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FAQs: For General Public

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  • What are my options to obtain copies of case documents, including certified copies? What are my options to review a case that was sent to the National Archives?
  • Is there any place I can get free or low cost legal advice before I file?

    Here are a few possibilities to consider:

    1. The Oregon State Bar has a Lawyer Referral program which will direct you to an attorney who has agreed to provide limited consultation at reduced rates. The Oregon State Bar Lawyer Referral Program can be contacted by calling 503-684-3763 in the Portland metropolitan area or 1-800-452-7636 if calling from other areas.

    2. Multnomah, Yamhill, Washington, Clackamas & Columbia Counties - If you are low income and live in Multnomah, Yamhill, Washington, Clackamas or Columbia Counties, you can call the legal aid office for your county and, if you meet the income and asset guidelines, they will schedule you for an appointment to meet with a volunteer lawyer immediately after you attend one of the Bankruptcy Clinic classes described below.

    In Multnomah or Yamhill County: Call Multnomah County Legal Aid Service at (503) 224-4086.

    In Washington, Clackamas or Columbia County: Call Oregon Legal Services (Hillsboro office) at (503)-648-7163.

    3. The Debtor-Creditor Section of the Oregon State Bar in cooperation with Legal Aid has a Bankruptcy Clinic. Anyone who is thinking about filing a consumer chapter 7 can come to the class but only those low income people who have separately made an appointment through the Legal aid office will receive individual help from their volunteer attorney after the class. For further information on the Bankruptcy Clinic, click here.

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  • My ex-spouse has filed bankruptcy. He/she has listed me as a co-signer on a scheduled debt. What should I do? Does my divorce decree protect me?

    If your ex-spouse has filed a chapter 7 and if you are a co-signer with your ex-spouse on a debt, the creditor can normally require the entire payment of that debt from you even though the divorce decree assigns the debt to your ex-spouse. The provisions of the divorce decree are not binding upon creditors. Depending on the terms of your divorce decree, however, non-support debts ordered to be paid by the ex-spouse under the decree may not be discharged.

    If your ex-spouse has filed a chapter 12 or 13, the "automatic" stay extends to any individual co-debtor that is liable on consumer debts with the debtor [11 USC §§1201 & 1301]. In order to pursue collection from a co-debtor, the creditor must file and prevail on a Motion For Relief From Co- Debtor Stay using LBF #s 1220 and 1220.5 for chapter 12) or LBF #720.80 (for chapter 13 see also LBF #720 (Notice of Motion) and LBF #720.50 (General Relief From Stay Procedure). In addition, a chapter 12 or 13 debtor may be able to discharge non-support marital debt ordered in a divorce decree, even if it is not dischargeable in chapter 7.

    As this is a very complicated area of law, you should seek legal advice from an experienced bankruptcy attorney for a thorough explanation of your rights and obligations in this area as soon as you find out that your ex-spouse has filed a bankruptcy.

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  • I am getting mail from the court and don’t know why or who this person/company is. What do I do with these documents/notices?

    Debtors are supposed to list everyone they owe money to at the time of filing. If they are unsure whether or not money is still owed, many times the debtor will list them anyway as a precautionary measure. If you are sure that you do not know the person/company who is the debtor you are certainly free to recycle the documents/notices as you see fit. You may also send the court a copy of the notice, and date and sign a request that you be removed from the mailing list in that case.

    If you are trying to find out why you were listed by the debtor, you should call the debtor’s attorney. No one at the court will be able to help you with that information.

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  • Who do I notify about a possible fraudulent filing?

    The Office of the United States Trustee reviews complaints about possible fraudulent filings and, if appropriate, notifies the U.S. Attorney for further investigation. For more information contact:

    For cases filed in Portland:
    Office of the US Trustee
    620 SW Main #213
    Portland OR 97205
    Phone: (503) 326-4000

    For cases filed in Eugene:
    Office of the US Trustee
    405 E 8th Ave #1100
    Eugene OR 97401-2706
    Phone: (541) 465-6331

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  • How do I get a hearing date?

    Each judge maintains an individual hearings calendar. The procedure for obtaining a hearing date depends upon the nature of the hearing.

    1. The §341(a) hearing ("meeting of creditors") is automatically scheduled by the Court shortly after the filing of the bankruptcy petition. The date and time of such hearing is contained in the notice sent by the Court to the debtor and to all creditors. The date and time of a confirmation hearing in a Chapter 13 case is likewise contained in that notice.

    2. To schedule a hearing resisting a motion for relief from stay in a Chapter 7 or 13 case, or to schedule a hearing resisting a motion for relief from co-debtor stay in a Chapter 13 case, review the requirements set forth in LBF #720 (Notice of Motion).

    3. To schedule a hearing regarding a motion to extend or impose the automatic stay, to object to a debtor's attempt to obtain an extension of the automatic stay to cure a pre-petition residential rental deficiency, or to object to a landlord's attempt to obtain a termination of the automatic stay to continue with eviction proceedings, review the requirements of LBF #721.3 (Procedures Re Motions/Objections To Extend/Impose 11 USC §362 Automatic Stay Pursuant To §362(c),§362(l),§362(m) or §362(n)).

    4. To obtain hearing dates for any other purpose (including hearings on relief from stay motions in Chapter 11 or 12 cases and relief from co-debtor stay motions in Chapter 12 cases), contact the calendar clerk for the judge assigned to the case.

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  • Where do I get a copy of the Local Rules for the Bankruptcy Court (also known as LBRs or Local Bankruptcy Rules)?

    Copies of the Local Bankruptcy Rules for the District of Oregon can be downloaded from this website in PDF Format, or obtained from the Clerk’s office.

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  • How can I learn more about bankruptcy?

    Bankruptcy Basics provides basic information to debtors, creditors, court personnel, the media, and the general public on different aspects of the federal bankruptcy laws. It also provides individuals who may be considering bankruptcy with a basic explanation of the different chapters under which a bankruptcy case may be filed and answers some of the most commonly asked questions about the bankruptcy process.

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