When trying to deal with a difficult financial situation, you will likely face many hard decisions. You may wonder whether you should take serious action to address your debt balances, try to deal with the issues on your own or if you should seek help to get your affairs back on track. For each person, the decisions made in regard to debt relief can have lasting impacts, and understanding potential options could make the situation seem more manageable.
One of the biggest steps that a person could take in order to address their outstanding debts is to file for bankruptcy. Of course, simply the idea of following this route makes many people uncomfortable, and you may find yourself immediately pushing this idea away. However, most of the negativity surrounding bankruptcy comes from misconceptions. Still, if you wish, you could try other methods before deciding whether bankruptcy could suit your needs.
Alternatives to bankruptcy
If at first you feel adamant about avoiding bankruptcy, you may want to explore other steps for handling your debt. Some possible methods include:
- Creditor negotiation: If you feel up to it, you may want to personally discuss your situation with your creditors. In some cases, a creditor may feel willing to negotiate on your outstanding balances in order to settle on a payment amount rather than missing out in regaining any of the funds. However, not all creditors are willing to negotiate or settle, so you may still face your full amounts.
- Credit counseling: Credit counseling is similar to negotiation except, rather than negotiating yourself, a credit counselor contacts your creditors on your behalf. This option may prove worthwhile in any case as you will need credit counseling before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy anyway.
Other options also exist for trying to handle debt, but you may wish to remember that certain services that offer consolidation, restructuring or other options may not always be as legitimate as they appear.
When bankruptcy may prove best
If your financial situation has gotten to the point where any of the following actions have occurred, you may want to consider bankruptcy more seriously:
- Wage garnishment: If money leaves your pay check and goes directly to creditors, it may prove difficult to get the garnishment to stop or even to make payments on your own.
- Lawsuit: Creditors can also file lawsuits against you in order to obtain payments. If a creditor has sued you, filing for bankruptcy may help prevent negative judgments.
- Medical emergency: If your financial affairs were already in the red and then a medical emergency took place, you may now face thousands of dollars in medical debt on top of your other balances.
If any of the above situations seems familiar, bankruptcy may help you address those and other financial issues. An automatic stay enacted after filing can stop garnishment and legal proceedings against you, and the bankruptcy process overall may help you discharge medical debt. Further exploration of this debt relief option may help you understand its possible benefits.