Bankruptcy Filing in the Time of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) & Social Distancing

Posted by Laura L. DonaldsonMay 12, 2020

So you have made the decision to file a bankruptcy. Can you still file bankruptcy while social distancing orders are in place?

Yes, and we can help! Utilizing electronic case filing, our office and the Courts have the ability to remain operational and allow new bankruptcies to be filed. Although the bankruptcy courts in Portland, Eugene and Vancouver have changed their in-person receipt and hearing practices due to social distancing, they are still providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is a shortened version of a typical bankruptcy cycle to assist you in understanding what to expect before and after a bankruptcy case is filed while under social distancing orders.

1. Consultations - We are conducting all consultations by phone until social distancing orders are lifted. Our office will provide you with an intake sheet to complete which provides us with a snapshot of your small business or personal financial situation. We then offer a no-obligation consultation to discuss your options moving forward.

2. Credit Counseling/Financial Management Classes - To enter bankruptcy, the code requires that you take a pre-filing credit counseling class (1 hour) and a post-filing financial management class (2 hours). We will provide you with the links to these courses which you can take either online or by phone.

3. Documents and Signing - After making the decision to file, our office works diligently with you to gather all documents necessary to prepare your petition, schedules and related documents. We provide them to you via email or regular mail then set a consultation with you to review their accuracy. After obtaining your signatures, your case is filed with the Court.

4. Court notices - Once your case is filed, a Court notice is generated to your debt collectors (creditors) so that they will receive notice of your bankruptcy filing. Except in limited circumstances, 11 U.S.C. §362 (the automatic stay of the bankruptcy code) provides that your creditors can no longer contact you once your case is filed, which provides immediate relief from collection.

5. 341a hearings - You are required to attend one hearing in your case known as a 341a hearing approximately 30 days after your case is filed. The hearing is conducted by telephone until social distancing orders are lifted. We appear with you via phone. We are with you every step of the way.

6. Discharge - This Order is generated by the Court approximately 60 days after your 341a hearing takes place. It is mailed to you and all of your creditors. This Order prohibits your debt collectors from taking any form of collection action against you on the debts included in your bankruptcy, including legal action and communications such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.

We are here to help. Call our office or utilize the Contact Us form to reach out with any questions you may have about your financial situation.