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7 Signs It's Time to Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer

You Have Debt You Can't Handle

It is a terrible feeling to be overwhelmed by debt, and you may realize that you are too far in over your head to get out. Whether you got into debt by spending too much or because of circumstances beyond your control, we are not here to judge you or make you feel bad about your mistakes. We want to help you get past your debt and get a new start.

Debt and its consequences can have an impact on more than just your financial life. The worry and anxiety about how you will pay your bills can lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety, and the stress can cause difficulty in your relationships. Sometimes marriages even break up because of debt. Don't let those negative things happen to you. You can break the cycle.

You Are About to Lose Your Home

When you get deeply into debt, you may find that you can no longer make your mortgage payments. If you miss too many payments, the bank will take your home. If this is happening to you, filing for bankruptcy is one way of holding on to your house. A consultation with a bankruptcy attorney will help you decide whether this is an option that makes sense for you.

You Are Constantly Paying Overdraft or Late Fees

One way that debt builds on itself is in the form of fees. When you cannot afford to make the minimum payments on your credit card, you will eventually see fees added to the bill. You then have even more money to come up with for the next payment. When you cannot make that payment on time, more fees are added. The result is debt that only gets overwhelmingly larger.

Your checking account may be similar. If you don't have enough money in your account to cover a bill, you are likely to have a bounced check fee. Even if you then replenish the money you need to get your account back into a positive balance, the fee for the bounced check could knock it back into a negative balance. In this way, hundreds of dollars in fees can easily accumulate.

Your Finances Took a Hit With Medical Bills

Medical bills can be astronomical, even if you have good insurance. When you have had an accident or have had to spend time in the hospital, you are billed for every pill, consultation, and even pieces of equipment that are used in your care. Many people find that they get out of the hospital or recover from a serious illness only to find that they owe more money than they will ever be able to pay.

Sometimes medical debt adds up because a loved one is sick. Perhaps you had to leave your job in order to care for a relative who was battling an illness. In that case, you may have accumulated family medical bills at the same time you lost your income. You may be trying to make payments to the hospital but find yourself falling behind. Or the hospital may have sent your account to collections, and you are being harassed with phone calls.

You Need to Recover From Losses Because of a Divorce

A divorce can be a terrible blow to your finances, especially if it involved a legal battle. You may have been a stay-at-home caregiver to your children and now find yourself needing to make an income after many years away from the workforce, or you might find that you suddenly owe a great deal of money each month in child support in addition to court fees and other expenses.

A bankruptcy lawyer can help you build a case to show that you cannot pay off the debts you incurred from your divorce.

You Have to Use Credit Cards for Daily Expenses

You may be tumbling into debt you cannot recover from if you do not have the income to pay your daily expenses like groceries and utility bills. If you are putting these costs on your credit cards because you don't have enough money in your accounts, you are making choices that you cannot possibly sustain unless you find a way of bringing more money into your household.

You Don't Qualify for Debt Relief Programs

There are debt relief programs available for people who need to pay off debt, but you may not qualify. This could be because your income is too high even though it is not enough to pay your bills or the minimum payment owed on your credit cards or loans. Depending on the type of debt relief you are seeking, it could be because your credit score is too low.

Also, many debt relief programs advertised are not what they seem. People often fall for the promises offered by companies that claim to reduce debt only to discover that the problem has become worse instead of better.

Questions About Bankruptcy

What Is Filing for Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy means that you go before a court and declare that you do not have the assets or income to pay your bills and that your debt is too high for you to manage. The court looks over the paperwork you provide about your financial situation including anything you own and your total debt. Then the court decides if you qualify to have your debts reduced or eliminated and which of your debts apply.

What Is the Purpose of Bankruptcy Court?

The ability to file for bankruptcy was created in order to help people in situations like yours. Lawmakers saw that sometimes people get into financial trouble and need a chance at a fresh start. Bankruptcy courts make that happen.

Can I File Without a Lawyer?

You can file for bankruptcy on your own, but it is not recommended. Bankruptcy laws are complicated, and it takes someone with experience to understand exactly what needs to be done. Most people who use a bankruptcy lawyer win their cases with the court and come out ahead. Many people who do not use an attorney, do not win their bankruptcy cases and do not have their debts settled.

Filing for bankruptcy can help you get a handle on your financial life and start over without the overwhelming debt that is hanging over your head. If you are drowning in debt and don't know how to make your way out, call us at Stockton and Stern LLC. We won't pass judgment or make you feel bad about your financial mistakes. Instead, we will give you the tools to rebuild. Call us today for a consultation about whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you.