3 Ways to Determine If Bankruptcy May Be the Right Path for You

Have you heard the phrase “don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it?” Maybe you heard it from your parents. Or maybe you’ve used it yourself every now and then.

Basically, the idea is that you have to attempt something before you can critique it. Maybe that means actually trying to cook a pizza before you go all in on your friend’s bizarre new pizza “stone.” For kids, it often means trying to get them to eat that vegetable or new dish before they immediately try to move onto dessert. Or maybe you’ve used to talk about experiences, like taking an odd or unusual vacation.

Bottom line? It’s important to try new experiences to see if they’re the right fit for you.

Unfortunately, people dealing with severe indebtedness often don’t have the time or means to adopt such a leisurely attitude. If you’re struggling with debt, you’re probably looking for a solution that can get you the results you need, as quickly as possible.

For many people dealing with debt, bankruptcy is often a sound solution. It’s a way to hit “refresh” on your financial situation by discharging certain debts and restructuring others, so that you can move forward on surer financial footing.

However, bankruptcy isn’t really a “one size fits all” solution. Everyone’s situation is unique, and so everyone’s approach to filing for bankruptcy must be personalized, as well. In many cases, one of the first steps in pursuing bankruptcy is doing your research, and determining if filing for bankruptcy is even the right course of action for you. Will it get you the solutions you’re seeking,  in a timeframe that works for you?

As you weigh all of your options and consider the paths available to you, it might help to ask yourself a few questions. Here are three big factors that may indicate that bankruptcy is going to be the right choice for your debt relief needs:

1.) You’re Eligible to File for Bankruptcy

As you look into bankruptcy, one of the most important questions you’ll need to address is: “Am I allowed to file? And, if so, what type of bankruptcy is going to work for me?”

There is a myth out there that bankruptcy is going to be a solution for absolutely everyone with debt. In reality, that’s simply not true. Not everyone is going to be permitted to file for bankruptcy. Broadly speaking, filers are often going to have to meet certain qualifications in order to proceed with bankruptcy. This is particularly true with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which requires a “means test” in order to determine your eligibility.

Means testing is going to look into different factors, including your household median income. But whether you’re pursuing Chapter 7 or another common form of bankruptcy, such as Chapter 13, you’re going to need to evaluate a number of financial and personal factors, including allowable expenses, the type of debt you have (i.e., secured or unsecured), and more.

It’s also going to be important to understand which type of bankruptcy will be better for getting you the results you’d like to achieve. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a way for debtors to discharge many unsecured debts in a matter of months, for instance, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates a payment plan, allowing you to restructure and eliminate debts over a matter of years. Both types have their advantages and drawbacks, but you’re going to have to find the solution that works for you and yours.

It’s a lot to consider on your own. One of the easiest ways to determine if you qualify for bankruptcy may just be to reach out to experienced bankruptcy professionals, like the team at the Gunderson Law Firm. No need to search for all the variables and hope you don’t miss any key detail — just get in touch, and we will tell you, with straightforward answers tailored to your unique personal situation.

2.) You Don’t See Any Alternative Solutions

In addition to determining if you’re eligible for bankruptcy, it’s also important to figure out if there are other solutions that could offer you the solutions you need, without the stress and complications of the bankruptcy process.

For example? In some cases, you may be able to work directly with your creditors to minimize what you owe. Others may be able to create a debt management plan, or consolidate their debts outside of bankruptcy, in order to gain some much-needed financial relief.

Beat in mind that these alternative options won’t work for everyone; in many cases, bankruptcy will indeed be the swiftest or most effective solution. Similarly, keep in mind that there are scammers out there looking to make a quick buck on the backs of consumers seeking debt management and consolidation options. It pays to be vigilant.

As part of this, it’s also important to consider whether bankruptcy is going to be the right fit for your lifestyle, and for the types of debt you have.

It’s key to remember that while many types of debt can be discharged rapidly in bankruptcy, certain debts cannot – this includes secured loans, child support obligations, student loans, and more. Remember too that bankruptcy can linger on your credit record for years, impacting your ability to buy a home or obtain credit. In some cases, individuals may need to give up nonexempt property during the bankruptcy process.

Whether you’re interested in pursuing bankruptcy as a debt relief strategy, or want to research and understand alternatives that may work, a great starting point may be to consult with an experienced attorney. A legal professional may be able to offer you answers to many of your most pressing bankruptcy questions. And remember, unlike third party debt relief “experts,” licensed attorneys are bound by a legal and ethical obligation to act in your best interests.

3.) Your Debts Are Severely Impacting Your Life

Finally, it’s important to remember that pursuing debt relief isn’t just about moving numbers around on a piece of paper. Understanding debt is about a lot more more than reading spreadsheets and cataloging assets – it’s about people. Behind every bankruptcy case is a life. A person who cannot sleep at night because of worry. A person who may have to give up their home or their most prized possessions because of a debt.

As you consider bankruptcy as a strategy, it’s also important to consider what would happen if you did not attain debt relief. There are going to be many facets to this, and the answer will be unique from person to person, but it’s key to ask: “What would happen, in the short-term and long-term, if you did not take steps to discharge or restructure your debts?”

Many people do not have any disposable income as a result of their personal debts, making it hard to function in day-to-day life. Others face financial situations so troubling that they bleed over into other aspects of their life, such as their health, mental wellbeing, and personal relationships.

It’s also important to consider any consequences that you could face due to a failure to act. Could you be subjected to a lawsuit, or a default judgment? Could you face foreclosure or repossession?

All of these are important factors to weigh as you begin to research and make a decision about bankruptcy. If your situation seems like it’s only going to get worse, with no obvious changes or improvements in the near term, it may be time to consult with a professional about your options.

Reaching Out for Help

If you’re starting to consider the ups and downs of the bankruptcy process, and whether filing may be the best course of action for you, it may help to consult with a legal professional.  

An attorney can help you get a better feel for your unique circumstances and variables, so you don’t need to waste your time poring over every detail or seeking out costly and ineffective third party remedies. An attorney can help you pursue the right course of action for your unique financial situation, while offering the force of law to help protect you from certain creditors and debt collectors.

If you’re looking to get a better understanding of bankruptcy, and if it may be a logical course of action for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Gunderson Law Firm.  

Our experienced attorneys and staff can get you actual, straightforward answers, and your first consultation with us costs you nothing.

At the Gunderson Law Firm, we protect our clients’ assets to the full extent allowed by today’s laws throughout the complex bankruptcy process, helping them get the debt relief they not only need, but genuinely deserve.

We will take all steps possible to protect you and your assets immediately and throughout the bankruptcy process, while also counseling you on realistic ways to avoid such serious debt issues in the future. Whether you are a business owner, a wage earner, retired, or otherwise, we can address your specific situation with strategic plans to help put severe indebtedness behind you so you can enjoy life again.

Ready to get the conversation started? Don’t hesitate to drop us a line today.

2019-01-28T17:44:40-05:00 February 7th, 2019|Community|