Is bankruptcy the best option for you?

The decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one, nor should it be. While it will have an impact on your credit for a while, in the long run, it could be the best way to get a handle on your financial problems and get a fresh start.

Following are some questions to consider when determining if bankruptcy may be your best option:

-- Have things reached the point where you're being contacted regularly by bill collectors?

-- Are you unable to pay more than the minimum amount due on your credit cards and other debt?

-- Are you using credit cards to pay for necessities like utilities and food? Unless you're doing this to get the membership rewards and paying off your credit card bills every month, this is a sign of problems.

-- Are your largest debts ones that bankruptcy can eliminate or at least help you reorganize? Some obligations, such as spousal and child support, tax debt and student loan debt aren't.

-- Can you afford the filing fee for bankruptcy? Ironically, sometimes the people who most need the help that bankruptcy can provide can't afford to do it.

Once you decide that bankruptcy may be a viable option, you need to decide which type is preferable for your situation -- Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. That will depend on a number of factors such as your income, assets and whether or not you own a home. If you can afford to pay back your debt via a reorganization plan, Chapter 13 is probably your best option.

Everyone's situation is unique. An experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney can help you decide if that route is the best option for you and, if so, which type is best. An attorney can then help you file for bankruptcy relief.

Source: Deseret News, "Financial Tips & Tricks: When is bankruptcy the best option?," Andrew Clawson, June 25, 2016

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