Credit.com: Four things to look for when seeking a debt relief service

Do you have crippling debt?

Are you thinking about declaring bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7 to 10 years and has a detrimental effect on your credit score for even longer.

Individuals can file for bankruptcy in two ways — chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Each method has different qualifications and ramifications. And once someone declares bankruptcy, lenders must stop collecting. Chapter 7 bankruptcy means that all the borrower’s valuable assets are sold and the money gained is used to pay the debt. Chapter 13 prioritizes debts and sets up a 3- to 5-year payment plan.

Bankruptcy doesn’t absolve tax debt, student loans, government fines or alimony and child support.

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