Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a terrific option for some people, but it is not something everyone needs to use. How do you know if it’s an option you should utilize or an unneeded step, when perhaps all you need to do is make a few different financial changes?

One thing to do is to really take the time to consider the options you have. Don’t just rush into bankruptcy as soon as you have trouble with your debt. Think about ways to manage your money and make payments. There may be simple things you can do, like driving a used car, rather than a new one, or living in a building with lower rent. If there aren’t any options that would get you where you want to be, that’s when bankruptcy may be ideal.

It’s also crucial to think about what debt you have and whether or not it can even be eliminated. For example, maybe you have child support payments that you don’t think are fair and that you’d really like to get rid of. If so, you should know that bankruptcy can’t change child support obligations. Things like tax money owed and alimony payments also can’t be changed.

Furthermore, it’s wise to consider your financial plans for the future. Bankruptcy can be nice because the debt you have may be so much that you know you can’t pay it back, so it’s going to be around forever. By eliminating it, you’re in a better position to make your financial dreams a reality, even with a lower credit score, because the slate is wiped clean. Once you understand your end goals, you can then look into your bankruptcy options in New York with confidence that you’re making the right decision.

Source: FIndLaw, “Is Bankruptcy a Good Idea for You?,” accessed Dec. 22, 2015