If you are like most people, you want to fill the gas tank when it gets low, pay your bills on time, and enjoy happy hour with friends and co-workers without wondering what sacrifices you’ll need to make. Unfortunately, life in Florida doesn’t always go as planned. Suddenly, bills are unpaid, late fees are accruing and everything feels like it’s out of control. You may think that filing bankruptcy is the best way to gets some breathing room. At Lewis Roberts, Attorney at Law, I often help clients decide if bankruptcy is right for their situation.
Money Crashers reports that bankruptcy can save you money, provide peace of mind, and get you back on track financially. However, it is not always the right step. Filing Chapter 7 or 13 can have a huge impact on many aspects of your life. Timing is critical to having bankruptcy work for you more than against you. Here are some questions to ask yourself when the bills are piling up, and you’re not sure if bankruptcy is right for you.
Is your situation temporary?
Life happens! Illness, unemployment and other events can drain your bank account quickly. If you are suddenly without a steady income, do you qualify for unemployment? Do you have realistic job prospects? Although you shouldn’t wait until you are completely broke before filing bankruptcy, consider waiting a few months to see if your situation improves.
Do you know where your paycheck goes?
Do you know how much of each paycheck goes toward bills such as utilities and rent? How much you spend on food and gas? If you don’t follow a budget, you may not know where all your money goes. If you don’t already do so, use a budgeting program to see how you spend your money and make better choices. Small changes can make a big difference.
Can you find the money another way?
Consider picking up a second job. It may not be on your list of favorite things to do, but it may get you the breathing room you need, even if it is temporary. Putting the paycheck from a part-time job toward bills can put a dent in your debt quickly.
Have you talked with your lenders?
Creditors generally don’t want you to file for bankruptcy. Many lenders have options that may help you stay afloat without filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Loan modification programs for Altamonte Springs mortgages and low fixed rate interest on credit cards can lower payments, giving you some wiggle room. These programs may tie your payments to your income level or change the payment schedule. In either case, you may be able to preserve your credit score and still save money.
Have you tried credit counseling?
Consumer credit counseling agencies can help you develop a realistic budget, negotiate with lenders and work out a pay-down plan. There are many shady firms out there, so check with the Department of Justice for approved agencies so that you get the help you need, not a scam.
Get Help Today
Filing for bankruptcy requires that you meet specific requirements. It also affects your day-to-day life by ensuring any disposable income goes toward debts until they are paid off, regardless of the curveballs life might throw at you in the meantime. Talking with an attorney experienced in bankruptcy and foreclosure can help you determine if bankruptcy is right for you, based on your circumstances.
Call me at 407-749-0080 or schedule an appointment to learn more about your options for handling bankruptcy, student loan debt, and other consumer credit issues. My offices are close to Uptown Altamonte and Call Center Pointe Circle.