If you are receiving calls from collection agencies, it is time to review your options. You may want to evaluate the opportunities available to you before you’ve fallen behind on payments. Bankruptcy, for example, is ideal for many consumers and small business owners who are facing debt that they simply cannot bear.
Filing for bankruptcy has a number of advantages especially if you:
- Have had your bank accounts frozen or your wages garnished after a judgment.
- Have the majority of your debt in unsecured loans such as credit card bills and medical bills.
- Have debt collectors calling your home or work.
- Are facing potential lawsuits because of debts you have acquired.
First, it is important to assess your finances. Write down your expenses, your debts, and how much you earn. Take note of what caused your financial issues so that you can avoid similar situations in the future.
Next, you should pull your credit report. This can help you get an accurate list of all creditors to whom you are indebted. You may find that there are errors in your report or that some creditors think you owe money that you do not. Additionally, your report can be used when filling out bankruptcy forms. You must include all of your creditors or run the risk of still having debt after declaring bankruptcy.
Then, you will have to inform creditors and debt collectors that you intent to file for bankruptcy. All debt collection attempts must stop once your petition has been filed in court. Provide the name of the bankruptcy attorney handling your case and have your attorney tell them what district you are filing in.
It is also advisable to obtain a certificate of successful completion of credit counseling with a government-certified counseling agency right away. You can receive counseling as early as six months before you file. If you do not complete your counseling, it could cause delays and problems. Additionally, the lessons you learn can also help you handle your finances in the future.
Last, but certainly not least, get an attorney. Bankruptcy laws are complex and they often change. No one should attempt to file without the guidance of an experienced Orange County bankruptcy attorney. A skilled lawyer can help ensure that you are treated fairly during the filing process and that your best interests are protected.