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Filing Bankruptcy

Feel free to use this tip sheet / checklist as you tackle your own ""do-it-yourself"" organizing projects. If you would like to REPRINT or DISTRIBUTE this information, please click here for reprinting instructions.


  • unemployment
  • large medical expenses
  • seriously over extended credit
  • marital problems
  • large unexpected expenses


  • takes longer than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy
  • leaves your credit in better standing
  • give you up to 5 years to pay off your debts
  • you're in bankruptcy for up to 5 years
  • on credit report 7 years after finished paying off your debts


  • the most damaging form of bankruptcy to your credit
  • out of bankruptcy in 6 months and you don't repay any debt
  • shows on your credit report for 10 years from the date of filing
  • must reside, have a place of business, or property in the US
  • may not have been granted Chapter 7 discharge within 6 years
  • may not have completed a Chapter 13 plan
  • may not have a bankruptcy filing dismissed for cause in 180 days
  • don't have enough to pay on your debts after paying for necessities


  • taxes
  • spousal and child support
  • debts arising out of willful or malicious misconduct
  • liability from driving while intoxicated
  • debts from a prior bankruptcy
  • student loans
  • criminal fines and penalties
  • certain luxury purchases over $1000 within 60 days of filing
  • cash advances aggregating $1000 within 60 days of filing
  • debts involving materially false financial statements


  • go through Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS)
  • change your lifestyle to fit your income
  • sell the second car
  • pull equity out of your home
  • apply for a non-secured signature loan
  • get a loan from a relative
  • sell your home and pay off your debts with the proceeds, then rent
  • cash out your 401K / retirement benefits
  • sell some family heirlooms / jewelry / guns


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