If you have a large amount of credit card debt, you may be wondering if declaring bankruptcy is a smart way to get rid of it. Bankruptcy is a good choice in some cases, but it isn't a get out of jail free card. Think about these things before you declare bankruptcy.
Can You Make Your Monthly Payments?
If you can make your monthly payments, bankruptcy probably isn't right for you. In fact, you may not even qualify. That's because bankruptcy is for when you're financially insolvent and can't meet your obligations. If you have the income or assets to keep making your credit card payments, you probably don't meet the definition of insolvent.
Even if your payments are a burden, it's probably best to keep making them. Look for other ways to reduce your expenses or increase your income.
What's Your Credit Score?
When you declare bankruptcy, your credit score will drop about as low as it can go. It will take years for your score to go back up, and lenders will be wary of lending to someone who declared bankruptcy even after your score rebounds.
If you have a large number of missed payments and charged off accounts that have already drastically lowered your credit score, you may already be not much worse off than you would be if you declared bankruptcy. However, if you still have a good credit score, you may want to consider protecting it to keep your options open.
Can You Refinance?
Often, what makes credit card debt hard to manage is the high-interest rates. If you can lower your interest rates, you can lower your monthly payment. This will get you down to a manageable level and help you pay off your debt faster.
Look for options like debt consolidation loans or credit cards with introductory balance transfer rates.
What Will Be Wiped Out in Bankruptcy?
If you're leaning towards bankruptcy, it's important to understand what debts will be erased. Credit card debt is eligible for bankruptcy, but you may need to have carried it for a certain amount of time. That's because the law sometimes excludes recent debts from bankruptcy to keep people from running up credit card charges and then using bankruptcy to escape the bill. Don't declare bankruptcy until you're sure all of your debts can be included.
To learn more about whether bankruptcy is right for you, contact a local bankruptcy law firm today.
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