If you find yourself in a situation where your debts are piling up at a faster rate than you'll ever be able to catch up with then it may be time to consider claiming personal bankruptcy. While bankruptcy is never meant for those that don't want to pay back their debts, it can be a very real option for people that have exhausted other traditional means of debt reduction. It goes without saying that a bankruptcy claim is serious business and will inflict serious damage to your credit rating and your ability to secure financing for a long period of time. With that said, it's a very real option that can allow people to start their lives anew.

If you think you might be a candidate for a bankruptcy filing then it's important to understand how the process is initiated, and also what do expect during the process itself. You should proceed with your claim only after you've been made aware of the consequences and qualifications for filing, and preferably after you've spoken to a qualified bankruptcy attorney. In fact, consulting with an attorney or other qualified financial professional should be the first thing you should do, since they will be able to provide you with some perspective about your potential claim. A good attorney or consultant will also inform you of some of the alternatives to bankruptcy that exist, and won't pressure you into filing for bankruptcy for their own financial benefit.

Before you can begin the bankruptcy process, you must first be qualified and cleared by the bankruptcy courts, which means that you must complete mandatory credit counseling. The courts must also gather extensive information related to your financial history in order to ensure that your income doesn't exceed the specified amount, which is referred to as a "means test." Essentially, they need to determine whether you could realistically pay back your debts without a bankruptcy claim. Apart from this determination, the courts must also be made aware of all of your assets and liabilities, which will include a list of your creditors. The courts must have an accurate listing of your creditors so that they can notify them of your bankruptcy claim. The creditors will then have an opportunity to seek repayment from you.

Once your bankruptcy claim has been processed, the courts will issue a "stay," which will prevent your creditors from contacting you directly through email, by letter or by phone. As mentioned previously, you can get more information on how to claim bankruptcy and what to expect during the process by contacting a qualified attorney or financial professional.