Many Virginians struggle with overwhelming debt. An unexpected medical condition, the sudden loss of a job or even a bad turn in the economy can leave an individual facing financial uncertainty. While many individuals remain prideful and try to dig themselves out of their financial hole, in a lot of cases this just makes matters worse. This is especially true because debt relief options are available to those who qualify, meaning that struggling to make good on insurmountable debt is just delaying a fresh financial start.

One of the best ways to rid yourself of unwanted debt is to seek bankruptcy protection. Chapter 13 is one form of bankruptcy that individuals can seek. Here, an individual creates a manageable repayment plan that they must adhere to for a specified period of time. If the plan is successfully completed, then some debts may be forgiven.

In order to pursue this form of bankruptcy, though, individuals must meet certain requirements. To start, an individual’s unsecured debts must be under a certain amount, which is about $395,000. Also, an individual cannot pursue bankruptcy if he or she has had a similar petition dismissed within the last six months for failing to appear in court or failing to abide by court orders. An individual is also required to complete credit counseling within 180 of the petition’s filing. Those who fail to meet these requirements may not be able to pursue Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but other bankruptcy options, such as Chapter 7, may be available to them.

Pursuing bankruptcy is a very real way to secure debt relief. However, the process can be fraught with legal complications. Failing to adequately address these issues can result in a dismissed petition and a prolonged period of indebtedness. To better ensure a smooth bankruptcy process, Virginia residents should consider working closely with an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law.