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Bankruptcy considerations

I've been considering filing for bankruptcy, as i am deeply in debt. What effect will bankruptcy have on my ability to obtain credit to buy a home or a car? Can I keep my furniture, TV, etc.? I cannot afford a lawyer. I need more information. Anon.

If you file for bankruptcy, you will need to find and pay a lawyer. You should look into two other alternatives first: (1) Have you tried credit counseling? You can probably find an office of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service near you by looking in your local or nearby metropolitan telephone directory. Ask it for help. The cost, if any, is minimal; (2) new bankruptcy provisions became effective last Oct. 1, and established an easier Chapter 13 route which protects debtors from creditors while they pay off debts over a three-year period.

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If neither of these alternatives proves effective and you file for bankruptcy , your credit rating will suffer with certain operations -- buying a house for one. But with others it will likely be unaffected. Your bankruptcy will be reported to credit reference inquirers for 10 years -- down from the previous 14 . You may keep your car if your equity is $1,200 or less. Your TV is questionable. Exemptions are now part of federal law, although states may permit differing ones. For more information, seek out the trustee of the bankruptcy court in your area.

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