Robert Dintaman, Esq.
Are your bills piling up? Are debt collectors relentlessly calling you casing added stress in your life? Bankruptcy protection could be solution to relief of the added stress of debt collectors and mounting, particularly around this time of year. Bankruptcy is a federal court process that can help consumers eliminate overwhelming debts or establish a plan to repay them. Depending on your income and circumstances and assets bankruptcy laws may give you a way to erase many financial obligations and start afresh move forward with your life.
Can bankruptcy help me? Bankruptcy is a personal decision and you should assess your own personal financial history to determine if it is the right decision for you, and seeking advise regarding the application of the bankruptcy code to your situation is an important factor in your decision making about filing bankruptcy. Most people file bankruptcy because of crushing debt, often caused by financial hardship such as unemployment, lack of adequate insurance, catastrophic medical expenses, marital problems, overextended credit or, more rarely, out-of-control spending, and seeking bankruptcy protection can alleviate the stress associated with mounting debt.
Bankruptcy laws were passed in order to give people a fresh start, routinely classified as a chapter 7; or, to give debt-burdened consumers an organized, systematic way of paying back creditors, often classified as a chapter 13. If you're over your head in debt and you can't see being able to repay all the money you owe, you might be interested in filing bankruptcy. Or, if you can pay back creditors but need to get out from under wage garnishments or repossession threats, you may want to consider bankruptcy.
Before making a decision to declare bankruptcy, face your current financial situation and assess the damage.
Review your credit history. The three largest credit reporting companies are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Once per year, you are entitled to a free credit report from each company through AnnualCreditReport.com, a service run by the three agencies with oversight by the Federal Trade Commission. Order your free reports:
- online (AnnualCreditReport.com website)
- by phone (877-322-8228)
- by mail (Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105283, Atlanta, GA 30348-5283) You must first download an order form from the website.
Assess budget. Find out your current household budget, by looking at it on paper, to see if you expenses outpace your income; and whether or not you are unable to meet your daily household expenses.
Do Not Burry Your Head in the Sand. If you determine you cannot meet your daily obligations, do not ignore your debts and the debt collectors. Ignoring the problem can lead to more problematic situations, e.g. attachments on bank accounts, wages, etc., that could otherwise be avoided if bankruptcy protection was sought earlier in the process.
If you have questions about the bankruptcy process, or need help assessing your debt situation currently, please contact us.
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