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Seeking Bankruptcy Consultant: when ends don't meet

There are times when the logistics of finances catch up with the rest of us.  In an ideal situation, 3 minus 2 would equal 1, where our income exceeds our expenses, and we are left with a little extra.  In a decent situation, 2 minus 2 would equal zero, where we would make just enough to make ends meet.  However, in many situations, 2 minus 3 would equal negative one, where we can't even manage to make enough to keep up with life's daily expenses - food, shelter, medical care, and clothing.  The situation may worsen with years in the negative, where the number could just keep growing and growing.  Perhaps even it may seem that all cards fall in the wrong place, where what little income we may take in, suddenly makes us unqualified for other benefits like food stamps.

An urbanMama recently shared with me a little bit about her situation, where the ends just don't meet.  Feeling underwater and deep in debt is never a good feeling.  Bankruptcy may or may not be an option.  Do you have some resources to share, where she can consider her options, whether it be filing for Chaper 7 or 13, or perhaps negotiating payment plans with creditors?

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I highly suggest Susan Hammitt, AFC, CDFA. After the birth of our son our two incomes went down to one and we got behind on our credit card payments. We were still willing to pay every month but with the fines and interest fees that skyrocketed from missing a few months the minimum payments became unbearable. The stress from having a new child, no second income and the harassing tactics of the credit cards made bankruptcy look like our best choice. Luckily we found Susan and she helped us develope a solid plan to deal with our finances, avoid bankruptcy and settle with the credit cards. I don't suggest doing this on your own, it took a lot of patience and persistence to get out of the hole. But I do trust Susan in the advice she continues to give us and our family has become stronger knowing we have a plan.
Her info is http://www.hammittafc.com

gREAT blog
stop by mine.

http://couponmommyof2.blogspot.com/ and then

Thank you for posting on this subject. After trying to avoid it for a long time, we've arrived at the decision that we need to file chapter 7 bankruptcy. It's been a very private, lonely experience. We've both never had debt in our lives and had great credit. But after having a child, trying to sustain on one to one and a half incomes, then having most of our income devastated by the economy, we were in a corner. I wonder if there are any "support" groups or forums out there. It's one of the roughest journeys, and can put a heavy strain on everything, including marriage. You're not alone, but I know how one can feel that way when it's a topic very few of us feel comfortable enough, even with good friends, to discuss. We've spoken with a couple of attorneys, no solid recommendations though. We're still in process.

I'm really happy to see this post, I work as a collector and I've watched several people walk this journey. Declaring bankruptcy really is the best option for some people. I work in a credit union and one of the services we provide for our members is free access to Consumer Credit Counselling Services. Where I work we strive to be fair and seek a win-win situation but I know that there are many less than ethical collecting places. There are low-income bankruptcy clinics, visit www.lawhelp.org (recommended by Oregon Legal Aid). On the other hand, depending on your debt/income situation, there are often ways to negotiate a lower payment. The bankruptcy rate is up over 30% from 2 years ago so if you're in that situation you are certainly not alone!

We're possibly interested in pursuing the credit counseling/debt settlement route, but are very wary about all of the less ethical companies out there. Does anyone have recommendations of places with reasonable fees, good ratings, etc.?

I went to Leigh Hudson at Oregon Affordable Bankruptcy. She is a mother and is soft spoken and gentle. I really feel I made the right decision.

I recommend Clearpoint in Portland. They're a nonprofit and certified by the national consumer credit counseling org. No outside affiliations. Many services are free.

Dear 'gettingbetter', did you already go through the process? How was your experience with her in court? Thanks.

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