Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a popular choice for people who are struggling financially and looking for a way to get a fresh start. Filing is one of the best tools available for resolving serious financial strife. Despite its benefits, Chapter 7 is not the appropriate choice for everyone. Bankruptcy has both immediate and long-term consequences, so it is important you understand all aspects of filing and what it means for your financial future before you move forward.
What Should You Consider Before You File for Bankruptcy?
Timing is an important factor when it comes to filing for bankruptcy. You have the option of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy every eight years, but it is important to only do so if absolutely necessary. If you have exhausted all of your other financial options and you believe bankruptcy is right for you, filing can be beneficial. It is just important that you not view bankruptcy as a financial loophole or a way to shirk your financial obligations.
Once you are sure you want to file for bankruptcy in general, you can determine if Chapter 7 specifically is right for you. If you have no non-exempt property or your income is too great, Chapter 7 might not be your best option.
If you believe Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you, you will want to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to maximize the benefits of filing and take advantage of the protections available to you. There are many things to consider related to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, so you will want professional guidance through the process. A few things you should consider include:
• Create a detailed property and asset inventory. This ensures the court protects the appropriate items under bankruptcy laws. Any forgotten items can be seized, even if they would normally be considered protected.
• Accept that your credit rating may suffer it is good however, if it is already low, Bankruptcy gives you a place from which to begin repairing it. The bankruptcy itself remains visible on your credit report for seven to 10 years.
• Do your best to avoid taking on more debt while in bankruptcy. It is possible to accumulate more debt even as you file, but you are better off avoiding it as much as possible. You can also run into problems if the court believes you intentionally ran up debt just prior to filing for bankruptcy in hopes it would be erased once you file.
• Keep in mind it is possible for a bankruptcy case to be dismissed. If you are caught making false claims, hiding facts, failing to provide information, or misrepresenting yourself in anyway, your case can be dismissed. Unfortunately, the information you must provide is very detailed and even with the best intentions you can make a mistake that costs you the opportunity to file.
If you would like assistance preparing your bankruptcy claim or you have questions about bankruptcy, we are ready to assist you. Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 for more information.