The decision to declare bankruptcy is never entered into lightly but one of the drawbacks that isn't often considered is the long term effects.
Declaring bankruptcy is by no means a quick fix. It's a complicated process and requires a lot of paperwork and time going through the proceedings. But several years after the case closes you can hope to have put the debt behind you and moved on.
Not so fast. That dream does come true in some ways, but the decision to declare bankruptcy will follow you for a long time.
A declaration of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, total bankruptcy, which allows you to cancel the majority of debts will also stay on your credit report for 10 years.
It shows up every time a prospective landlord, credit card, or lender runs your credit to see if you are a good bet for loaning money. In contrast, other credit indicators only stay on your report for seven years.
Debt is not kind to your credit report so it may be worthwhile to cut your losses and try to start fresh. But it's also worth asking if there is a way to pay down the debt and avoid having a long term mark on your record.
Once the bankruptcy is taken off your record, you may have to disclose it in the future. Insurance companies and potential employers may ask if you have ever declared bankruptcy.
While you do have to be honest in the application process, you don't have to disclose bankruptcy information unless directly asked. An employer can ask about bankruptcy but cannot discriminate in hiring because of your financial status.
Bankruptcy is a complicated process and it can be overwhelming. If you don't know where to start, check out FindLaw's Free Guide to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to get started.
There are many things to consider when facing bankruptcy and it's a good idea to talk to a trusted attorney to review your situation. Avoid regret by knowing the short and long term effects before you take action.