You walk out of your house in the morning to find that your vehicle is not in the driveway. You look again, discovering that it has not suddenly reappeared. Bewildered, a multitude of thoughts rush through your head. Was it stolen? Did it get repossessed? How will I get to work? What do I do now?

You just started your new job after being unemployed for several months. During that time, you fell behind on your bills, using up most of your savings and cashing out a retirement account. You had to decide whether to make your car loan payment or feed your kids. You chose the latter. Your ex-spouse only sporadically pays the court-ordered child support payment of $500. He now owes you close to $60,000.

You’re the responsible one. You juggle it all. You’re doing the best you can.

For the last couple of months your phone has been blowing up nonstop with calls from creditors. Past-due notices and final requests are stockpiled on your kitchen table. Each dollar and debt is tracked on a notepad. You have been figuring out how you could make this all work. It is overwhelming.

You walk back inside and look for your car loan statement to find a number to call because you’re worst fear has come true, your car lender repossessed your car. You know exactly where it is. The person on the other side of the phone explains that you can cure your car loan with a $2,500.00 payment today. You don’t receive your first paycheck for two weeks and have $1,000 in your bank account, the last remaining from your tax refund. You have rent, utilities, and groceries to pay for, which will eat up that money.

You are not alone. In the first three months of 2017, 966 bankruptcy cases were filed in Nebraska. The reasons for filing a bankruptcy run the gambit from overwhelming medical debt to a sudden loss of income. Considering bankruptcy is a smart decision if you are having difficulty paying your debt on top of your monthly living expenses, including items such as your rent, mortgage, groceries, and car insurance.

You may qualify to file a Chapter 13 where you retain all of your property and pay some or all of your debts though a payment plan that lasts 3-5 years. A Chapter 13 can help you save your car or house if you have fallen behind. You may qualify to pay only a portion of your unsecured debt (medical bills and credit cards) without interest, which is a paramount benefit of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

You may qualify to file a Chapter 7 where you can keep all of your property and eliminate all of your debt with some exceptions like student loans, child support, and most tax debt. By filing a Chapter 7, you would receive the benefit of a fresh financial start, allowing you to move on to rebuild your credit sooner rather than later.

Deciding whether to file a bankruptcy is a complex and emotional decision. Finding the right attorney to work with you to make that decision is crucial. Instead of worrying what will come next, you should meet with a bankruptcy attorney to discover your options for dealing with your financial situation.

You’re not in this alone.

Patrick Patino

CategoryMoney Matters