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Debt consolidation and negotiation are alternatives to bankruptcy. Some individuals are able to manage their debt by consolidating it or negotiating better terms. This is advantageous if you want to keep your property, or if you want to minimize the harm to your credit. Bankruptcy, however, may be a more viable option if you want protection from creditors. The bankruptcy attorneys at Anidjar & Levine have assessed the financial situation of many local individuals. We can help you determine a strong strategy to help you get back on track financially.

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Advantages of Debt Consolidation and Negotiation

Debt consolidation involves taking out one large loan to pay off your smaller debts. You can also work with a credit counseling company to negotiate better terms on your existing debt. Debt consolidation and negotiation only reduces your overall debt if the interest rate on the larger loan is lower than the interest rate on any of your other debts, and if you are able to secure a lower monthly payment.

A key advantage of debt consolidation and negotiation is that the matter stays off your credit history. Bankruptcy stays on your credit history for at least seven years. If you can negotiate with your creditors or consolidate your debt, the matter stays between you and your creditors.

Another benefit is that you remain eligible for mortgages and other loans. Bankruptcy prevents you from obtaining a mortgage or other loan for a certain period of time. For example, the Federal Housing Administration will only consider a mortgage application from someone filing under Chapter 7 if it has been at least two years since the person received a bankruptcy discharge. Debt consolidation and negotiation, however, will not make you ineligible for mortgages or other loans. Your credit report may show that you obtained a debt consolidation loan, but the loan itself is unlikely to affect your credit rating.

Debt consolidation also makes it easier to make payments on your debts. Instead of paying multiple creditors, you make a single payment for all your debt to one creditor each month. This is similar to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where a debtor makes a single payment to the bankruptcy trustee each month for the duration of his or her repayment plan.

You can also keep your credit cards with debt consolidation. Although credit cards can make it difficult to stay on track financially, they are helpful in emergencies. You should, however, pay your credit card balance in full each month to avoid racking up additional debt.

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Debt consolidation and negotiation are not always effective, and they have their risks. Your creditors may simply refuse to work with you. If you used your property as collateral for a debt consolidation loan, you will lose it if you default. The lender may also have the right to take other property based on the terms of your agreement. You are also more likely to be in debt longer because of the lower interest rate on your debt consolidation loan.

There are other alternatives to managing your debt. In some cases, the advantages associated with bankruptcy outweigh any of its risks.

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When Bankruptcy Makes Sense

Bankruptcy is a more viable option if your lenders refuse to negotiate better terms or if you would rather not use your property as collateral on a debt consolidation loan. By filing for bankruptcy, you can:

  • Stop creditors from harassing you to make payments on your debts;
  • Place an automatic stay on most creditors’ attempts to collect on outstanding balances;
  • Discharge your unsecured debts in the future; and
  • Potentially stop foreclosure and vehicle repossession.

Debt consolidation certainly has its advantages, but bankruptcy may offer more protection and ultimately a better chance to make a new start financially.

Seek the Advice of a Bankruptcy Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

The bankruptcy lawyers at Anidjar & Levine can help you decide what financial path is right for you. We offer skilled counseling for clients in Fort Lauderdale and other Florida cities. Our lawyers will address the potential benefits and risks associated with debt consolidation and negotiation. If you decide to proceed with bankruptcy instead, we can provide diligent representation at every step of the process. Call us at 800-747-3733 or fill out our online form to schedule a confidential consultation at no cost.