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Christopher S. Mulvaney

There are many myths and misconceptions that can be harmful to people. At my law office in Bellevue I help people understand their rights, including the right to be relieved from the obligation to pay some debts under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.  I also help people see their situation from the creditors’, the Trustee’s, and the Court’s point of view which helps to avoid mistakes and surprises. 

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure are a set of federal laws that is a compromise in the attempt to balance creditors’ rights to repayment against the harm to society which would result if debtors had no protection from that right. The public policy basis for the fresh start of a bankruptcy discharge is that it is better for the individual, and for society not to allow perpetual debt on which payments are futile.  Immediately upon filing an automatic stay is created stopping collection actions against the Debtor who files for bankruptcy protection.
I advise consumers about filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge debts, and filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy to reorganize debts into payment plans before receiving a discharge at the end of the plan.

The Truth About Bankruptcy From An Experienced Attorney

Being responsible does not always mean continuing to pay creditors no matter what. There is strength required to face the fact of being unable to pay all of one’s creditors in full, and responding by filing for bankruptcy protection. There is no honor in continuing to pay creditors in a futile effort at repayment, especially if it means not meeting the basic needs of your children or yourself.

I am like a teacher who teaches the same grade in school for years. I am always at the change point in people’s lives. We only went through each grade in school once. The teacher went through that grade with students many times. My goal is to be like your favorite teacher in one of the hardest grades of your life. Like a teacher who doesn’t want you to flunk, and have to repeat a grade, I want you to never have to do bankruptcy again. I want all of my repeat clients to be estate planning clients.

Here is the link to freeze your credit for all three Bureaus

Here is how to get a free credit report

Here is how to file disputes of any inaccurate information.


I recommend freezing your credit reports with all three bureaus if you are contemplating bankruptcy.  The reason is that you should not be applying for credit or even using credit in at least the six months immediately preceding filing.  This step also makes identity theft less likely after your discharge.  You can lift the freeze to get one credit card and then refreeze.

Below are the links:

TransUnion Freeze 

Equifax Freeze

Experian Freeze


Doing so will make filing a false tax return on your behalf less likely.

The word bankruptcy comes from translated Italian words meaning broken bench.  It referred to a money dealer who ran out of money, and so his bench would be broken and he could no longer deal money.

We have progressed from “debt slavery” and “debtor’s prisons” to the modern approach of a “fresh start.”  The term was first used in a 1934 Supreme Court Case – Local Loan v. Hunt.  The fresh start has been the subject of scholarly analysis.

The Fresh Start Canon

One of the most commonly held bankruptcy myths is that you will lose all of your assets if you file for Chapter 7. In reality, there are exemptions under federal law or Washington state law that allow consumers to keep most or all of their property, and still discharge debt.

Bankruptcy discharges personal liability.  It is a permanent injunction against collection from an individual.  Liens are not affected.  A Judgment is valid for 10 years and can be renewed for another 10 years (RCW 4.56.190).

A Judgment become a statutory lien on property.  That means property can can be foreclosed upon or repossessed after a bankruptcy Discharge has been entered.

Consumers who pursue bankruptcy should work with a skilled lawyer to ensure they use exemptions as favorably as possible, avoiding pitfalls.

For more information about bankruptcy, including the Top 10 Bankruptcy Pitfalls, please consult my Blog.


You can get a free credit report after your bankruptcy discharge to see that all discharged balances are reported as zero even if your credit is frozen.

You have options for secured credit cards to rebuild credit after bankruptcy.



credit karma

If you do choose to file for bankruptcy protection under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 you are required to do Credit Counseling online for 90 minutes before filing and Financial Management online for 120 minutes after filing.  

If you think you may need to file, you can enter information into this website to assist with petition preparation. Start Your Questionnaire

What you will need:

  • Recent pay stubs from all jobs
  • Credit card statements
  • Mortgage documents
  • Loan and lease documents
  • Any papers relating to prior bankruptcies
  • Separation or divorce papers
  • Letters from lenders or collections agencies
  • Letters from attorneys
  • Lawsuits
  • Foreclosure documents
  • Repossession notices
  • Deeds to real estate
  • Inventory of your personal property, including household furnishings

Before you Begin…


These instructions will guide you step-by-step through the questionnaire and will give you tips and helpful hints for completing it successfully.


You can also watch the ‘Getting Started’ video we’ve prepared. It will help you gain a better understanding of how MyCaseInfo works and why it’s an important part of the bankruptcy process.