When your finances are in disarray, filing for bankruptcy is one way to get back on track, but it's a serious step with long-term consequences for your financial future. For years after filing, you may have trouble getting credit and perhaps even a job. Still, bankruptcy offers a fresh start if you're deeply in debt. When you decide to declare bankruptcy, consider the advice of these professionals to make sure you're doing the right thing.

Financial Adviser

A financial adviser may be able to find alternatives to bankruptcy for resolving your debt problem, including establishing a budget or setting up a debt repayment plan. These professionals may also be called financial planners or financial consultants, and not all are the same. Look for one with good reviews, at least a bachelor's degree, and certification if possible. Ask upfront about fees for their services.

Non-Profit Credit Counselor

A non-profit credit counseling agency may be able to help you avoid bankruptcy by working with credit card companies to reduce payments and helping you establish a payment plan within your budget. These agencies are not free, so expect to make a small monthly payment for services. The U.S. Department of Justice website lists federally approved credit counseling agencies by state. You can find the one that works best for you in your area and make an appointment.

Bankruptcy Attorney

While it's possible to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, visiting a bankruptcy attorney can help you determine if a filing is right for you and advise you on whether to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Making the wrong decisions can devastate your finances and even impact your children's future. A bankruptcy attorney can give you more information about what your next steps should be when you’re preparing to file.

Spiritual or Emotional Adviser

Sometimes, people get into debt for spiritual or psychological reasons, including depression, feelings of insecurity, or a lack of self-worth. Alternatively, if you’ve decided to file for bankruptcy as a last resort, you may feel like your efforts before then weren’t useful, which can be similarly disheartening and troubling. Fortunately, you don’t need to let these emotions fester.

A pastor, rabbi, imam, or similar adviser may be able to provide guidance and help you overcome negative emotions. If you're not a spiritual person, a licensed counselor or psychologist may be able to help. If you're considering bankruptcy because of medical bills or other unavoidable expenses, you may not need to speak with a spiritual adviser. However, it’s still a choice weighted with a lot of difficult emotions, so if you are struggling, seek out some help.

Deciding whether to file bankruptcy is a decision with important consequences that you shouldn't take lightly. Get all the advice you can before moving forward, especially advice from experienced professionals who can help you find a way out of debt and navigate the process you choose so that it works best for you. You don't have to go it alone when considering bankruptcy.

Author's Bio: 

Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University and now enjoys writing about health, business, and family. A mother of two wonderful children, she loves traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can find her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.