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Should you file for bankruptcy?

Millions of Americans are in debt. In fact, according to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of individuals ages 36 to 51 and 86 percent of individuals ages 20 to 35 are in debt. From a home mortgage and student loans to credit card and medical debt, many individuals age 50 and younger will spend the rest of their lives attempting to pay off debt.

Even in cases where an individual or couple believes they have a healthy and manageable debt-to-income ratio, an unexpected job loss or medical event can upset what is often a delicate financial balance and result in the accrual of thousands of dollars of additional debt. At times, efforts to pay off high amounts of debt may seem futile and it may be in an individual’s or couple’s best interest to file for bankruptcy. However, making this decision can be difficult and it’s always wise to consult with an attorney who can assess one’s financial situation and provide options for how to resolve debt problems.

Prior to meeting with a bankruptcy attorney, it’s a good idea to do some homework about the bankruptcy process and also write down any related questions. Common questions people have about the bankruptcy process include:

  • What debt-relief alternatives are there?
  • Do I qualify for bankruptcy and, if so, which type?
  • What debts are discharged in bankruptcy?
  • What debts are not dischargeable in bankruptcy?
  • Can I keep my home?
  • Can I keep my car or other personal property?
  • What happens to my retirement accounts?
  • How is my credit impacted?

An attorney can answer these and many other questions and concerns about bankruptcy and work to find the best and most effective debt-resolution solutions.

Source:, “Is Bankruptcy a Good Idea for You?,” April 20, 2016

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