multi-faceted relief, with both short and long-term help.

Aside from the clearing of debt, most people are primarily concerned with their ability to retain ownership of their home or vehicle. This is an understandable concern that we take as seriously as our clients do. Most people are likely pleased to discover that the stop during the initial filing that halts foreclosures and repossessions often gives adequate time to establish an acceptable payment plan or other course of action so that these assets remain unaffected at the conclusion of a bankruptcy.

While a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can be a routine process, our firm acknowledges that every individual behind a filing has unique needs and concerns. Although a successful bankruptcy proceeding is usually the best thing for those buried in debt, it can still be an unsettling and confusing time for Washington residents. Our staff is dedicated to remaining by the side of our clients as they move through the process and toward a more financially successful future.

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