A lot about our society has changed over time, hasn’t it? Take bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy is understandably a big decision for most people–but it seems to carry much less of a stigma than it once did. Given the difficult financial straits that many Milwaukee and other Wisconsin consumers find themselves in, an individual bankruptcy in Wisconsin could be the best option if you are facing a mountain of debt. And a qualified debt consolidation lawyer can help you bounce back faster than you might expect. Your lawyer can discuss your options and walk you through all the required court paperwork for, among other things, listing each creditor and how much you owe them.

Although many consumers feel that bankruptcy is the equivalent to a bungee jump off a cliff or a suspension bridge, a bankruptcy in general boils down to three fundamentals: debts, assets, and income.

Debts: Your outstanding debts fall into two categories: secured and unsecured. Secured debt is money you owe that is connected to a specific piece of property (collateral) like your home or your car. Unsecured debt comes into play in relation to credit card or medical bills, and other debts that aren’t “tethered” to specific property.

Assets: This consists of what you own and what collateral you’ve used to secure those loans and obligations that may be at risk for foreclosure or repossession. Although the rules vary from state to state, under the bankruptcy law in Wisconsin, you can usually hold on to your home and your car.

Income: This includes how much money you have and your average income for the past six months. This calculation determines whether you are eligible to file for bankruptcy in the first place, and if so, what kind. Not everyone in Milwaukee and in other areas throughout the state can file under Chapter 7; instead, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be more appropriate.

If you have Wisconsin bankruptcy questions, you should consult an experienced bankruptcy lawyer sooner rather than later so that you can save as much of your property as the law allows. The bankruptcy attorney’s job is to help you sort out what you owe and what the law will allow you to keep.