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Can you use Chapter 13 if you're self-employed?

You work for yourself, and you have for five years. You have a stable income, but you overestimated how much debt you could afford. You're thinking of using Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

You know about some of the advantages. You can set up a repayment plan, for instance, that fits your current income. You fully plan to take care of your debt in time, but you just need to restructure things to make it possible.

The bankruptcy stigma and social pressure

Many people have strong opinions about bankruptcy and it does, however unfairly, come with a negative stigma.

In the real world, this stigma probably does not actually impact you in any way. If you didn't care what your neighbor, co-worker, or father-in-law thought, you could just move forward with the best financial option for you.

Is it bad to spend money and then file for bankruptcy?

Everyone who is considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy is in a tough spot financially, and they don't have a lot of cash on hand. They still need to spend, but they don't want the courts to then accuse them of bankruptcy fraud, saying they were using credit cards just so they could then eliminate the debt without paying it back. What should you do?

Typically, there's nothing to worry about if your spending is normal. If you spend $300 on groceries every month and you continue to spend $300 while filing, that's not going to be a problem.

Debt mistakes people make and then instantly regret

Have you ever made a mistake, known instantly that you did and felt that gut-wrenching frustration that goes along with it? When you do that with your debt, it can really be problematic, and you must know what mistakes to avoid.

For example, many people pay their bills, but they just don't do it on time. Maybe you simply forgot about the due date. Maybe you didn't quite have enough money and you had to wait a week until that next paycheck came in.

The upsides of telling your children about financial issues

The way you handle financial issues within your family is, of course, up to you. Some parents who are facing bankruptcy try to keep their kids in the dark, while others prefer to tell them exactly what's going on.

If you're unsure what to do, though, you should consider these upsides to telling them:

Do garnishments stop automatically after bankruptcy?

Your wages are being garnished because of what you owe, and you finally just decide to declare bankruptcy. You want to eliminate the debt, stop the garnishments and move forward with your life.

You file, and then the garnishments keep happening. You're furious, but your employer keeps taking the money out of your checks. Why is this?

6 reasons that bankruptcy strikes

You've never had financial problems. In the 10 years since you graduated from college, you've been smart with money. You've gotten pay raises at work without massively raising your standard of living. You think you're immune to bankruptcy.

The reality is that bankruptcy often comes on unexpectedly, and it's sometimes for reasons that are out of your hands. Below are six reasons why bankruptcy can strike.

Can an employer ask you about bankruptcy?

You're unemployed, and you're thinking about declaring bankruptcy. Without a job, it's simply become impossible to pay off what you owe. You're not sure what else to do to get out of debt.

At the same time, you've not given up on ever being employed again. You fully plan to keep looking for a new job. When you go in for an interview, can your prospective employer ask you about your financial history? Would bankruptcy on your record be a red flag?

Supreme Court considering whether debt buyers must follow FDCPA

In 2012, a group of debtors filed a class action lawsuit against a Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc., a Dallas-based debt buyer specializing in auto loans. Santander had bought the debtors' loans from other holders and was attempting to collect them. The debtors claim Santander was violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by bypassing some debtors' attorneys and by misrepresenting how much some debtors owed.

Their complaint was dismissed, and the dismissal was upheld by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. It's now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Amazingly to many, the lawsuit was dismissed not because Santander proved it hadn't violated the FDCPA but because it showed it didn't have to.

Can your car be reposssed from anywhere?

The repo team is coming to take your car. You know it, because you haven't been able to make the payments. Can they just show up and grab it one morning, no matter where it is?

No. While they may have a legal right to repossess the car, there are still laws and regulations governing how it can be done. They're not allowed to break these in the name of getting the vehicle back more quickly.