Hi – I am so sorry that you are feeling stressed and worried. It’s always hard to feel financially unsafe, and it’s even harder during the holidays when the pressure to buy is at its greatest. In this short answer forum, I don’t feel as if I can give you a complete answer for your personal situation, but I can provide you with safe, non-selling links to more information to help you make a decision.
Bankruptcy is a difficult, harrowing, upsetting, intrusive experience that can cause long-term damage to your financial health, but it can also be the best solution to extreme debt in some situations. The Federal Trade Commission has a couple of great articles that might help you: “Debt Relief or Bankruptcy?” and “Filing for Bankruptcy – What to Know?”. Take a look at these and see if the information helps you to make a decision. The IRS publication on Chapter 13 bankruptcy may also be helpful. Additionally, the US Court system has lots of information about bankruptcy.
As you look more into this decision, please be very careful about where you search for information and who you believe. Notice that the links above are all to government sites that aren’t trying to sell you anything. Although there are many reputable agencies and groups who help with debt consolidation and bankruptcy, others can be unhelpful or even criminal. So be careful where you go for advice.
Again, hang in there. The first step in resolving a problem is acknowledging that you have one, so I think you are on the way to financial recovery. Please write back if you need more help. Best wishes to you and thanks for writing.
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