Bankruptcy is not necessarily as scary or bad as you may think it is. Its purpose is not to punish you by taking away your assets. Rather, it is a way to wipe your financial slate clean and start over new. Nevertheless, bankruptcy is not necessarily the best option for your particular situation. Before filing for bankruptcy, you should explore all your options. If you can find an alternative method of managing your debt, bankruptcy may not be necessary.
1. Mortgage Restructuring/Refinancing
If you own a home, your mortgage may be one of your most significant monthly expenses. You may be able to reduce your monthly mortgage payment by arranging a new mortgage payment plan. Foreclosing on your mortgage is not in your lender’s interest, so you can often negotiate an alternative payment arrangement, whether on a temporary or permanent basis. You should contact your mortgage lender as soon as you are having problems making your mortgage payment.
2. Negotiation With Creditors
You may be able to negotiate with your other creditors the same way you would with your mortgage company. This may take the form of debt settlement, which involves devising a different schedule for your payment plan, or debt consolidation, which involved combining your outstanding debts in one large loan. When you consolidate your debts, you make only one monthly payment, and your interest rate is lower.
3. Consumer Credit Counseling
A consumer credit counselor can work with creditors on your behalf to put together a debt management plan to repay what you owe. Because a credit counselor has more experience dealing with creditors than you do, he or she may be able to negotiate more successfully.
4. Budget Revision
Cut down on unnecessary expenditures and use the money that you consequently save to pay down your debt. This can sometimes involve making real sacrifices. Make a distinction between what you need to spend money on as opposed to what you want. Be honest with yourself and brutal in your reassessment.
5. Help From Friends and Family
This can be a difficult step to take, but it may be necessary. However, be prepared with a plan to pay them back. Otherwise, you may cause a relationship rift that can be difficult, if not impossible, to mend.
Once you’ve explored all your options, you may find that bankruptcy is indeed your best solution. With the help of a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL, the process can go much more smoothly. Contact a law office to arrange an initial consultation.
Thanks to The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. for their insight into bankruptcy law and alternatives to bankruptcy.