by Mark E. Godbey, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist
The disadvantages to filing bankruptcy are much fewer than the advantages. The main disadvantage is that the bankruptcy is going to be on your credit record for 10 years in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and for seven years in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you successfully complete your Chapter 13 payment plan and receive your discharge. For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it can take 3 to 5 years to regain a normal credit report and credit score.
There is still a stigma attached to filing bankruptcy, very often with individuals who were raised to try and pay their bills. There are also very understandable feelings of embarrassment and guilt felt by any person considering filing bankruptcy. It is always a difficult decision to file bankruptcy: do I struggle with my financial problems for 5, 10, 15 or 20 years and get through them or do I file bankruptcy and start over? Since bankruptcy allows you to wipe clean your old debts, most people who do file are in a better position to pay their current bills and are actually much less credit risks that they were before they filed.
Any individual considering bankruptcy should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss his or her specific situation.