Over the years, many people considered bankruptcy a very bad thing. A few years ago, if you declared bankruptcy, you would be considered a dead beat. Today, that is no longer the case. For sure, this economic depression will make many Americans casualties of their finances. Even long time celebrity and actor Steven Baldwin (Movie Star of the Usual Suspect and brother of Alec Baldwin—actor of “30 Rock”) declared bankruptcy this year. With recent job losses and the tuff economy, many consumers will be faced with a tuff decision on whether to file bankruptcy. It would be wise to move forward with filing bankruptcy, than holding on to hope. If your circumstances are not going to improve, then bankruptcy may be right for you as it may provide a fresh start. Below are six reasons you should declare bankruptcy.
1. You cannot pay your bills because your income is far less that what it used to be– If you are struggling to pay your bills, then the writing is on the wall. You are a candidate for Bankruptcy. Usually people who file bankruptcy have been late on payments for well over 30 days. Their financial situation does not get better, it gets worse and the only way to start over is to eliminate the debt. Most Bankruptcy filing will allow you to eliminate the debt.
2. You are being sued and you will not be able to satisfy the judgment— If you are being foreclosed on and the bank decides to obtain a deficiency judgment, you probably will have to declare bankruptcy. A deficiency judgment allows the lender to recover the difference between what it will sell the property at a foreclosure auction (usually less than your loan amount) and what you owe on it. Therefore, the lender may want to go after you for the short fall. Once the lender obtains a judgment, the lender can go after your assets, wages, and your tax return. It may take you years to pay the lender back if the judgment is successfully entered. As such, you are probably better off filing for bankruptcy than paying the lender back. You can start over from no debt.
3. You are either divorced or facing a divorce and are financially struggling– It’s obvious that a divorce can be financially stressful. Aside from having to split everything and spread your incomes over two households, there’s also lawyer and court costs. Many divorce cases involve some form of child support payments and/or alimony. For those who are already financially struggling, this may be too much to handle. If the divorce is not yet finalized, it would be wise to consider filing bankruptcy jointly, especially if most of the debts are held jointly. If not, you can still be held liable for debts if your spouse is the only one filing. Also, it can make the divorce process easier in avoiding the pains of figuring out how debts will be allocated in the divorce settlement agreement. So, if you’re still legally married and thinking about bankruptcy and divorce, you may want to consult a bankruptcy attorney before finalizing the divorce.
If you’re already divorced and are struggling, bankruptcy may help you as well. Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you can receive a complete discharge of your debts. Under a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, it puts you into a payment plan which gives you between 3 and 5 years to catch up on your debts. Chapter 13 is beneficial for those with a reliable income source and/or property they would like to retain. However, there are some debts such as child support which cannot be discharged. You should contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney to learn more about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 and discuss your options.
4. You need a fresh start— If you have messed up on your finances because of a loss of job or a poor investment, the only way to start over may be to declare bankruptcy. At times, we take on very bad investments. The only way out of certain bad investments may be a bankruptcy filing. Most people who purchased in the last 3 years an investment property can relate to that. They have watched their housing portfolio shrink to nothing. The rent cannot pay the mortgage and the investment will never pay off. As such, bankruptcy may be the only way to obtain a fresh start.
6. You have thousands of dollars in medical bills and can’t afford to pay them— Because of the high cost of medical care in the United States and the number of people living without health insurance, this situation is, unfortunately, quite common. Many Americans find themselves facing a medical emergency and are forced to seek treatment despite their lack of coverage, leaving them buried in tens, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills which they have no way to repay. For many people in this situation, filing bankruptcy is often the only option available to them to rid themselves of this overwhelming debt. If you are in this situation, you should contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation.
Ms. Powell is a licensed attorney in the State of Florida. Ms. Powell area of practice includes Bankruptcy, Loan Modification and Foreclosure Defense. Ms. Powell is a graduate from Nova Southeastern University and served as an Articles Editor for Nova Law Review. Ms. Powell can be reached at 561-929-7229 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her office is located at 200 S. Andrews Avenue, Suite 212, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33301. Her web page is www.stopforeclosurenowinflorida.com