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Debt Resolution vs. Bankruptcy

Posted By Joette Melendez, Thursday, August 15, 2019

Both debt resolution and bankruptcy are strategies that can help you pay off credit card debt, meaning both strategies can stop harassing phone calls and threats from creditors. However, there is a difference between the two! Each strategy provides different risks and protections. The following are a few examples: 


Debt Resolution

Debt resolution is when you attempt to negotiate a resolution of your debt for a lower amount than what you owe. As a general rule, people who pursue debt settlement can’t afford to pay off all their debts at once and cannot afford to make monthly minimum payments, which allows interest to accrue. A settlement allows debtors to stop the debt amount from increasing and resolves the debt without paying the full amount up-front. This typically saves debtors hundreds if not thousands of dollars while simultaneously improving their credit scores, although Debt Resolution does not guarantee results. Once a settlement is paid, the account is resolved. There is no negative impact on your credit report. However, creditors are not required to enter into a settlement agreement. They can pursue any legal action to collect the debt.



Bankruptcy, on the other hand, provides legal protection. Through Bankruptcy, you can either reorganize your debt to enable you to pay it off or get rid of the debt completely. Bankruptcy requires you to file a petition with your local federal court, which you certify under oath. Bankruptcy also requires you to pay attorney fees and costs associated with filing in court.


a) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt repayment plan. Under Chapter 13, debts such as student loans, property taxes and spousal support obligations are made through a repayment schedule that lasts between 3-5 years. Debts, such as credit card debt, are terminated, completed or reorganized. Once you file for bankruptcy protection, creditors are no longer able to contact you directly or charge interest or late fees on your debt. 


b) Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the liquidation chapter. It covers debtors who have unsecured debts that exceed their income. Typically, unsecured debts are accumulated after divorce, illness and job loss. A popular myth about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is that you will automatically lose your stuff. This is not true! During your free consultation, we will analyze and determine if your property is exempt. Filing for either form of bankruptcy will provide immediate protection from repossessions, court proceedings and wage garnishments. Filing bankruptcy may impact your credit report for up to 10 years after filing.


Don’t risk attempting to file your petition alone in an attempt to save money. You face a high risk of having your petition rejected if you are unsure how to navigate the Bankruptcy Code.


This content was written by one of our panel members, Willie “Buddy” Huntley III, an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia.


***If you or someone you know is faced with Bankruptcy issues, please call

Atlanta Bar Association's Lawyer Referral & Information Service

at 404-521-0777.***


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