When you find yourself in serious financial trouble, you often aren't sure where to turn. If you are deeply in debt and unable to meet your obligations, one of your options is to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Just hearing that term often frightens people, conjuring up visions of fingers being pointed and accusations of "deadbeat" being thrown about. The truth is, though, that many people, rich and poor, find themselves in dire financial straits at one time or another. The key is to take a deep breath, then do what's best for you.
Should You File?
Obviously, the first thing that you want to decide is whether or not filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be the right thing to do. This type of filing does not erase your debts; it simply allows a payment plan to be formulated for you over a certain number of years. Once the procedure goes through and is approved, your creditors must abide by this payment plan too.
It allows you to keep most of your assets, and in some cases, some of your debts may be erased, although most won't. Before you file, you might want to make sure that you've researched other possibilities as well, such as a debt consolidation loan, or working with a consumer credit organization.
Hiring a Lawyer
If you've decided that filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is definitely what you want to do, the next thing that you want to decide is whether or not to hire a lawyer to help you through the process. In many cases, it's a good idea. Most of us are not familiar with the legalities of insolvency, and taking a crash course in it and then trying to do it all yourself could possibly backfire on you. Though a lawyer will charge to represent you, you will be more likely to get the best possible outcome. That being said, it's not required to be represented by a lawyer in order to file.
Holding up Your End
Once your payment schedule has been set, you want to do everything that you can to hold up your end of the deal. Though filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy has negative credit connotations, it does help if future potential creditors see that you lived up to your financial responsibility and resolved all debts as per your payment schedule.
You can live through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and even ensure a better financial future for yourself. Consider the option carefully, and if you decide to go ahead, then make sure that you feel confident about every step of the process.
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