Bankruptcy Law Questions? Ask a Bankruptcy Lawyer.
Hello, and thank you for contacting Just Answer. My name isXXXXX am a bankruptcy law professional, and I look forward to answering your questions this morning.
My pleasure. Unfortunately, the situation you find yourself in is an all too common one, and I am sorry that you are having to struggle so much just to try and stay above water.
let me know if you need additional information.
My first reaction after reading the information you provide is to make sure that you do not qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Although online calculators, tools, and forums can be useful tools in assessing our options, non of them are a replacement for sitting down with a bankruptcy attorney and determining with certainty whether or not you qualify. Although based on the information provided it does look like passing the means test is unlikely for you, it would not hurt to sit down with a bankruptcy attorney in person to make sure you are not missing anything.
what are your thoughts on Chapter 13 -- and that the repayment plans might be as harmful
That is a good question, and as in all things, it depends on what you are comparing it too (give me a moment, it is going to take a minute or two to type out the rest of my response).
In comparison to just doing nothing, I generally believe, and most of the individuals who I have encountered who have gone through the process would agree, that with multiple creditors already garnishing wages, and with debts that you are slowly falling farther and farther behind on (meaning even with payments the principle is growing because payments are not enough to overcome interest), chapter 13 is still probably the best option. There is no question that any type of bankruptcy is bad for your credit (if that is what you mean by "harmful") but in all honesty, given the situation you describe, the last thing someone needs in such a situation is good credit so they can incur more debt. The focus should be on eliminating the debt they already have.
The real advantage of a chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it provides certainty in payments and prevents creditors from continuing to take legal action or add astronomical interest to the principle of the debt. In other words the process stops an otherwise vicious cycle of ongoing interest adding to the principle, which then leads to more interest and penalties and fees, etc, etc.
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Did you have any further questions? I want to make sure that you have received a full answer before we are done.