When Filing For Bankruptcy is the Best Option

Q: I am in over my head with bills and expenses, just barely making it from month to month. I was doing okay until I had a major medical issue earlier this year, and my ex lost his job and fell behind on child support. The double whammy has left me at my wits end and afraid that all the stress I’m under is bad for my kids. I’d consider consolidation, but I’m afraid that I couldn’t make the payments. How can I tell if I should be filing for bankruptcy?

A: First, I am sorry about your health problems and the hard times you’re going through. I have some ideas that might help in addition to/instead of bankruptcy, but I would need to actually see you here in the office and get a look at your documents before I could offer definitive advice. Our initial consultations are free, so please take advantage of that!


You’re not alone in feeling the need to file for bankruptcy, almost 300,000 non-business filings were made in the first half of 2016. Knowing when to file is another thing entirely, so let’s go to a checklist.


  • I am putting everyday expenses on my credit cards such as food, utilities, and personal care.
  • I am using credit cards to pay my other credit cards, and taking payday loans every pay period.
  • I have collection actions, garnishments, foreclosure, or eviction proceedings pending.
  • I am currently unable to meet my obligations and do not see this changing anytime soon.
  • I am suffering from the amount of stress that my financial situation is causing me.
  • No matter what I do, I’m in more debt every month.
  • I have more debts than I have assets and cash to cover them.

If you are hitting one or two of these criteria, you might be able to get by with a consolidation and some financial counseling. If you are facing two or more, you may actually be better served by filing for bankruptcy as soon as possible. People look at filing for bankruptcy as losing everything that they have; instead it should be considered a chance for a fresh start while preserving some of what you still have.


There are some requirements that you have to meet. You have to pass a means test, attend credit counseling or have your filing dismissed, and you must be a permanent resident of the state of Florida.. While filing for bankruptcy is not without consequences, it can whittle your debt load down to a manageable size, save some of your property, and your sanity. It’s not a step to take lightly, or on your own – even Chapter 7 is a complicated legal procedure, and you should have the advice that only a bankruptcy attorney can give. Don’t wait until you’re down to nothing to file, as filing now can help to preserve what you do have. Call us and set up that free appointment, and we’ll get started getting you out from under.

About Chad Van Horn

Chad T. Van Horn, Esq. is a South Florida business leader and founding partner attorney of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Through a combination of dedicated philanthropy, spirited entrepreneurship and legal expertise, he applies his resources and network to helping people. Learn more about Chad Van Horn

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