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Michael D. Hart, P.C.
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540-627-6520
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What to know about bankruptcy

In 2017, there were 765,863 non-business bankruptcy filings throughout America. While it may be an emotional decision to file, Virginia residents and others can get past the short- and long-term consequences of doing so. For instance, taking out a secured credit card can help someone rebuild his or her credit score and history after a bankruptcy. It may also be beneficial to continue paying a mortgage or auto loan after filing.

Other ways to reestablish credit after a bankruptcy is to pay current and future bills on time. Sticking to a budget reduces the chances that an individual accrues new debt or cannot pay bills on time. The amount of time that a bankruptcy stays on a person's credit report depends on the type of protection he or she seeks. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on a credit report for 10 years while a Chapter 13 filing stays on a credit report for seven years.

There are many different types of debt that can be dismissed in a bankruptcy case, such as medical bills, car payments and rent. Student loans, back tax debt and child support payments are rarely discharged in either type of case. Those who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy generally get to keep their homes, cars and other property during the three- or five-year repayment period.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an effective way for someone to obtain debt relief while not losing his or her assets. As a general rule, creditors cannot take collection actions, such as repossessing a car or foreclosing on a home. They also cannot contact debtors in most cases. Those who are thinking about filing may want to contact an attorney to learn more about the benefits of doing so and if it is right for them.

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Michael D. Hart, P.C.
19 Church Street Southwest
Roanoke, VA 24011

Phone: 540-627-6520
Fax: 540-342-7655
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