Usually when I meet with people in my Sonoma County offices in Santa Rosa, one of the first questions they have is, how bad will filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy be for my credit? Will I be able to rent again? Will I be able to buy a car? Of course a bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, so it ain't great. But if you're sitting in a bankruptcy attorney's office -- the odds of you having stellar credit are pretty bad. In point of fact, you probably have a wave of late payments, nonpayments, credit cards sent to collections, perhaps a foreclosure ... you get the idea. Putting yourself in a creditor's seat, would you rather work with someone who clearly can't pay their bills, or someone who declared bankruptcy and 6 months later is paying all their bills on time? This article on the National Bankruptcy Forum points out that a key factor is your debt-to-income ratio. If you have tens of thousands of debt, that ratio is going to look pretty bad. If you have declared bankruptcy, you have virtually no debt, so your debt-to-income looks great. Once you get a little new credit in place and make regular payments, you're on the way to a clean bill of health.