Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is intended to help provide individuals overwhelmed by debt, a way to wipe the slate clean and have a fresh start.

The number of people in Seattle, and nationwide, filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy is on the rise. More than 1.5 million Americans filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010, making it the most common form of bankruptcy. One reason Chapter 7 is so popular is because debtors can often times clear their debt while making arrangements to keep certain personal assets, like their homes.

How do I file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Before being able to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, individuals are required by federal mandate to see a certified credit counselor. Federal law also requires a “means test” to assess the individual’s income level to see if they qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Typically, those individuals whose income is below the median state income level, based on US Census data, are eligible.

After completing credit counseling and determining eligibility, the first step is to file a petition with the bankruptcy court in the area in which you live.

Individuals living in the Seattle area, including North Seattle, University District, Shoreline, Queen Anne, Ballard, Greenlake, Ravenna and Renton, will file with the Western District of Washington United States Bankruptcy Court. The courthouse is located in downtown Seattle.

Paralegals can help you with your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

A common way to navigate the hurdles of bankruptcy court is to hire a paralegal service to ensure all of your paperwork is filed correctly.

A paralegal can help not only with the initial petition for bankruptcy, but compile and file subsequent documentation required by the courts, including:

  • Schedules of assets and liabilities
  • Schedule of income and expenditures
  • Statement of financial affairs
  • Copies of recent tax returns
  • Lists of exempt assets


Seattle paralegals are familiar with the local bankruptcy courts and can help ensure all of your assets and debts are presented to the court, thereby avoiding the possibility of bankruptcy fraud charges.

Once your paralegal has filed your initial bankruptcy petition, all collections against you and your property are automatically stopped while bankruptcy proceedings take place.

Within 40 days of filing, a meeting with your trustee and your creditors will be held to determine whether your bankruptcy will remain in Chapter 7, or be converted to Chapter 11 or Chapter 13.

It is important for you to attend all meetings and hearings with the court trustee and creditors and provide all of the information requested of you.

Individuals who are organized and provide all relevant information can typically finish their Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings within 90 days.

A successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy ends with you being “discharged” of all your debts and your get-out-of-jail free card redeemed.

Call Dawson Paralegal toll free at (888)-964-9095 or by email at

It is important to note the distinction between a paralegal and an attorney. Paralegals are able to assist in the creation of various legal documents, drafting for different processes, and act in several other vital support roles, but they are not able to provide legal advice. State law requires that all paralegals refrain from offering counsel, advice, and guidance on legal matters. Should you wish to engage someone for those services, you should contact an attorney-at-law.