Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

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(253) 815-6940

Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy questions answered here. This page contains a lot of detailed bankruptcy option information. Please read all of the information and give us a call for your free consultation so that we can help you put a game plan together to help solve your financial situation. Over the past 32 years, our office has helped hundreds of Washington client file for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 protection in order to get their lives organized and Get a Fresh Start!

Read our client reviews to see why we are your Best Choice!


We help people stop garnishments and save their houses all over the Puget Sound area. Federal Way, Tacoma, Puyallup, Fife, Lake Tapps, Auburn, Black Diamond, Kent, Des Moines, Sea-Tac, and Seattle.

Attorney Consult and Case Preparation by Zoom

It’s easy to meet with me.

Now you can be anywhere and get the best lawyer for your case. *For Washington, we handle Estate Planning, Probate and Bankruptcy cases. For Oregon, Idaho and Arizona we only handle Estate Planning matters.*

You will be able to video live stream the conference with your smart phone, Ipad or desktop computer. Fast and easy for you.

We send you a link that you click to join the conference. No special hardware required. During the meeting I will answer your Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy questions.

Video and voice available on my end.  You can choose to also join by video OR you can simply join by voice.  It’s your decision.

(253) 815-6940
(24 hours a day – 7 Days a Week) Call Anytime!

Or use our easy form submission.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code

The first step in taking control of your finances is to delegate to the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC as your agent and representative to take your creditor calls, stop creditor harassment, stop creditors from taking your pay, salary, bonuses, cash and bank accounts. You need to use your best judgement to stop a creditor’s judgment and protect your funds. We can counsel you through the process.

As your lawyer, we can acquire a refund of funds that were garnished within the last 90 days if that amount exceeds a total of $600 or more. We will cancel current and pending lawsuits. We will help you defend your federally protected financial rights and assets. Save your pay check. Give us a call or fill out the easy email link and set up your free initial consultation to find out what options are available to you.

Source: US Courts

May an employer terminate a debtor’s employment solely because the person was a debtor or failed to pay a discharged debt?

Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy questions answered.

The answer is No.

The law provides express prohibitions against discriminatory treatment of debtors by both governmental units and private employers. A governmental unit or private employer may not discriminate against a person solely because the person was a debtor, was insolvent before or during the case, or has not paid a debt that was discharged in the case. The law prohibits the following forms of governmental discrimination: terminating an employee; discriminating with respect to hiring; or denying, revoking, suspending, or declining to renew a license, franchise, or similar privilege. A private employer may not discriminate with respect to employment if the discrimination is based solely upon the bankruptcy filing.

In order to file bankruptcy, certain requirements must be met. It is important that you provide complete accurate information to our firm and to the Bankruptcy Court. A fundamental goal of the federal bankruptcy laws enacted by Congress is to give debtors a financial “fresh start” from burdensome debts. The Supreme Court made this point about the purpose of the bankruptcy law in a 1934 decision:

It gives to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.

Local Loan Co. v. Hunt, 292 U.S. 234, 244 (1934). This goal is accomplished through the bankruptcy discharge, which releases debtors from personal liability from specific debts and prohibits creditors from ever taking any action against the debtor to collect those debts

You must disclose all sources of all income for the previous 6 months prior to filing bankruptcy. Your income information is used to prepare and complete a form which is commonly known as the Means Test.

1. In Washington, income for the Means Test is as follows and was revised April 1, 2014

1 Person Family $53,772
2 Person Family $64,338
3 Person Family $73,345
4 Person Family $86,215
* Add $8,100 for each person over 4

2. You must disclose all of your assets, the liquidation value of your assets and any transfers you have previously made.

3. You must have your tax return for the previous 4 years filed.

4. You must pay for and complete a credit counseling course pursuant to 11 USC 111 from an agency that has been approved in advanced by the Western District of Washington Bankruptcy Court. If a husband and wife are filing a joint bankruptcy petition, both parties have to obtain their own certificate in their own name although they can attend the same counseling session. Tell the counsel at the beginning of the session that both parties need a certificate in their own name. The typical fee is between $25.00.  If you cannot afford the fee, you can try to obtain a fee waiver in advance. However, for obvious reasons, the fee is rarely waived by the credit counseling agency. We have provided you with a print out of approved agencies for you to choose from. Approved Agencies are added and deleted on a regular basis; therefore, you are advised to view the most current approved list from the following bankruptcy court website: – approved agency list

** Remember: the Agency must be approved by the Western District of Washington: Do NOT USE the agencies approved by the Eastern District of Washington.

Tell the credit agency up front that you need the certificate in order to file bankruptcy and that will expedite the counseling process.

What is the “credit counseling” class? Can It Be Done Online?

Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy questions answered here.

Yes. The Credit Counseling class can be done online, over the telephone or in person. The class provider issues a Certificate of Counseling that must be filed in order to file your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case.

The credit counseling course must be completed prior to filing bankruptcy. Upon completion of the credit counseling class (either online or on the phone) which takes between 30 minutes to an hour and your numbered completion certificate will be emailed to you. You must provide the certificate of completion to our firm so that we can file it at the same time as we file your initial bankruptcy filing.

