"No Choice But To File Bankruptcy"

Getting Out of Debt Stories

When I was younger, I made the big mistake of moving in with a guy I thought was going to be my forever.

While together, we acquired debt together on a vehicle for me. His credit was better than mine and it was easier to get it in his name. We traded my virtually brand new Chevrolet Aveo in for a Pontiac G-6. I loved the car, but not the payments.

Because my car was so new when we traded it in, we carried a large amount over on the financing for the new car putting the new loan amount at almost $40,000.

It was a poor decision on my part to agree to, but I felt certain everything would be okay since we were doing this together.

Wrong. My fiance and I split about 5 months after purchasing this car together.

The payment was more than I could handle on my own and I gave him the option of taking the car and paying for it himself or me selling it. He said he was going to get rid of his truck and wanted the car. I delivered the car to him and thought nothing more about it. I got myself something more affordable and moved forward with my life.

A couple of months later, I started receiving collection calls about the vehicle payment not being made. I called him multiple times to try to find out what was going on with it (since my name was still on the loan) and couldn't get any response from him.

I started working with the company looking to repossess the car so that they could locate him and the vehicle since he wouldn't cooperate with me. They repossessed the vehicle and I immediately began receiving correspondence about my share of the debt owed...$19,000.

At that time, I was only making about that much each year in my salary. I knew I couldn't pay that amount and they were unwilling to work with me on paying it out. I had no choice but to file bankruptcy in order to clear that debt.

I talked to a lawyer and decided to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and include not only my debt on the vehicle but some unpaid medical debt as well. In total, I ended up filing on almost $30,000 worth of debt.

I hated to take the bankruptcy route because of all the problems I thought it would cause over the years following, but I didn't have much of an option.

The bankruptcy process was actually easy to understand, and any questions I had my attorney and his staff were eager to help me with.

It was rough at first on my credit, but over time I began receiving introductory offers to get secured (and a few unsecured) credit cards to help me rebuild my credit. It has been a struggle over the past several years to rebuild what I destroyed, but it also taught me to budget more effectively and not spend what I don't have.

I am more conscious of what I spend and how as well as learning to save to be better prepared for the unexpected in the future.

Contributed by Caitlin from Arkansas

USA Bankruptcy Guide : Getting Out of Debt Stories : No Choice But To File Bankruptcy