The Steps


Things to Avoid
Paperwork to Gather
Meet with Attorney
Pre- and Post-Counseling Required
If you file

Things to Avoid

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, there are several things you absolutely should NOT do before you consult with an attorney:

  • Pay back friends and family
  • Borrow money
  • Continue to use credit cards

These activities can cause problems for you if you do decide you need to file for bankruptcy. It’s important that you seek legal advice before making those types of decisions.

Paperwork to Gather

The documents listed below are useful to gather together. Remember you do not need to gather all of these to meet with me. We would, though, need to know your creditors and how much they are owed, along with an information on your income to figure out what is possible when dealing with the creditors.

Regarding Income:

  • Paycheck stubs for you and your spouse, if married, for the past seven months
  • A copy of your federal and state tax returns for the last two years
  • Documents showing commission or bonuses over the last seven months
  • Papers showing unemployment benefits over the last seven months
  • Papers showing alimony or child support (paid or received) over the last seven months
  • Papers showing retirement or pension benefits received in past seven months
  • Documents showing lease or rental income over last seven months
  • List of money received by you from anyone else to help cover living expenses

Regarding Debt:

  • All bills, demand letters and collection notices for the past 90 days
  • All lawsuits or garnishment papers received in last twelve months
  • A copy of your credit report, which can be obtained for free at
  • Current mortgage statement(s) showing balance and any existing arrearages

Regarding Vehicles:

  • Retail installment contracts for any vehicle you owe money on

Meet with Attorney

Because everyone’s circumstances vary, it’s important that you review your options so that you can make the best decision for your situation.

Pre- and Post-Counseling Required

The bankruptcy court requires that everyone filing complete consumer credit education counseling, both before filing and after the meeting with the trustee. Oregon counselors approved by Trustees Office.

If you file

Before filing, you must complete the pre-filing credit counseling described above.

After filing, you will be assigned a date to meet with the trustee. Initial Chapter 7 hearings are held at the old federal courthouse at 620 SW Main St., Room 223. Initial Chapter 13 hearings are now held at the KOIN Center, 222 SW Columbia, Suite 1700. The bankruptcy court is located at the Congress Center, 1001 SW 5th Avenue, 7th floor. Notice will be sent to your creditors, who have the option to attend this meeting.

After you file your bankruptcy you will need to complete a consumer education course which takes 2 hours to complete and which is designed to provide information about consumer financial issues.  This can be done on the internet and does not have to be done in one sitting.

In Chapter 7 cases, two months after this trustee meeting, your debts are discharged. In Chapter 13 cases, you will receive a discharge after making the final payment agreed upon with the trustee.