If you are dealing with a massive amount of debt and little cash flow, you might be looking into bankruptcy. While it should be looked at as a last resort, some people are not able to avoid it. Once the process is done, you will no longer be hassled by creditors and will be on your way to repaying your debts and starting over. Before you file for bankruptcy, there are some things you should know about the process.
1. It Is Not Done In One Day
It is important to note that bankruptcy is not as simple as filling out a form and having all credit calls stopped. It is a complex process that very often involves lawyers and multiple trips to the courthouse. The case is not going to be like going to small claims court and having it done this time tomorrow. There are different types of bankruptcy that take different lengths of time to process, including chapter 7, chapter 11 and chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is easier and takes less time than the others.
2. The Discharge Is Only For You
One thing people often don't realize is that a discharge through bankruptcy only affects you. This is a personal discharge that keeps creditors from contacting you, though they can still contact any business partners or co-signers. If you have a home that you got with a co-signer and file for bankruptcy because you can no longer pay the loan, the co-signer will still have this debt and will deal with creditors. If the co-signer also can't pay the debt, they need to file their own bankruptcy case.
3. You Get Penalized For Falsified Information
When you fill out your forms, you must be completely truthful with how much you earn. Disclose all your financial information, not leaving out anything or embellishing the truth. If they discover you have falsified information, you could be facing major penalties. In most cases, this means paying fees and penalties and starting the forms over again, but if it was a serious lie, you could be facing an investigation by the FBI.
4. You May Need A Bankruptcy Attorney
Even if you think you can fill out the forms and get the process done yourself, it is highly recommended that you hire an attorney. Bankruptcy attorneys will work with you every step of the way, from filling out the forms to helping you with the court process. The forms get very complex and complicated, and if you make an error, you will have to start again. It can relieve a lot of stress by having a lawyer do it for you.
Also keep in mind that filing for bankruptcy is going to cost you quite a bit in fees, so compare those fees to the debt you experiencing.