Peter R. Scribner, Esq. ATTORNEY AT LAW
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How to decide if bankruptcy is right for you

If you live in Rochester and have found yourself with more debt than you can handle, you are not alone. Many people find themselves in similar circumstances due to a sudden reduction in income or surprise expenses that drain savings and checking accounts. The most important thing you can do is to be proactive when it comes to getting your debt under control. For some this might mean a meeting with a mortgage lender to discuss options. For others, this could be filing for bankruptcy.

If you are looking for a solution to your debt problem, you might be wondering if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. The factors below might be able to help you determine if bankruptcy is the best option for your specific circumstances.

Bankruptcy options

The two most common types of bankruptcy available in the United States are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can generally take care of your debt within three to six months, but you might have to give up some of your personal property in order to do so. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically more complicated than Chapter 7. If you choose this option, the court will provide a payment plan based on your income. It normally takes three to five years to clear your debts with this method.

Eligibility requirements

In order to file for bankruptcy, you have to meet certain requirements. Each type of bankruptcy has its own set of rules. This means that if you make enough money to pay off your debts, you may not be able to file for Chapter 7. Instead, you might be able to file Chapter 13. However, Chapter 13 requires that you prove you can pay your debts according the court's payment plan and still support yourself. Therefore, if your debts are much higher than your income, you may not qualify for Chapter 13.

Unforgivable debts

There are some debts that bankruptcy proceedings will not affect. For example, if you owe child support, alimony or back taxes, there is no bankruptcy option for these. In other words, you will still be on the hook for the full amount of these payments every month.

Saving your home

If you are having trouble paying your mortgage as well as your other debts, you may be looking for a solution that will allow you to keep your home. If this is the case, then Chapter 7 may not be right for you since you might lose your home through that route. Chapter 13 might provide an option to keep your house if your income is high enough.

If you are looking for an answer to your debt problems, bankruptcy might be the best course of action to take. However, you must spend time considering all of your options and the effects of each one before you jump into any kind of debt relief program.

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Peter R. Scribner, Esq.
1110 Park Avenue
Rochester, New York 14610

Phone: 585-800-9616
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