The thought of filing for bankruptcy is frightening and overwhelming. However, if you've been struggling with insurmountable debt for months or years, filing for bankruptcy may give you financial peace once the process is over. It can be a confusing time, so talking to a bankruptcy lawyer can help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you and to learn what you can expect. Here are a few things to consider about filing for bankruptcy.

Your Credit Will Be Affected for Several Years

Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for seven to ten years depending on the type, so it will take you a long time to get your credit score back to perfect. However, if you're currently behind on payments and having financial difficulties, your credit could already be in bad shape. Even though bankruptcy stays with you a long time, it doesn't mean you'll not get credit for ten years. Once your bankruptcy has been discharged, you may still get a car loan, credit card, or even a mortgage, as long as your financial situation has improved and stabilized. It may take a few years to get credit again, but that gives you plenty of time to get your finances in order first.

Some Debt Can't Be Eliminated

One reason to talk to a bankruptcy attorney when you're thinking about filing is so you understand what debts you can eliminate and what you can't. In the same way, you want to know what assets you can keep and what you'll have to give up. Knowing these things gives you a clearer picture of how the process will affect you. For example, if a large chunk of your debt is student loans and past due income taxes, you'll want to talk to an attorney about your chances for eliminating them. Debt like that along with child support and money you owe someone after a court ruling might not be erased in a bankruptcy.

It's also difficult to eliminate secured debt unless you give up the car or house. However, laws vary by state, and in some states it's possible you can keep a car or house when you file bankruptcy, but you also keep the debt associated with them. Sorting all this out seems complicated, but an attorney can help with ease. An attorney can also increase your chances of successfully eliminating as much debt as possible, no matter the complexity of your case.

You Can Get a Fresh Start after Bankruptcy

The best thing about bankruptcy is that it allows you to have a fresh start. You might be required to attend credit counseling and debt management classes as part of the bankruptcy process. This education can be helpful if you have problems controlling money and sticking to a budget. However, it's possible you got into debt due to an illness or accident beyond your control. It could take years to pay off the debt, and you might struggle with finances the whole time. Eliminating as much debt as possible gives you a fresh start on building a new financial future.