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Bankruptcy Does Not Solve All Problems, But It May Be an Effective Tool

Filing a bankruptcy petition does not put food on the debtor's table. No one hands the debtor money with which to pay his or her mortgage, taxes, utility bills, or other obligations. But by relieving the pressure of creditors' calls and letters, and by discharging the debts owing to one's credit card companies, doctors and hospitals, trade suppliers, judgment creditors, creditors holding deficiency claims arising from a repossession, foreclosure or voluntary surrender, former landlords, and others, the debtor will be in a better position to devote his or her energies, time, and resources to providing for his or her family and for himself or herself.

Some obligations are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, such as most taxes, student loans, alimony, child support, liability created in a driving under the influence incident, and unpaid fines and penalties. If the debtor owes such obligations, bankruptcy may nonetheless still be advisable. Chapter 13 allows an individual debtor or husband and wife debtors to restructure mortgage arrearages, accrued taxes, alimony arrearages, child support arrearages, and liability created in a driving under the influence incident obligations over a period of up to five years.