The decision to declare bankruptcy can be a stressful one. People feel that filing for debt relief carries a negative stigma, but nothing could be further from the truth in these times.
In the shadow of COVID, as many lost jobs, had to close their business, saw hours cut, or even had to take sick time off – financial worries are more universal than ever. Personal bankruptcy was designed for times like this when an individual who is trying their best simply needs assistance.
If you are wondering if personal bankruptcy is right for you, we’ve compiled a short guide to help you to assess your situation.
Should I File Bankruptcy?
- Monthly Bills: If you can no longer pay your monthly bills, it may be time to get out from under them. If you find yourself unable to keep up with rent or mortgage payments, credit card bills, car payments, utility payments, or even essentials such as food and clothing, bankruptcy could be your best option.Whether from a decrease in hours and salary, the loss of a job, or the need to take a lower-paying job, the stress of monthly bills – which never go away – can be overwhelming.
During this time, some bill payments have been suspended but may be reinstated at any time.
- Minimum Payments: If you see the light at the end of the financial tunnel, it may be ok to make only minimum payments on your credit accounts for a short while. However, if you can only afford to make minimum payments month after month, you will want to consider a different strategy, such as bankruptcy.Experts know that you can pay for decades on credit accounts without making a dent, and high-interest rates will compound the problem. Bankruptcy can provide relief.
- Legal Action: If you are being sued, there may be no way for you to satisfy creditors without filing bankruptcy to protect yourself through the courts. Speak to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your own legal options and how bankruptcy may get you out of hot water.
- Garnished Wages: Once a debt gets to a certain point, some entities will begin to garnish your wages – putting you in an even deeper financial mess. Back alimony or child support are two common reasons for wages to be garnished, although a judgment against you in court for a personal loan or credit bill can also trigger this action.If your wages are being garnished, bankruptcy may be an answer to your problem.
- Property Liens: If there is a lien on your real property, you’ll want to take steps to protect it, especially if it is the home that you and your family inhabit. If this is your situation, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible, to stop the harassment and keep you safe from eviction.
The best way to decide about how suitable personal bankruptcy is for your situation is to speak with someone who knows – and understands.
Richard V. Ellis is a Sarasota bankruptcy attorney who has been serving the community for decades. Call today for a consultation to understand your options, how bankruptcy works, how it will affect your life over the short and long term, and how to get started. You’ll be glad you did.