Getting into debt is easy. There are many ways that it can happen, ranging from things that are out of your control like medical emergencies and job losses to simply buying more than you can afford to pay for. No matter how it happened, getting out is a lot harder. Though bankruptcy is one of the most popular options available to those with bills that they simply can’t afford to pay, it is not always the best answer. Here are some of the other debt-relief options that you can try before filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

  • Don’t do anything at all – This may not feel like an option, but it’s important to remember that there is not much that debt collectors can actually do to you if you don’t have any way of paying back your debts. If you don’t have any major possessions (like a house or a car) that can be repossessed by your creditors, then they don’t have very much recourse against you. People don’t actually go to jail for not paying their bills, and if the debt collectors are driving you crazy with threatening phone calls, you can stop the abuse by telling them to stop contacting you. Legally, they are required to comply, and if they fail to do so you can record their violations and contact either the Federal Trade Commission or your state’s consumer protection agency and report them.
  • Negotiate with your creditors – You may be surprised how willing they may be to work with you so that they can get some of their money back instead of none of it. You can either do this on your own or work with a debt counseling agency that will help you work out a payment plan. It’s important to remember that choosing this option will not protect you from creditors pursuing collection actions if you miss a payment.
  • Participate in a debt counseling program to help create a payment plan that your creditors will accept. Doing so can work much like filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy without the negative impact on your credit record that filing for bankruptcy would have.

Though filing for bankruptcy provides the chance for a fresh start and stops creditors from pursuing collection actions, it also has many disadvantages. If you’d like assistance in weighing your options, contact our experienced bankruptcy attorneys today to set up a time to talk.

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