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Understanding bankruptcy and its benefits

Many people think filing bankruptcy is reprehensible, but the truth is that it is a legal process that can help individuals or couples who are going under financial strain to get back on track with a new start in life.

If you are tired of collection calls and being harassed by debt collectors, you might want to consider it. Filing bankruptcy is a legal way to stop creditors, and it works immediately. Once you have filed for bankruptcy, creditors are no longer allowed to contact you.

Make plans to rebuild your credit after you file a bankruptcy

One of the primary concerns that people have when they are filing for bankruptcy is how the filing will impact their financial status in the upcoming years. There isn't any easy answer for this because there are many factors that can affect how a bankruptcy impacts you.

Filing for bankruptcy is going to impact your credit. The initial impact will be negative, but there are ways that you can start to rebuild your credit. You must ensure that you are taking things slowly and remembering that you must use credit wisely. Here are some points to remember about rebuilding your credit after a bankruptcy:

Eliminating Christmas debt before it starts

Maybe you make the same resolution every year: "Next year, I'm going to shop for Christmas during the year, and then relax as I glide through the holidays worry-free." Then somehow that resolution is forgotten by the time New Year's Day rolls around?

Here we are in the Christmas season again, and those of us with non-existent Christmas savings accounts are left with no option but to rely on credit cards or prolong paying them off until after the new year so we can splurge on our loved ones. Either way, it can leave us buried in debt for the new year. Here are some new tips to try:

  1. Make that list and check it twice. Put down everyone you need to buy for, and set limits on what you will spend for each. Come up with gift ideas to fit within those limits. Then don't leave your list at home when you go shopping, and be mindful to use it. Cross off each name as you go.
  2. Do not buy impulsively. If it is not planned and on your list, don't buy it. Refrain, refrain, refrain (put it to the tune of "Dashing Through the Snow" and sing often).
  3. Tune out the advertisers. This is a tough one, as our emails and social media are barraged with advertisements. Delete or scroll past them before they catch your attention. Get your mind on something else, such as volunteering, visiting friends or even reading a good book.
  4. When you have bought everything on your list, stop shopping. You've stayed within your budget, so don't blow it now by seeing a good bargain and rewarding yourself. Save the reward for next year when you will be thanking yourself for starting the year off right.

In financial difficulties, don't overlook your options

People experiencing financial difficulties often go through a tremendous amount of stress, sometimes even letting it take a toll on their health. Trying to find ways to come up with money to meet financial obligations can leave you feeling like you are all out of options. Before that happens, consult with a financial attorney. There are usually options available that can immediately stop collections, help you keep your property and relieve that burden of stress.

Businesses have similar problems. One business in Appleton recently closed the doors -- giving in almost too easily to a financial situation. United States Senator Tammy Baldwin thinks so too; she is currently looking into the case.

Filing a bankruptcy? Don't do these three things!

As attorneys, we have seen far too many of our Wisconsin neighbors struggle with overwhelming medical and credit card debt. Despite the many benefits filing a bankruptcy can offer, most people resist this solution for as long as possible. When they do realize bankruptcy is the best and most logical option, many forge ahead without learning as much as they can about the process.

While lawmakers have tried to make the process as easy as possible, you could still make serious mistakes that might derail your efforts. We want to give you a few tips about what you should not do if you are filing a bankruptcy. The actions we will discuss may not seem like a big deal, but they could ultimately have a negative effect on your bankruptcy.

  • Don't transfer any property to another person. Even if your intentions are not deceptive, it may look like you are hiding assets.
  • Don't add to your existing debt. This means you can no longer use your credit cards even for a three-dollar drink or a couple of gallons of gas.
  • Don't forget to disclose all of your financial information. If the court believes you are withholding financial data, it could damage your case, even if it was unintentional.

Will bankruptcy get rid of my Federal student loan debt?

According to State Senator, Jennifer Shilling, Wisconsin, comes in at 10th place across the country for the number of debt-ridden college students. An estimated 67 percent of residents who have graduated from four-year colleges have student loans to pay off. Further, student loans currently hold second place in the nation as the largest consumer debt.

People attend college with the goal of bettering their lives and making a good income. Unfortunately, the reality for college graduates is that they still find it very difficult to pay their loans off even though they have acquired a good education. In the case of federal student loans, it is particularly difficult to acquire debt relief.

What property may I keep in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcies offer those who qualify for them many more flexibilities than other forms of bankruptcy, but most American's don't necessarily understand the difference between the two. When most people throughout the country think about bankruptcy or talk about it publicly, they often actually describe a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy. Under that system, a person who cannot pay his or her debts forfeits property that does not qualify for exemption. A trustee then sells the property to make back some of the value of the debts before discharging much or all of the remaining debt.

In contrast, Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers a repayment plan structure to individuals who have sufficient income to still repay debts, but need some help reorganizing debt and relief from collection tactics.

A bankruptcy alternative only residents of Wisconsin can utilize

If you live in Wisconsin, you already know that our state is as unique as those who populate it. Unfortunately, there are some life circumstances in which we are not unique, such as suffering with financial difficulties. Just like other people living in the U.S., Wisconsin residents can experience overwhelming debt.

For many, bankruptcy is the logical and most effective solution, but some of us may benefit from a bankruptcy alternative. Once again, Wisconsin reveals it uniqueness by offering residents another option that no one else in the nation can utilize. It is called Chapter 128 and it is best characterized as a personal debt relief program. Further, it is not bankruptcy and will have no effect on your credit rating.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy | Exploring the pros and cons

If you are reading this, you probably already know that debt can consume your life even as you struggle to pay down all of your bills. It is like taking a step forward only to be knocked back a few steps. If an emergency arises such as a serious illness or the sudden loss of income, any balance you may have reached will soon disappear, leaving you in even worse financial trouble.

No one likes to think about bankruptcy as a solution, but, in some cases, it truly is the best option to take back control over your life. We recently spoke about the upside and downside of filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Now, we would like to tell our Wisconsin readers about a few of the pros and cons associated with chapter 7 bankruptcy. For those in serious financial trouble, this information could help you decide which option will best meet your needs.

How Chapter 13 bankruptcy could help you pay child support

All family law courts in the United States place a high importance on a parent's child support obligations. This means that child support cannot be discharged in any type of bankruptcy. In other words, courts always expect parents to pay their support obligations regardless of their financial situations.

We do not believe any parent in Wisconsin would dispute the importance of child support. However, we also understand how difficult it is to meet these obligations in the midst of a financial crisis. While it is certainly true that you cannot be relieved of these obligations by pursuing bankruptcy, we want you to know that bankruptcy can help in many situations.