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Alternatives to Filing for Bankruptcy

If you are experiencing significant financial distress from overwhelming debt, the prospect of filing for bankruptcy may be appealing. However, a bankruptcy can be time-consuming and expensive and could leave you with a significantly damaged credit score. Before deciding to start the bankruptcy process, you should consult an attorney who can advise you on other debt-relief options.

One immediate action you should take is to sit down and write out a budget for yourself so that your spending will match the income you receive each month. You may find that you have to cut out the gym membership, stop dining out every weekend and replace your luxury auto with a good used car.

You may also be wise to “downsize” your lifestyle to have more cash to pay off your debts. Selling your house, moving to a less expensive residence, getting rid of expensive electronics and eliminating expensive vacations are steps you should consider.

An effective option that is often overlooked is negotiation of a workout with creditors. With the aid of a qualified attorney, you can contact your creditors and attempt to obtain a reduction of the interest rate you are being charged or a revision of your monthly payment. A workout arrangement can help you free up cash to pay down your debt. It also benefits creditors by ensuring they will receive a significant portion of what is owed them rather than risk you going into bankruptcy, in which they might receive nothing.

A bankruptcy attorney or a non-profit credit counseling service can also assist you in setting up a payment plan that is acceptable to you and your creditors, similar to a Chapter 13 payment plan. Be careful, however. There are unscrupulous companies that prey on people who are suffering from financial problems and aggressive collection agencies. Research the credit counseling service before you decide to consult them.

If you are having serious financial problems, talk to an attorney at the Law Offices of James C. Zimmermann. We may be able to help you get back on track through bankruptcy or other debt relief options. Arrange a free attorney consultation by calling 973-764-1633 or contacting us online. Our New Jersey offices are conveniently located in Hackensack, Vernon, Wayne, Pompton Lakes and Nutley.

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