Filing for bankruptcy is not the end of the world. In fact, it can help improve your overall situation and relieve the financial stress you are facing. Bankruptcy stops collection calls, lawsuits and wage garnishment. It wipes out most, sometimes all of your debt and can improve your credit score.
Many credit bureaus and scoring experts will disagree, not seeing the whole picture. For most people after struggling with insurmountable debt for sometime, their credit score has already greatly been affected by the time they file for bankruptcy.
Once they file for bankruptcy, their credit score typically increases. If the debt is erased, which is also known as a “discharge,” scores can increase even more- typically within a year. Accessing data from the Equifax credit bureau, researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found that filers’ credit scores plunged in the 18 months before filing for bankruptcy and rose steadily after that. The average credit score for someone who filed Chapter 7, the most common type of bankruptcy, in 2010 was 538.2 on Equifax’s 280 to 850 range. (Scores in the low 600’s and below are generally considered poor.) By the time the filers’ cases were discharged, usually within six months, their average score was 620.3.
Credit scores are not the only factor to consider when making the decision to file for bankruptcy. People who file for bankruptcy benefit from the “automatic stay,” which stops all collection activity, including lawsuits, wage garnishment and collection calls. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out a number of debts, including: credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, civil judgments (excluding fraud), past-due rent and utility bills, business debts and older tax debts.
Most of us feel we have an ethical obligation to repay our debts, if we are able to. But oftentimes, people find themselves in over their head before realizing they need to consider bankruptcy as an option. Some continue to pay down debt they may never be able to pay off, prolonging the damage to their credit score and diverting money that could be put into retirement savings.
Bankruptcy is likely your best option if your consumer debt (any of the debts listed above) total more than half your income, or if it would take five or more years to pay off that debt, with extreme fiscal measures.
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If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.