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debtThe United States is a notoriously consumeristic society. Having good credit is a necessity to buy a home and a reliable vehicle. Credit must be built, often through the usage of credit cards and the ability to repay the credit card debt. Sometimes, however, we accumulate debt and get in too far over our heads. Other times, a major unforeseen life event occurs—one which we are unprepared to handle financially. When this happens, filing for bankruptcy may help struggling individuals and families. When considering bankruptcy, the first question on many minds is, “Will it get rid of all of my personal debts”?

Understanding Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a federally approved process through which an individual or a company can reduce their debt. Those who are authorized for the process may have debts written off or repaid under a new agreement. The method used depends directly on the type of bankruptcy approved. The most typical forms of the process are Chapter 11 for businesses or Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 for private consumers, although others are available under appropriate circumstances. These chapters refer to the specific section of the United States Bankruptcy Code that will apply in a given case. Meanwhile, while the process is underway, all collection activities related to your debts—including lawsuits and foreclosure proceedings must stop.

Will All Debts Be Cleared?

If you are wondering whether bankruptcy resets your credit, enabling you to begin as though the debt never occurred, the answer is “no.” Filing for bankruptcy allows those who meet eligibility requirements to rid themselves of some but not all debt. Financial obligations that do not typically qualify to be wiped clean are child support, alimony, taxes, student loans, and secured debt. Although they may not be totally discharged, some may be eligible for a restructured payment plan. Some of the most common discharged liabilities include:

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TX bankrupcy attorney, Texas debt lawyer, Whether you are planning on filing for bankruptcy or simply need assistance in developing a budget, credit counselors can provide you with the tools and resources you need. Unfortunately, not all credit counselors are created equal. In fact, some can leave you worse off than when you started, which makes finding an experienced, reputable credit counselor absolutely essential for your financial future. The following tips can help you find the one most suited for your needs and preferences and improve your chances of finding the financial empowerment you are looking for.

Know Why You Need a Credit Counselor

Each credit counseling agency and provider has an area in which they are best equipped to help their clients. With this in mind, it is critical that you first know why you need credit counseling. To find the answer, consider your goals and examine your current financial situation. If you are filing for bankruptcy, then you will also want to ensure you find a credit counselor that is approved by the United States Department of Justice since those who are not accredited will not be accepted by the courts.

Check and Verify Credentials and Qualifications

While credit counselors that are listed on the Department of Justice’s website most likely carry some of the highest levels of certification and meet some of the most stringent government standards, it is necessary that you check and verify the credentials and qualifications of all other credit counselors. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Financial Counseling Association of America are both renowned agencies that ensure the quality of certified professionals, but the Council of Accreditation is also a reliable accreditation held by qualified credit counselors. You may also wish to check the agency’s rating with the Better Business Bureau to determine if they have any major complaints from other consumers.

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TX bankruptcy attorney, Texas chapter 7 lawyerYou have likely seen TV commercials about the numerous credit cards available or regarding where you can go to calculate your credit score. These shiny advertisements can leave many young adults applying for credit cards without knowing the impact that this can have on their spending habits. Receiving your first colorful card in the mail can quickly lead to two or three more, each with their own amount of debt steadily piling up. While these bills may seem harmless as a young, single college graduate, the debt enclosed with these credit cards can burden you for years to come. As the debt continues to increase, you may be wondering where you can turn for help. Bankruptcy is a valid option; however, its negative impact on credit scores can have most people seeking out financial alternatives first.

Sell Some Assets

The best way to get rid of debt? Pay it off. If you have any assets that you can spare, the money that you can gain from selling these valuables can help alleviate you from the lump sum sitting on your credit cards. Take to digital marketplaces, such as eBay or Craigslist, if you have any jewelry, furniture, or electronics that you are willing to part with. If you have multiple TVs, laptops, antique furniture that you have tucked away in storage, or an old necklace that you never wear, it may be best to see how much money you can earn by selling them to a new owner.

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debtIf you have gotten a bankruptcy, the one thing you do not want to do is to incur more debt; being unable to pay your debt is the reason you filed for bankruptcy, right? Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plans usually last anywhere from three to five years, meaning you must be financially responsible during that time period or you could risk having your case dismissed and being responsible for repaying your debts in full. While it is a good rule of thumb to avoid taking on any further debts during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, sometimes taking on more debt is unavoidable and is a necessity. Incurring new debt during your Chapter 13 repayment period is possible, but there is a certain way you must go about it.

Reasons for Incurring New Debt

Sometimes, life can be unpredictable. Even though you were probably not planning on taking on any new debts during your Chapter 13 repayment period, things can happen and can put you in a situation where there is no other option. Generally, incurring new debt during a Chapter 13 repayment period is frowned upon and is only permitted when the debt is for something that is considered a necessity. Common reasons for incurring debt during a repayment plan include:

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TX bankruptcy lawyerThere is more than one type of bankruptcy, although Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies are the most common. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your attorney and a team of other professionals are able to help you develop a repayment plan to pay back your debts. The repayment plan lasts for three to five years, depending on a variety of circumstances. Chapter 13 bankruptcies can be beneficial to individuals because it allows you to keep certain assets, such as your vehicle or your home. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, certain debts must be repaid before other debts.

Priority Debts

Priority debts are exactly what they sound like -- priority over other debts. These debts must be included in any repayment plan you enter and the plan must make sure that your priority debts are paid off first and in full. Typically priority debts include:

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