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When bankruptcy is the best option

Even though the economy has improved since the recent economic recession, there are still many people in Wisconsin and the rest of the country who are struggling financially.

In many situations, people who were laid off during the recession have once again found employment, but they are still dealing with the debt that amassed while out of work.

Recently, a 33-year-old woman in this predicament wrote into the Los Angeles Times’ Money Talk column for advice.

The woman said that she has been able to get her “stuff” together after losing her job during the recession, but she is now spending about half of her income each month paying back past debts.

The woman wondered if she should keep working to pay off her debts or if bankruptcy was the better option.

Even though the woman said she wasn’t particularly worried about her credit score, the Money Talk columnist made clear that bankruptcy’s effect on a person’s credit score may cause more problems than meets the eye.

For example, a poor credit score can cause a person to lose out on a rental property or even a cellphone contract. Additionally, utility companies often base deposit requirements on credit information.

However, the columnist said even with the damage filing for bankruptcy causes to a credit score, it still might be the best option. This is especially true, the columnist said, if it would take the woman longer than five years to pay off her debts -- which is how long payments would have to be made after filing for Chapter 13.

Ultimately, the columnist said that deciding whether or not to file for bankruptcy is a decision that is best made with the help of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, who can go over the pros and cons of filing as well as other debt relief options that might be available.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Consider filing for bankruptcy if debt repayment would take five years,” Liz Weston, July 6, 2014

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