The key is to thoroughly understand the bankruptcy process. This includes knowing which debts you can and cannot take care of through bankruptcy, and what your life after bankruptcy will look like. There can be a lot of confusion. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you learn as much as you can before moving forward.
We have found 24 stellar resources from around the internet, to use as research in your bankruptcy consideration. These will help you learn more about bankruptcy, explore your options, and ultimately make the best choice for your financial circumstances.
1. Should You Declare Bankruptcy? – This Forbes.com article was published back in 2009, but it’s still a great resource for anyone facing bankruptcy. Its story-based format helps you contextualize your own financial decision, making it a good starting off point.
2. Types of Bankruptcy – This NOLO article outlines the different types of bankruptcy.
3. Bankruptcy Basics (From USCourts.gov) – This section of the U.S. Courts website offers more detailed descriptions of the different types of bankruptcy. (Just be prepared for some legalese!)
4. How 5 Financial Blunders Will Affect Your Credit Score – This Dough Roller article outlines how bankruptcy might affect your credit score.
5. Bankruptcy Filing Fees – A list of bankruptcy filing fees for Chapters 7, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 15 bankruptcy.
6. Misc. Bankruptcy Court Fees – A list of miscellaneous bankruptcy fees that may or may not apply to your situation.
7. Bankruptcy Forms – Use these forms to see the content and format of bankruptcy forms, if you want to know what’s involved in the paperwork.
8. Things You Need to Know About Bankruptcy – This article from Money Management International covers some of the most frequently asked questions about bankruptcy.
9. Bankruptcy Facts for Older Consumers – Bankruptcy can be a little different for older consumers who may be nearing retirement age. This fact sheet from the National Consumer Law Center lays out your options.
10. 12 Myths About Bankruptcy – Think your bankruptcy will mean losing everything you have, or that both spouses in a marriage will have to file? Think again. This article busts 12 common bankruptcy myths.
11. What Not to Do Before Bankruptcy – This NOLO article gives tips on things that will negatively affect your bankruptcy process, like racking up even more debt or trying to hide assets.
12. Keeping Your Auto: Car Loans in Bankruptcy – Worried about what will happen to your car during bankruptcy? Find out what might happen here.
Other Options for Getting Out of Debt
13. National Foundation for Credit Counseling – This credit counseling organization has community offices in every state. Start here if your goal is to avoid bankruptcy.
14. Debt Relief or Bankruptcy? – This page from the Federal Trade Commission helps you decide whether debt relief is a better option than bankruptcy. This section can also help you find trustworthy credit counseling if necessary.
15. 6 Reasons We Chose NOT to Use Debt Settlement, Debt Consolidation or Bankruptcy to Pay Off Our Debt – This Man vs. Debt post outlines one family’s choice to pay down debt directly, rather than filing bankruptcy (or using debt settlement or consolidation).
16. 7 Tips for Settling a Debt on Your Own – Settling some of your debts can help make your payments more manageable, and may help you avoid bankruptcy. But you probably don’t need expensive for-profit debt settlement services to get it done. Check out our article on how to settle a debt on your own here.
17. Settling Credit Card Debt – This FTC article talks about the pros and cons of settling credit card debt, and gives some options for different ways to get it done.
18. How to Refinance Any Debt – Refinancing or consolidating your debts can make sense if you’re struggling with high payments. Refinancing also won’t harm your credit as much as debt settlement or filing for bankruptcy. This Dough Roller article helps you learn to refinance any type of debt.
Related: How to Get Out of Debt… and Fast!
Qualifying for Bankruptcy
19. Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy Basics – This article from USCourts.gov covers lots of information about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, but you’ll find a detailed eligibility section here, which can help you figure out if you qualify for this type of bankruptcy.
20. Are You Eligible for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? – An article from NOLO explaining who is and is not eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
21. Means Test Information – This page from the U.S. Justice Department lets you look up the latest means testing information for bankruptcy filings.
22. Free Means Test Calculator – This bankruptcy means test calculator isn’t an official form, but it can help you find out if you’d qualify for bankruptcy based on your current financial situation.
Life After Bankruptcy
23. Ask Experian: Bankruptcy – This page lists several “Ask Experian” questions related to bankruptcy. The focus here is on how bankruptcy affects your credit.
24. How to Establish Credit After Bankruptcy – This Dough Roller article outlines how to rebuilt your credit after you’ve filed for bankruptcy.