The Certificate is Only Good for 6 Months. Therefore, you must file your bankruptcy within 6 months of obtaining the certificate or you will have to retake the counseling and pay for and obtain a new counseling certificate.

5. You Must attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors. We will represent you at this meeting. However, You Must Provide a Copy of your Social Security Card at the time of your 341 Meeting. You need to locate your Social Security Card now. If you cannot find it, you need to go to the social security office in your area to order a replacement.

6. You must also complete a Personal Financial Management Instruction Course (Debtor Education Course) pursuant to 11 USC 111 sometime after you file your bankruptcy but complete it before you discharge in bankruptcy can be granted. You cannot complete both the Credit Counseling course and the Debtor Education Course at the same time.

The Certificate of Completion of the Debtor Education Course has to be filed with the Bankruptcy Court before you bankruptcy can be closed. Please refer to the handout we have provided you entitled “Before You File Personal Bankruptcy.”

If husband and wife filed a joint bankruptcy petition, both parties have to obtain a certificate in their own name.

The Debtor Education Class usually takes longer than the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling class and costs between $50 and $100. Once again, you can only take the Debtor Education Course from an agency that is approved by the Western District of Washington Bankruptcy Court.

The list of approved Debtor Education Course Providers can be found at – Debtor Education Course Providers

We have printed out and provided you a list. However, once again Approved Agencies are added and deleted on a regular basis; therefore, you are advised to view the most current approved list from the website above.

** Remember: the Agency must be approved by the Western District of Washington: Do NOT USE the agencies approved by the Eastern District of Washington.

7. Court Filing Fees:

Our Firm Charges attorney fees for work performed in bankruptcy filings. Attorney fees are addressed in the Law Firm Contract. In addition to the attorney fees, the Bankruptcy Court Charges the following fees for various matters as follows:

Filing Fees

Amendment to Miscellaneous Fee Schedule: The Judicial Conference of the United States modified the Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule to change the bifurcation fee for cases under all chapters so that it is equal to the original filing fee.

Debtors including corporate debtors, must pay filing fees by money order or cashiers check. Personal checks are not accepted from debtors. Attorneys may pay by check or credit card.
  • Voluntary Chapter 7 – 338.00
  • Involuntary Chapter 7 – 335.00
  • Chapter 11 (reorganization, liquidation or involuntary) – 1039.00
  • Chapter 13 (debt adjustment) – 313.00
  • Adversary Proceeding
    Unless filed by debtor in chapter 7 or 13 – 310.00
  • Removals – 250.00
  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 11 – 755.00 due with order
  • Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 – 15.00
  • Chapter 12 to Chapter 7 – 60.00
  • Chapter 12 to Chapter 1 – 800.00 due with order
  • Chapter 12 to Chapter 13 – 35.00
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 – 25.00
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 11- 765.00 due with order
  • Reopening fee for Chapter 7 – 338.00
  • Reopening fee for Chapter 11 – 1000.00
  • Reopening fee for Chapter 12 – 200.00
  • Reopening fee for Chapter 13 – 313.00
  • Reopening fee for Chapter 15 – 1000.00
  • If file in Federal Records Center archive retrieval fee will apply 45.00


Abstract of Judgment – 9.00

Amendments (to add or delete creditors to D, E & F schedules) to change the amount of a debt or the classification of a debt and amendments to the matrices or to the mailing list of creditors.

No amendment fee on Chapter 13 – 26.00
No fee is required when the nature of the amendment is to change the address of a creditor or an attorney for a creditor listed on the schedules or to add the name and address of an attorney for a listed creditor.

Motions (relief from stay, compel abandonment, withdraw reference)
150.00 Exemption for co-debtor stay & stipulated motions & comfort orders pursuant to Interim LBR 4001-1(a)

NSF/returned check service charge – 45.00

Out-of-District Attorney (Pro Hac Vice) – 150.00 (make check payable to U.S. District Court)

Out-of-District Subpoena – 39.00

Printing from Public Access Terminals – 0.10 per page

Photocopies – 0.50 per page

Search of Records per file – 26.00 (For cases filed before 05/17/2001 ONLY)

What can the debtor do if a creditor attempts to collect a discharged debt after the case is concluded?

Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy questions answered here.

The answer is No.

If a creditor attempts collection efforts on a discharged debt, the debtor can file a motion with the court, reporting the action and asking that the case be reopened to address the matter. The bankruptcy court will often do so to ensure that the discharge is not violated. The discharge constitutes a permanent statutory injunction prohibiting creditors from taking any action, including the filing of a lawsuit, designed to collect a discharged debt. A creditor can be sanctioned by the court for violating the discharge injunction. The normal sanction for violating the discharge injunction is civil contempt, which is often punishable by a fine.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC to schedule your free consultation.

(253) 815-6940 Call Anytime!

Law Offices of Christopher A.  Benson, PLLC

1814 S. 324th Pl. Suite B

Federal Way, WA 98003

Evening and Weekend Appointments Available. Our website contains additional information to answer your Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy questions. Please look around and watch our videos.

Bankruptcy Attorney doing business in Federal Way, Tacoma, Auburn, Kent, Fife, Des Moines, Seattle, Lake Tapps, Puyallup, Bonney Lake + more!

For those clients with financial problems – We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Christopher A. Benson, Esq.

(253) 815-6940