Before you make the decision one way or the otheryou should know some of the pros and cons of declaring bankruptcy.
- If you are really deep in debt, and most of what you owe is credit card debt, then bankruptcy can eliminate or drastically reduce how much you eventually pay. However, it won't eliminate all kinds of debt (such as back child support or student loans), so you need to consider what type of debt you're carrying.
- Your creditors are not allowed to contact you once they are notified that you have declared bankruptcy. They either have to deal with the court or your attorney. In effect, you lose control of how your creditors will be paid (or even if they will be paid), so there isn't any good reason for them to be calling you anyway. Not being harassed by the constant stream of telephone calls is one of the pros of declaring bankruptcy.
- Having a clean slate financially is a good reason to file for bankruptcy. It will give you the opportunity to start fresh and get it right from this point forward. This clean slate will also apply to your credit report (sort of). The debts covered under the bankruptcy will be removed but...
- One of the major downsides of declaring bankruptcy is that it will leave a negative mark on your credit report for a full ten years. Also, while you won't be listed as owing money to the creditors who were paid off, they can make a note saying they were not paid back under the original terms of your agreement.
- It's a hassle. The new bankruptcy law makes you jump through a fair number of hoops before you're allowed to file. You will have to provide all kinds of financial information, and there is also an income qualification for some types of bankruptcy. In some cases you may have to attend credit counseling as part of the process.
- What a lot of people don't realize is that going bankrupt causes a lot of stress. Many marriages have come to an end as a result. People can become depressed after filing for bankruptcy, too. Then there are those who a lowered sense of self-esteem because they feel bad about not being able to live up to their word to pay back what they owe. You may scoff at these things, but they are a very real problem for a lot of people, and should be considered when thinking about declaring bankruptcy.