Filing bankruptcy is not a decision to be made lightly, as it is likely to affect your ability to obtain a mortgage, a car loan, or a new unsecured credit card for quite some time into the future. In this day and age, your credit report will very likely be pulled when applying for a new job, an apartment lease, and car insurance.
The process of filing bankruptcy should not be an exciting process that you look forward to, but instead should be viewed as your last resort option. It may indeed be your best and perhaps only option, but it should only be considered when you have exhausted all other options after a thorough investigation into what other options are possible and available to you.
While bankruptcy may alleviate much of the financial stress you may be feeling due to your mountain of bills, which seems to get higher every day, it may not be the total answer for you. Yes, bankruptcy will stop the creditor harassment calls since after you have filed, your creditors are no longer allowed to call you or hound you, and that will almost certainly provide a certain amount of relief. Having your bills under control will also provide a great amount of relief, but to what end? You still have the long road back to getting your finances under control.
Many institutions understand the fact that the majority of people who are filing bankruptcy these days are not doing so because of their own financial mismanagement or trying to live a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget. They understand that most of the consumers who file do so due to unexpected circumstances that they have no control over, such as high medical bills, a job layoff, a messy divorce, or similar things. So they may cut you a bit of slack if you are trying to get a loan, a credit card, finance a car, or whatever when they see that you have filed for bankruptcy in recent years. But that still tells them that you are a higher risk and they will therefore set repayment plans and interest rates accordingly because you naturally now fall into a higher risk category for the funds or credit they are going to give you.
But even so, if you decide that bankruptcy is your best option, make sure you know what you are doing. With the recent sweeping changes of the bankruptcy laws, this is no longer a do-it-yourself process as it used to be in years past. In fact, you must be approved to file by the judge, and there is no guarantee that just because you want to file that you will be allowed to do so.
You also need to decide and be approved for the chapter of bankruptcy that you want to file. With Chapter 7, most debts are able to be discharged. Note the word "most", since there are some types of debts that cannot be discharged by bankruptcy. But you may only be approved to file Chapter 13 which is like a "reorganization". This means that your debts are reorganized, not wiped out or discharged, to make it affordable for you to repay them. But the key point here is that with Chapter 13, the debts are not wiped out, you still have them and need to repay them.
The best advice that can be given is to encourage you to get together with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer who understands the laws of your state and can help you understand what your options are and how the paperwork needs to be completed in what steps if you decide to move forward. Most people filing bankruptcy have found that they save themselves an order of magnitude more time, money, and assets by using a qualified attorney than what they pay out in legal fees. This is not the time for you to make yet another mistake, so consider your options carefully.
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