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What’s Life Like After Bankruptcy?

If you are reading this, chances are you have received your Chapter 7 discharge, or you recently finished paying your Chapter 13 plan. If this is the case, congratulations! You now have an opportunity to move forward with a fresh start.

While bankruptcy gives you financial relief, you may have some questions about your life following the bankruptcy. Our Oregon bankruptcy attorney has answers for you and is ready to help you navigate your financial life post-bankruptcy.

What Steps Should I Take After Bankruptcy Discharge?

In most cases, a discharge marks the end of your bankruptcy case. As soon as you receive your discharge, you should act with speed and secure all your bankruptcy documents, including the petition and schedules, any filed amendments, certificates of debtor education courses, and your discharge letter. You will need this information if a creditor pops back up in the future and was included in the discharge. You may also need the information if you’re trying to apply for credit in the future.

You should also get a copy of your credit report and check if everything is accurately captured and discharged debts are reading as zero. You should then move to create a new budget based on your current income and expenses.

In the long term, plan how you will rebuild your credit and plan how to deal with any remaining debt that was not relieved through bankruptcy.

Will My Discharged Debt Appear On My Credit Report?

Discharged debts should be marked as “discharged.” “Charged off” does not often mean wiped out. Creditors are required to report the account balance to read as $0.00. If this is not the case on your credit report, you need to dispute that debt.

You can access your credit report here visit www.annualcreditreport.com. You can get one free report from the three credit reporting agencies each year.

How Do I Correct Errors On My Credit Report?

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires creditors and debt collectors to avail accurate information to credit reporting agencies. If you notice a discharged debt is still showing incorrect information on your credit report, you should immediately contact your Oregon bankruptcy lawyer.

Luckily, there are ways to dispute these errors with the FTC or filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can also use your bankruptcy lawyer in Eugene, OR, to sue the reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) and receive damages plus any legal costs incurred.

How Long Will It Stay On My Credit History?

Your Chatter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years from the date of filing. For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it will fall off 7 years from the filing date.

Will Creditors Still Harass Me?

You may still get calls from creditors even after being discharged. If this happens, you only have to give them the case number, and the calling should stop. The law prohibits such harassment, and if a person still calls you and they knew about the case, they could be in serious trouble.

How Do I Rebuild My Credit After Bankruptcy?

Take these steps:

Regularly Check Your Credit Reports

Errors in your credit report could significantly affect your credit. Fix any mistakes by disputing them.

Avoid Being Late on Payments

This is perhaps the best advice if you want to improve your credit score. Late payments is the number one reason most people don’t see an improvement to their credit after bankruptcy.

Pay All Non Dischargeable Debts

There are bills you still have to pay. They include priority tax, student loans, alimony, child support, secured debts, and monthly bills.

When Can I File Again?

If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’d have to wait for 8 years before filing again. It is shorter if it was a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but this will largely depend on whether or not the case was successful. However, most people don’t often use bankruptcy as a tool for financial relief. It is the last resort for many.

How Do I Rebuild My Finances?

Lenders will want to know if you are financially responsible by looking at how you pay your current obligations after bankruptcy. Here’s how you can do it.

Create a Budget

The pre-discharge counseling sessions offer education on budgeting. But you can also get budgeting information from other credit counseling agencies.

Build an Emergency Fund

Having savings as little as $300 can cushion you from unexpected expenses, which often turn to high-cost loans and a new debt spiral.

Develop Good Credit Practices

Pay your debts on time. And keep your credit card balances low viz a viz card limits (30% is good but 10% is even better). Some people are hesitant to acquire a large investment again, such as a car or house after losing it in bankruptcy. Once ready to invest again, talk to your lawyer to help you find the right mortgage lender, realtor, etc., for you.

Advice from a Legal Counsel

Time heals. During this time, develop good spending habits. You can always use your lawyer to access their reputable network of resources concerning your financial needs.

If you have any further questions, schedule a free consultation with our experienced bankruptcy attorney serving Eugene, Springfield, Junction City, Cottage Grove, and Lane County. Call the Butcher Law Office today at (541) 762-1967.

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Tom Butcher, Attorney At Law

Tom Butcher, Attorney At Law

Tom Butcher is the owner and attorney at Butcher Law Office, LLC. He represents clients in financial distress in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Tom offers a friendly, respectful, and compassionate experience for clients who are in financial and legal distress. Rather than taking a mechanical approach to filing bankruptcy for clients, like other bankruptcy firms, Tom strives to offer a personal, one-on-one experience, where the client’s situation is of utmost importance. Tom believes this personal attention keeps him connected to the community, and serves his clients best during their bankruptcy.
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