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VanDLaw, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 833
Experience:  Chapter 7 & 13
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My Wife And I Have Approx. $30,000 In Debt Between Us. She

Customer Question

My Wife And I Have Approx. $30,000 In Debt Between Us. She Now Makes $50,000 + Which Is Only Recent. Would It be Better To Go Totally bankrupt And Discharge Everything, Or Since Our Income Is High Go Thru credit Counseling And Make Payment Arrangements. Either Way, We Would Like To Be Able To Qualify For A Mortgage Within A Year. Whats The best Route to Take?? (we Both Have Our Certificates Needed Before You Can File)
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  VanDLaw replied 8 years ago.



Your income and your Wife's income is combined to determine if meet the "means test" and file a Chapter 7, which is straight liquidation. Even if only one of you files bankruptcy they take both incomes of a married couple, and the number of people in your household to come up with a maximum income level. A Chapter 13 is a repayment plan, which you must have a steady income and you make payments over a five year period. Also, you need to consider what is you have as far as assets because you have to include everything in the filing. There are allowed exemptions which enables you to keep certain things up to a specified amount, but all debt and all assets must be reported. You can take individual bankruptcy but only those debts solely in the debtors name will be discharged, anything joint would become the responsibility of the co-owner. The only way to get rid of that debt would be to file bankruptcy jointly.


It is possible to file a Chapter 13 and buy a house while in the bankruptcy but you must seek approval by the Trustee, and your interest rates and term will be higher and more stringent.


In a Chapter 7, you are discharged in 4-6 months, and you can find lenders who will work with you, but again you will find your interest rates higher than someone who didn't file bankruptcy.


The Credit counseling route is acceptable, as long as you find a reputable firm, and you understand all the terms of the agreement. They are not in this for fun, they are going to make money off your payments, and sometimes people find themselves paying almost as much in monthly payments before they "consolidated". Also, credit counseling is reported on your credit report, and is viewed almost as negatively as filing bankruptcy. In bankruptcy, your score actually goes up to about 720 in about a year because all the "bad debt" is not being reported any longer. In debt consolidation they do not remove your negative credit. Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for ten years.