LIFE AFTER BANKRUPTCY: WHAT TO EXPECT
Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is hard enough. But once you have made that decision, you have to move forward with your life. Filing for bankruptcy can give you a sense of relief as you look to erase your debts and get things back on track. After you have discharged your debts, however, there may still be some lingering issues that need to be resolved before you can truly move on with your life. That’s why it is vital for you to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney who can help you craft a plan for dealing with bankruptcy and guide you through this critical time in your life.
If you are ready for a clean slate and to begin moving forward, the dedicated bankruptcy attorneys at Bond Law Office are ready to help you prepare. We can assist you with taking the necessary steps before filing for bankruptcy and advise you about how you can be best positioned moving forward. We handle bankruptcy cases in Fayetteville, Harrison, Eureka Springs, Clarksville, Waldron, Mena, Van Buren, and all throughout the River Valley.
Harassment From Creditors
If you have made the decision to file for bankruptcy, chances are that you have dealt with harassment from creditors. Creditor harassment can take many forms, but usually includes the following tactics:
Repeated phone calls or texts meant to annoy or abuse you
Threats of violence or other kinds of harm
Obscene, abusive, or vulgar language
Sharing your information publicly to shame you into paying your debts
Contacting you in the middle of the night or at your place of work when you have requested that they not
Once you file for bankruptcy, an "automatic stay" is activated. An automatic stay means that your wage garnishment stops, and debt collectors & creditors are not allowed to continue contacting, calling, or harassing you any longer. Bankruptcy is a matter of public record, but aside from your creditors (who receive notice), no one will usually know that you’ve filed unless you tell them. Still, creditors oftentimes pretend to be unaware of the bankruptcy filing or simply lie about your legal responsibility to pay the debt. This is a violation of federal bankruptcy law and possibly the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). If the calls continue, consider contacting one of our bankruptcy attorneys to assist you.
Your Credit After Bankruptcy
Your credit will be affected after bankruptcy, no matter what type you’ve filed for. The results on your credit report can be affected for up to ten years, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of your ability to recover. In fact, while companies or individuals dealing with your credit (such as banks or landlords) will have to look at your finances and decide to take the risk, the negative effect lessens over time and as you make smarter financial decisions.
How to Fix Your Credit
Filing for bankruptcy is only the first step in getting back on the road to financial recovery. Once the bankruptcy is settled, you will need to focus on rebuilding your credit. Although your credit score will rise and you’ll eventually qualify for loans again, recovery is a gradual process. Some ways that you can rebuild your credit include:
Know Where You Stand
It’s essential to know where you stand with your credit score and credit history. Every 12 months, you can get a free credit report from all three credit reporting agencies without penalty. When you get your credit report yearly, you can review it, report mistakes, and check that everything is correct. Once you know where you are financially and with your credit score, you can start moving forward.
Don’t Jump Into New Big Loans
It’s important that you understand building credit is a slow process. Having an already-open credit account is what you should use in that slow process – closing it could make your credit score worse. Using that account and charging a minimal amount per month to pay off can slowly build up that score.
You must be careful when opening new credit accounts. Not only should you avoid taking out loans unless you’re absolutely sure they can be paid off in time, but you should also try to keep your payments low. Up to 35% of your credit score is determined by your payment history, so it is important to ensure that your other bills are paid on time as well.
Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney
When you’ve been struggling with debt for so long that you’ve begun to feel hopeless, you need to know that help is available. You don’t have to live with creditors harassing you for money you don’t have and payments you can’t make. Bond Law Office believes that bankruptcy is a benefit to all of us. If you would like to take the next step to financial recovery, contact us today for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in and around Fayetteville, Fort Smith, and throughout the River Valley.