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How to successfully emerge from bankruptcy

New Jersey residents likely agree that not having to declare bankruptcy, and being financially stable, is the most ideal situation. Unfortunately, in a still-recovering economy, this is not a reality for everyone. Debt can accumulate from factors outside of your control, like divorce and unexpected medical bills, and can even build without notice until it is too much for an individual to manage anymore. For many, filing bankruptcy is the answer to a dire financial situation, and will help them regain stable financial footing.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings are two major types of personal bankruptcy alternatives available to residents in New Jersey and anywhere in the United States. Both types of bankruptcy involve a plan to pay back creditors, whether that comes from a liquidation of assets or a formal reorganization providing for repayment of debt over a stipulated period of time. This process is not where bankruptcy ends, though. While bankruptcy allows consumers to restart their financial lives, it can hurt your credit score, so you'll have to work to rebuild it.

After bankruptcy, it is a good idea to manage your credit in a way that will keep you on a steady path to financial stability. It can be difficult to obtain loans right after bankruptcy, so some suggest using a secured credit card to show credit bureaus that you can manage your money responsibly.

Bankruptcy can be a daunting process for a resident of New Jersey, or any other state. However, it is often a necessary process as well as a manageable one. Repayment plans can often take upwards of five years to complete, and rebuilding credit post-bankruptcy is not always a simple or easy process, but with appropriate planning and financial management it is possible to emerge from bankruptcy with a clean slate.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "How to Survive Bankruptcy," Angie Mohr, May 9, 2012

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