Washington Bankruptcy Law (WA)

Debtor rights under the State of Washington law for discharge and reorganization

Immediately, upon filing Washington bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the automatic stay set forth in Section 362 of the Code prohibits creditors to continue collection of debts. Actual notice of filing is not required, yet violations before actual notice are usually considered accidental by courts and penalties are not enforced. After a creditor receives actual notice however, courts adopt a stern view towards violations and deem any action for collection an intentional act in most cases. After actual notice, creditors are subjected to substantial fines and penalties and may be held in contempt of court as if violating an injunction.

Debtors who become aware of creditor misconduct should immediately notify their attorney. In a few instances, creditors may be simply unaware of the law and commit accidental violations. However, as most attorneys and judges can attest, few creditors are truly acting from such extraordinary naiveté. Commercial creditors learned long ago to cease and desist all collection efforts immediately, whether from actual notice or implied, when any individual files. All competent lawyers and lawyers quickly prosecute violations and enjoy collecting fines and penalties for their clients.