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Filing bankruptcy with only modest amounts of debt

Washington residents who are facing financial problems may wonder if bankruptcy is the right option for them. In some cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may provide an important fresh start for consumers who are wanting to stop creditor harassment. One woman asks whether she should consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if she is facing $12,000 in debt and a job loss.

The answer from experts: It depends. A bankruptcy is a significant decision that can have a lasting impact on an individual's credit report. As such, the choice to begin filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy should not be taken lightly. In general, such a small amount of debt falls under other debt relief strategies, though bankruptcy could be useful in some cases.

Although bankruptcy can provide a fresh financial start, it can be a difficult for those who are choosing to reenter the job market. Employers are increasingly asking for credit histories and reports as an element of the application process. Those who are looking to obtain a new professional job in the near future should carefully consider their financial options, which include Chapter 7 for individuals.

Finally, married couples in community property states may benefit from consulting qualified bankruptcy attorneys, especially if they are both carrying a significant amount of debt. In some situations, spouses can be on the hook for the debt that the other accumulated, even if that debt occurred outside the context of the marriage. A bankruptcy attorney can provide additional information about the impact of various debt relief options.

Those considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may consider talking to their creditors directly or discussing their situation with a Washington attorney. These professionals may help with mortgage modification and other changes that could serve as alternatives to bankruptcy. Residents who are struggling with debt can find relief through legal and financial strategies.

Source: Sun Herald, "Debt Adviser: Should I file bankruptcy for $12,000 debt?" Steve Bucci, Bankrate.com, Mar. 10, 2014

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