How Far Behind Must You Be on Your Bills Before You File Wilmington Bankruptcy? Skip to main content

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How Far Behind Must You Be on Your Bills Before You File Wilmington Bankruptcy?



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When Wilmington consumers are ready to consider bankruptcy, they are usually behind on their bills. But just how far behind must you be on your debts before bankruptcy is an appropriate solution? Many clients that come in to see us do so because they are behind on obligations like their mortgage or auto and are facing foreclosure or repossession. Bankruptcy can stop both of these consequences, but it can also be used to regain control of your finances before things spin this far out of control.

Should You File Wilmington Bankruptcy Sooner or Later?

Many people tend to think of bankruptcy as an option of last recourse, so they let things get worse and fall further behind before they use this option. In fact, many people wait until the last possible moment, until a couple of weeks or a few days before their home is set for a foreclosure sale before they file bankruptcy to stop the process. While it is true that filing bankruptcy even a day before a foreclosure sale will stop it, it might be more strategic to file sooner rather than later.

Do You Have to Be Delinquent or Owe a Certain Amount to File Bankruptcy? 

You might assume there’s a dollar limit on what you must owe to take advantage of bankruptcy protection. Or you might think that you must be a certain number of days late or have accounts in collections before you can use bankruptcy. Neither is true. In fact, as long as you meet the basic requirements including time between bankruptcy filings, income, valid residency, etc., you can file bankruptcy whenever you want, even if you’re a little behind on your bills.

When Is It Too Soon to File for Bankruptcy? 

Although bankruptcy need not be seen as an option of last resort, it also should not be the first thing you do to try and eliminate debt. If you’ve fallen a bit behind, but think you could catch up on your own, without intervention, that’s probably the safest route. Many lenders and credit card issuers will work with you if you have a short-term financial crisis that’s put you a month or so behind on your payments so long as you communicate with them to come up with a plan to catch up soon.

When Is It Better to Delay Filing Bankruptcy? 

In some cases, delaying a bankruptcy filing might be strategic. For instance, if you’re unemployed and fell behind on bills, but are still jobless, you might want to wait until you find a new job to file. Why? Without a job, your bills will keep piling up until you're gainfully employed. If you clean the slate of all your bills, but then your joblessness lingers, you’ll have more debts amassing and no solution to deal with them. By waiting to file Wilmington bankruptcy, you may get more out of your bankruptcy filing.

What Are the Advantages to Filing Sooner? 

Most Wilmington bankruptcies come after a life event such as divorce, job loss, accident or illness, or anything significant that increased expenses and dropped income. By waiting until the “event” is complete and the damage is done to file bankruptcy you may get greater debt relief. But in the interim, you’ll likely be dealing with debt collectors and the stress of being behind on bills. Once you file bankruptcy, there’s instant peace of mind knowing the harassing calls about past-due obligations are done.

If you’re not sure if you should file bankruptcy now or wait until later, that’s part of what the initial bankruptcy consultation helps you decide. Contact a reputable local Wilmington bankruptcy lawyer to schedule a free appointment. The initial chat should be free and with no obligation. Bring in your bills and other financial documents so the attorney can get an accurate snapshot of your finances and offer the best advice for your unique circumstances.

Contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt today for a free appointment. Call +1-919-646-2654 now for a free Wilmington bankruptcy consultation at one of our convenient locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington.

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