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Many Kansas residents have had the frightening experience of getting a big bill in the mail and wondering where they will get the money to pay it. Whether it’s a credit card or doctor’s bill, a tax bill or something else, these can frighten many people into borrowing more money just to get it out of the way. Of course, that only makes the total of outstanding debt even worse.

It was recently reported that the actress Teri Polo had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The 44-year-old actress, best known for her role in the three “Meet the Parents” comedies with Ben Stiller, reportedly filed paperwork showing that she owes almost $800,000 in state and federal taxes. She also reportedly owes $37,000 in credit card debt. She claims to have only $50,000 in assets.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is commonly used by businesses as a way to protect themselves from creditors while they reorganize and come up with a plan to return to profitability. It is only very rarely used for personal bankruptcy, in cases in which the individual still has a potentially high earning potential. These bankruptcies tend to involve sports stars or celebrities who got into debt after making bad investments.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are far more common forms of personal bankruptcy. Each form has its own advantages, disadvantages and eligibility requirements. Chapter 7 is a powerful way to get out of debt quickly, but it typically requires selling off many assets. Chapter 13 typically does not require selling off assets, but takes three to five years to complete.

There are many options for Kansas residents to get their debt under control. Attorneys with experience in bankruptcy and other forms of debt relief can help clients to shed old debt and get started on a healthier financial future.

Source: Huffington Post, “Teri Polo Files For Bankruptcy After Racking Up Nearly $1 Million In Debts,” April 23, 2014