Today’s world is filled with stories about people who are struggling to pay their bills and keep their heads above water. It is undoubtedly a horrible feeling to end up behind in your credit card payments. Threatening letters come in the mail, late fees and interest on the debt is piling up and you really are not sure what can be done. While there are several options for dealing with credit card debt, some feel that the only way out is to file for bankruptcy or work out a settlement with the card company by hiring a lawyer. However, there are a number of reasons to think twice before taking this step. Need Credit Card Help? Read This Before You Hire An Attorney:
- Cost: Filing for bankruptcy costs money. Not only will you need to hire an attorney to guide you and file all of the necessary paperwork, but their fees plus the cost charged by the court for filing the paperwork can add up quickly. You will need multiple copies of paperwork such as tax returns and your credit report so this is an additional cost. Even if you hire a lawyer to simply settle with the credit card company, you will be incurring substantial attorney fees.
- Options: There are ways to legally erase your debt other than to file bankruptcy. Many think going through Chapter 7 is the only way to lose the debt, but credit card forgiveness programs do the exact same thing without the large legal fees.
- Time: We think about the monetary costs of legal issues such as bankruptcy, but forget about the time it takes from our everyday lives to go through legal proceedings. Credit counseling is now required when you file for bankruptcy. The time you will spend at your attorney’s office, gathering paperwork, in counseling and in front of a judge will take you away from your job and your family.
- Mental well-being: We can easily see the financial impact that filing for bankruptcy, but there is an emotional cost as well. The stigma of having filed for bankruptcy, and the burden you feel while sitting in court can create stress that affects you mentally and physically.
Before hiring an attorney to get you out from under credit card debt or file for bankruptcy, consider other options. There are many things you can do before taking a more drastic step. Contact the credit card agency to see if they can lower the interest on your cards, or ask for financial assistance in the form of a loan. Bankruptcy has long-term consequences and should only be taken when all other options have been exhausted.