Freedom from debt is not an easy path to travel. In July we honor our freedom and independence from England. It’s a good time to be thinking about freedom from other things, such as debt. The people of America felt chained by the rules of a king thousands of miles away, and they wanted to break free from those shackles just as many Raleigh and Cary residents want to break free from the manacles of their debt.
Finding that debt relief is scary, and fear of the unknown prevents many from asking about Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
According to Epiq Systems, the number of people filing for bankruptcy is down in June 2013 by 11.5 percent. In the 4th Circuit Court, which covers North Carolina, that figure is higher, at 12.3 percent.
While that may sound like a good sign for the economy, studies show that about 10 percent of the U.S. population would benefit by filing Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including many people in the Triangle.
The process of filing for bankruptcy is scary, but the colonials of early America marched forward, fearful and unsure, but somehow knowing a better future lay ahead.
When evaluating a consumer’s specific situation, there are three general areas that are focused on.
1. Purpose – A bankruptcy attorney will ask about the purpose of the filing. For example, is it due to unsecured debt, credit card or medical debt? Are you trying to save a home or car?
2. Income – A consumer’s income plays an important part in determining whether he/she can file for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
3. Assets – Some assets are not exempt from bankruptcy, while others are allowed under the bankruptcy code. It’s also important to understand that just because an asset is not exempt, does not mean a consumer cannot keep it. A bankruptcy attorney can review assets to determine which ones qualify.
Contacting a bankruptcy attorney is not the same as marching forward with a bankruptcy filing. Other financial options are possible. But reaching out to a general who knows the battlefield of debt well, guarantees a strong leader — no matter where the fight for debt freedom will go.
Note: This is a general overview of the steps. The only way a consumer can be sure of his/her bankruptcy filing is to talk to a bankruptcy attorney.
Dennis Sargent is a Raleigh and Cary attorney at The Law Office of Dennis Jay Sargent Jr., PLLC. Dennis offers debt relief, helping people in the Triangle file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy under the United States Bankruptcy Code. He is a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Law Office of Dennis Sargent
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