Filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision for some Tennesseans. It’s a big decision; it can come with some stigma. But in many instances bankruptcy is the right choice for putting a tough time in the rear-view mirror and getting on with one’s life. Below are some pros and cons that Tennesseans will want to consider as they decide whether a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for them.

There are several advantages. First, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the fastest form of bankruptcy. From filing to finish, Chapter 7 bankruptcies typically last about six months. By contrast, many other debt-repayment programs can take much longer, often as much as six years.

Second, Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows filers to keep certain essentials. That caveat means that, if structured properly, a filer can exit a Chapter 7 bankruptcy with many of their most important assets in tow.

Third, filing for bankruptcy often times puts an immediate halt to payments to creditors. That’s important for Tennesseans who cannot afford to keep up with those payments.

But, with the good comes some bad. One bad is that you will lose many of the assets you’ve spent a lifetime acquiring. Another is that filing will harm your credit history for several years, though this may be a wash since not paying bills is not great for a person’s credit history either. And, finally, not all debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy — such as certain student loans.

Bankruptcy is a big choice. To learn whether it is the right one, Tennesseans may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Source: Money Instructor, “The Pros & Cons of Making Yourself Bankrupt–Chapter 7,” Accessed May 16, 2015