I am often asked how far someone needs to be behind on their bills before they can file for bankruptcy. A month? Three months? Charge off? Law suit?
The short answer is that you don’t need to be behind at all before you can file. In fact, many of my clients are completely current on their bills when they file.
So why do they file? Because they can see that they won’t be able to continue to make the payments. Or something has happened in their life–illness, job loss, separation, etc.–that means that they won’t be able to continue making their payments. Or they are only able to pay the monthly minimums, and don’t see ever being able to catch up and pay down the balance. Or any of the hundreds of other reasons that people have for needing to file.
I strongly recommend speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you think you won’t be able to pay your bills, even if everything is current now. Using retirement funds, borrowing money, or enrolling in phony debt management programs can all lead to problems far worse than filing for bankruptcy…and you might need to file even if you do these things.
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Last modified: December 22, 2011