Whether you have maxed out all of your credit cards or you have lost your job and are finding it difficult to manage all of your bills, declaring bankruptcy may be something that has come to mind. However, filing bankruptcy is definitely not a decision that should be made on a whim. Before you decide to do it, here are three things you should know first:
1. Not All of Your Debt Can Be Erased.
One of the myths commonly associated with bankruptcy is that all debt can be completed discharged. For some individuals, this may be true. It all boils down to the type of debt that you have acquired. For example, if you only have credit card debt and you do not have a car payment or a mortgage, then you may be able to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and come out debt-free.
However, most people who need to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy have a mortgage and car payment, which are called secured loans. These individuals will typically want to try to keep those things and continue paying on them, while discharging their other debts. Aside from the debts that you do not want to add on your bankruptcy schedule, there are some debts that simply cannot be discharged at all. Some of these include income taxes, child support and student loans.
2. The Bankruptcy Will Remain on Your Report For a Decade.
When you go through with the process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is important that you understand that once it is filed it is going to be a dark shadow that follows you around for 10 years. During that decade, the bankruptcy is going to make it very hard on you to obtain any type of loan. While you may be able to find a lender to give you a chance, you will likely have to pay a high interest rate.
3. You Will Need to Attend Credit Counseling First.
Before you decide to go through with the bankruptcy filing, another thing that you need to know is that you will need to complete credit counseling first. This is not optional and you cannot get out of it. According to FindLaw, the credit counseling must not only be completed six months prior to the filing, but it must also be performed by a U.S.-approved credit counselor. This credit counseling will help you get a good grip on your personal finances so that you will be better educated on how to budget your money. After the filing, and before your debts are officially discharged, you will need to attend debtor education classes, which will help teach you even more about budget development, credit responsibility and managing money. Overall, the hope is that this counseling will keep you from needing to file bankruptcy again down the road.
If you feel that you are in over your head financially, schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss the process and learn more about what options are available to you. Or you can click here for more info.