Job Loss and Bankruptcy in Dallas: What You Need to Know

By Derek Prosser
Partner

Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful experiences. In an instant, your financial security and sense of identity can be turned upside down. Without a steady paycheck, the bills quickly pile up, and making ends meet becomes a daily struggle. For many, the mounting debt and constant calls from creditors can feel overwhelming and hopeless.

If you’ve lost your job and are drowning in debt, know that you are not alone. Bankruptcy exists as a legal tool to help people in your exact situation get a fresh financial start. It is not a personal failure but rather a path forward out of a difficult time. Bankruptcy can put an end to the collection calls and provide much-needed relief from the stress and anxiety of unmanageable debt.

If you find yourself in this situation in Dallas, it’s essential to know that you’re not alone and that there are options available to help. Toronjo & Prosser Law can help you handle this difficult time and explore the possibilities for a brighter financial future.

What Happens When You Lose Your Job 

One of the most immediate and significant consequences of losing your job is the sudden loss of income. Even if you receive severance pay or unemployment benefits, it likely will not fully replace your previous salary. This drop in income can quickly lead to financial strain and instability.

Some of the potential financial impacts of job loss include:

  • Difficulty paying bills and meeting basic living expenses like rent or mortgage, utilities, food, transportation, etc. Without your regular paycheck, you may struggle to keep up with these essential costs.
  • Draining emergency savings and retirement accounts. To make ends meet after a job loss, many people are forced to tap into their savings and retirement funds much earlier than planned. This can have long-term ramifications for financial security.
  • Accumulating debt and damaging credit. When income is reduced, some turn to credit cards or loans to bridge the gap. Relying heavily on credit and falling behind on payments can lead to mounting debt and credit damage that lingers long after the period of unemployment.
  • Losing health insurance and incurring medical debt. For many, a job loss also means losing employer-sponsored health coverage. Paying out of pocket for medical care or COBRA premiums to extend coverage can be a major added expense at an already challenging financial time.

Bankruptcy: A Possible Solution 

If you’re drowning in debt and can’t see a way out, bankruptcy might be an option to consider. Bankruptcy is a legal process that helps people who owe too much money get a fresh start. Many people think bankruptcy is a bad thing, but it’s just a tool to help you get your finances back under control.

There are two main types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The right one for you will depend on your specific financial situation.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as “liquidation” bankruptcy. If you qualify for Chapter 7, a bankruptcy trustee might sell some of your belongings to pay off some of your debts. However, many of your items, like your house, car, and other necessities, will typically be protected under Texas law.

One good thing about Chapter 7 is that it’s quick, usually only taking a few months. Once your debts are erased, you can start rebuilding your credit. But it’s important to know that filing for Chapter 7 will hurt your credit score and might make it harder to get credit in the future.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called a “reorganization” bankruptcy. In this type of bankruptcy, you create a plan to pay off some of your debts over three to five years. You’ll make regular payments to a bankruptcy trustee, who will then pay your creditors according to the plan.

A significant benefit of Chapter 13 is that you can keep your property, including your house, as long as you make your mortgage payments. It can also help you catch up on missed payments over time.

However, Chapter 13 takes longer than Chapter 7, and you need to have a steady income to qualify and make the required payments. You might also still have to pay off certain debts, like student loans and child support, that can’t be erased in bankruptcy.

Other Options to Consider 

Bankruptcy isn’t the only way to deal with debt. Before deciding to file for bankruptcy, it’s worth looking into other options that might provide relief without the long-term effects of bankruptcy.

One option is debt consolidation. This means taking out a new loan to pay off your debts, usually at a lower interest rate. By combining all your debts into one monthly payment, you can reduce your overall debt and make it easier to manage your money.

Another possibility is debt settlement. You work with a debt settlement company to negotiate with your creditors during this process. The goal is to get them to accept a lower amount than you owe and consider the debt paid off. While this can be an excellent way to reduce your debt, it’s essential to know that debt settlement can hurt your credit score and might have tax consequences.

If you need help managing your money but still need to get a ton of debt, credit counseling and budgeting help can be helpful. Many non-profit organizations offer free or low-cost credit counseling services. They can help you create a budget, manage your debts, and plan for long-term financial stability.

Contact a Dallas Bankruptcy Lawyer For Help

Losing your job and facing money troubles can be incredibly stressful and make you feel alone, but it’s important to remember that you have options and that help is available to you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by debt and are concerned there is no way out, talking to a skilled Dallas bankruptcy lawyer from Toronjo & Prosser Law can be an excellent first step.

By understanding your options and working with an experienced professional, you can make informed choices about your financial future. Whether you choose bankruptcy or other solutions like debt consolidation or credit counseling, know there is hope for a better tomorrow.

About the Author
Derek Prosser understands that clients need help and need answers and that in order to properly address those concerns, clients need to deal with an attorney first and always, not just an assistant or paralegal.  By effectively counseling from the outset of a case, Toronjo & Prosser Law can anticipate and address potential problems before they arise, as opposed to when they’ve already surfaced (the “Counsel Later” approach), and, in the end, strive for a seamless representation.