The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process

The process of obtaining a discharge in Chapter 7 starts with our initial interview. At that time we will review what will happen and how it will affect you. You will need to provide certain information. I will give you a list of documents to get together and a questionnaire to fill out.

From this raw data, I will prepare the actual documents that will be filed with the Court. We will review these together and once you have signed off on them the case can be filed.

Prior to filing you will need to complete a credit counseling course. This is most easily done online. However it can also be done by phone and there are a few providers in the area where it can be done in person. The list of approved providers can be found here.

Once the case is actually filed the Automatic Stay goes into effect. This is a freeze which prohibits creditors from taking any action to collect from you. Creditors which are discharged will be under this freeze indefinitely. Creditors who survive the discharge, such as the IRS, home mortgages, traffic tickets, are only frozen while the bankruptcy is pending.

After the case is filed you will need to take a Debtor Education Course. Again it is easily done online. Most approved providers do both courses.

About four to five weeks after the case is filed we will have to attend a court hearing. The location for this hearing depends on where you live. King County cases are held at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Seattle. You will need to have picture ID and proof of your social security number with you. The hearing takes place before the Trustee who is responsible for your case. The Trustee will ask you some routine questions required by the court. The Trustee may also ask specific questions about your financial situation.

After the hearing there is a 60 day waiting period. In theory it is the time your creditors would have to object to your filing or the discharge of their claim. In most consumer cases this period is a formality as the creditors have no grounds on which to object.

At the end of the 60 days your Bankruptcy Discharge is processed by the Court and mailed out to you. This completes the process and you are free to begin your fresh start.

I provide free consultations to potential clients who are considering bankruptcy to help them decide whether bankruptcy is the best option for them, and if so which type will work best for their personal situation and goals. Just call me at (425) 255-5535 to set up an appointment or ask any questions. We are conveniently located near the intersection of I-405 and state route 167 in Renton, about two miles east of Southcenter Mall.

This is a small office, so you will sometimes reach our voicemail. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

In order to help our clients who are trying to minimize travel and contacts during the COVID-19 outbreak, we are temporarily offering initial consultations by telephone as well as in-person. Because the telephone consultation can run up to an hour or more, you will still need to make an appointment in advance. Please contact us for details.

We also ask that all of our clients reschedule any in-person appointments if you have any symptoms or believe you may have been exposed to the coronavirus.


I am a debt relief agency under the terms of the Bankruptcy Code. I help people file for bankruptcy relief under that Code.

© 2012, 2021 Joy Lee Barnhart. Design by Bob Landwehr using templates from Free Website Templates and Bootstrap.