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How can I know if filing bankruptcy is the best choice for me?

Erie, PA |

In the past 6 months, my debt has increased significantly. I am not behind on any bills at this time however, I can see it happening very shortly. I can't keep my head above water with all the bills. I feel like I owe so much that I'll never end up paying it off or I'll end up getting behind and damaging my credit even worse than I am now. Please help!

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Attorney answers 12


Easy - speak with 2 or 3 consumer bankruptcy lawyers in your area and schedule a meeting with at least one of them. Most likely it will be free.


That is a very fact-specific question. Your situation certainly may be appropriate for a bankruptcy discharge, but there are many questions I would have to ask before advising you one way or another. You would also have to qualify for the type of bankruptcy protection sought. Talking to an attorney and going over your situation is the way to go.

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Meet with a bankruptcy attorney to analyze your debt situation to determine the proper timing of a bankruptcy filing. You said that your debt recently increased. Make sure to let the attorney know what has happened recently to lead to the increase in debt. Discuss whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 would better suit your needs. Bankruptcy is a strong tool in the correct circumstances. Timing is key. For instance, taxes can be discharged in BK but only if they meet timing, assessment and filing requirements. Credit cards are commonly discharged, but only if luxury or other high priced charges were not made soon before the BK filing.

Good luck with your situation.

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I agree with your first responders that meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options is the only way to responsibly meet your needs. I write separately to caution that not all lawfirms that practice bankruptcy law are created equal. Some seem to be just selling bankruptcies. You want to rely on a lawfirm where the attorney meets with you personally, gathers a great deal of information about your circumstances, performs a full case review, and explains the risks, costs, and benefits of all of your options. If you do not know such a lawyer, use the attorney-finder at

Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


Even if you have not yet fallen behind on payments, it is a good idea to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to learn your options. Doing so may give you ideas for avoiding bankruptcy altogether. Additionally, you can contact a non-profit credit counseling agency (get referrals to a legitimate company) to review that option as well. Not all situations call for bankruptcy, but there is no question that bankruptcy can do more to assist you in handling debts, and it may be the only solution.


As several of my colleagues have stated below, it is probably in your best interest to contact 1 or more bankruptcy attorneys in your area to discuss your situation in greater detail. Based on the specifics of your situation, you would likely be given a list of options available to you and what that attorney feels is the best choice. Best of luck to you.


Consult with a local bankruptcy attorney who can go over your situation in much more detail than is possible here on this forum. Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free initial consultations. Take advantage of one.

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I would suggest trying to find a local bankruptcy attorney who offers a free consultation so you can find out all the details and make an informed decision.

Good luck!!


I agree with my Pennsylvania colleague. A good bankruptcy attorney can review your financial situation with you and discuss all of your options, including Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and non-bankruptcy solutions such as debt negotiation. If you contact a local attorney now, you may have more options available to you than if you wait.

To reach me call 215-248-0989. Harborstone Law Group serves Philadelphia, Montgomery, Delaware, and Bucks Counties in Pennsylvania. Answers to any question on this forum are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship between Harborstone Law Group or its attorneys and you. This type of forum cannot substitute for a consultation with an attorney.


There is an easy answer to you question and it has been given to you by all of of the my colleagues. Take their excellent advice and go see an experienced bankruptcy attorney for a free consultation as soon as possible. It is likely that any money you are now sending in a futile attempt to pay down your bills is just as good as having thrown it in the trash. Call an attorney now!

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.


The easiest way to find out if bankruptcy is the best debt relief option for you would be to schedule an appointment with at least 2-3 bankruptcy attorneys in your area. Most bankruptcy attorneys will offer you a free consultation and you will be able to not only find out if bankruptcy is the form of debt relief that you seek but also you will be able to find out which chapter of bankruptcy you qualify. Checking out 2-3 bankruptcy attorneys will also give you the opportunity to both price shop and for you to find a bankruptcy attorney that you are comfortable working with.

Another factor to consider is that there is a right time to file for bankruptcy. You stated that you aren't behind on your bills right now. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer will help you prepare for your bankruptcy filing and will work with you to establish when is the best time for you to file for bankruptcy protection. Depending on your situation, income, and other variables; it is possible that you may need another form of debt relief. Either way, an experienced bankruptcy attorney would best be qualifies to answer your questions and help you out with your situation.

I hope that you found this information helpful and that you got your question answered.


Parker Evan Bornmann
The Bornmann Law Group, PLLC

Contact me directly at 480-833-8000 for a free (1 Hour) consultation. I have law offices conveniently located in Mesa, Glendale, and Tucson, Arizona. You and I do not have an attorney-client relationship formed by our communications on this website. Advice given by me on this website is general advice based on partial information. You should not rely on any advice given without first hiring a lawyer in the area where the case is pending, and providing that lawyer with full information.

Richard M Schifone

Richard M Schifone


There are also many pitfalls that an experienced attorney can guide you through, Many times when folks get overwhelmed in debt they make impulse decisions regarding assuming new debt, which may not be discharged in he bankruptcy process.. Getting a free consultation is the best thing you can do at this time which at a minimum should settle some of your fears and show you your options.


Whether or not to file bankruptcy, or frankly to take any action in life, requires a balancing of the costs and benefits to doing so. This requires that you obtain information to make an informed decision. The way to make an informed decision on whether or not to get surgery done is to read up on the topic as much as possible. then meet with several doctors and surgeons and ask questions and get their opinions.

Whether to file bankruptcy is no different. There is a myriad of factors to consider in whether to file bankruptcy and whether or not you are eligible or whether it is your best option. The only way to find out is to (A) read up on it; and (B) consult with experienced bankruptcy attorneys in your area who can gather the necessary information from you and assess and explain your options.

In short, I agree with the other responses.

Mark Markus has been practicing exclusively bankruptcy law in California since 1991. He is a Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, AV-Rated by, and A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau. His webpage is

Legal disclaimer: Mark J. Markus practices law in California only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation.

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