Bankruptcy is a financial situation in which any person can find him or herself, no matter what the person’s earning level. Bankruptcy is about insolvency – receiving less money each month than you require to service your debt and your costs of living – not about how much or how little you earn or how much or how little your debt totals may be. This frightening financial realm is often associated with grief, shame and fear. In fact, many people do not want to think about it.
If you are a person who is busy with work, family responsibilities and/or just trying to get by day-in and day-out, being insolvent is not something about which you have a lot of time to dwell or think on. Our hectic schedules deprive us of the time required to objectively analyze our financial situations, or to formulate effective strategies to deal with our financial situations. Sometimes the busyness of life makes it difficult to know that you are already insolvent and in need of bankruptcy relief. The use of credit (or even borrowing from friends and family) to make ends meet can become the accepted norm. The bankruptcy signals are already in front of us but we refuse to acknowledge them – we are in the denial stage.
Many people who seek relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code have juggled their debts for so long that they are already emotionally exhausted by the time they decide to face their financial facts. Oftentimes, it is hard to admit that we are insolvent or that we actually need help to get out of debt – that it isn’t going to happen doing what we are doing. However, staying in the denial stage will lead you nowhere. Remember, you are not alone in this situation. Each year, nationwide and in Virginia, there are many people who file for bankruptcy. It may be hard, but it is never too late for you to face the fact that you are in a difficult or impossible financial quagmire.
ASSESS YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION
Let’s start with some basic questions first as an assessment of your financial situation.
- Are you regularly paying for any basic necessities using credit cards – gas, food, utilities?
- Have one or more of your credit cards reached the maximum credit limit?
- Do you only make minimum pay on your credit cards?
- Are there times that you cannot pay your bills on time, and the unpaid bills are piling up?
- Are you considering debt consolidation as an option?
- Are you ignoring phone calls from bill collectors?
- Are you juggling living expenses (like rent, electricity, cell phone) with debt payments (like credit cards, personal loans)?
- Are your secured debt payments (mortgage, car loan) behind or in jeopardy of falling behind?
- When you take a moment to consider your debt, do you have any hope of being debt free under your current circumstances and earning level?
- Do you feel like you don’t know where to turn to fix your finances – or that you just don’t care anymore?
If you answered ‘”yes” to more than one of the questions above, then it is time to give your financial situation more consideration. Bankruptcy relief is available whenever you are insolvent. Insolvency is when you owe more than you can afford to pay on a regular basis. Simply put, bankruptcy is seeking relief under federal laws when you have become insolvent.
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To determine your current financial status, perform a quick assessment of your monthly debt servicing requirements. Take all of your bills and living expenses and add up the monthly minimum payments. After that, calculate your monthly take home pay or income from all your sources. If your monthly income is less than, equals or barely exceeds your normal living expenses (including lodging and transportation) without making any debt payments, you are likely insolvent.
ACCEPTANCE OF THE BANKRUPCY SITUATION
Once you have accepted that you are insolvent or bankrupt, be prepared to experience mixed emotions. Filing a bankruptcy petition is a chance for you to start fresh financially, but you may need to overcome or press through feelings of failure, depression, shame, guilt or fear which may keep you cemented in your current financial situation. This is where good counsel and support is essential. At Greenwood Law Firm we understand the burden and stress of insolvency. We are a federally designated debt relief agency and we help people obtain relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
DECIDE TO ACT: BANKCRUPTCY IS ONLY TEMPORARY
Declaring bankruptcy / filing a bankruptcy petition can be scary – but sometimes it is necessary. Sometimes it is the wisest, bravest thing to do. At Greenwood Law Firm we help you assess and address insolvency and we will stand by your side and guide you through every step of the process. If you have accepted the fact that you are finished ignoring your financial situation and denying insolvency, I salute you for facing your fears. Remember, bankruptcy is only temporary. It is a largely administrative process designed to restore you to a viable condition within the American economy. There is hope and your decision to act is the first step to a fresh start and a new financial life ahead.
It is wise to seek the help, support and expertise of an attorney to walk with you through bankruptcy process. With a competent lawyer and the right information, filing a bankruptcy petition will be less stressful, more predictable, and hopefully a resounding success for you. A good law practitioner may even provide you with hope instead of shame by conveying his or her collective experience to your situation and discussing with you the freedom to come with the end of your current debt.
You are now armed to assess your financial situation, to stop any denial and to accept insolvency. You are now in motion to financial recovery. Convert your momentum into action now – decide to act and schedule a consultation with Jason Greenwood – a bankruptcy lawyer who knows the pressure you have been under and stands by ready to assist you through the bankruptcy process to a fresh start and a new beginning. A better financial future is already on the horizon.