Getting Out of Debt


It is easy to get into debt, but difficult to get out, especially when your debt has been accumulating for some time. To get out of debt, you may try these simple DIY strategies:

  1. Stop borrowing more money.
  2. Reduce spending to put more money into repaying your debt.
  3. Ask your creditors for a lower interest rate. For credit card debt, you may take advantage of the card company’s debt assistance or hardship programs and ask the credit card company to lower your interest rates and waive fees. If your credit score is still good, you may be able to apply for a credit card with a 0% balance transfer offer to buy time.
  4. Consolidate your debt. Many financial companies offer debt consolidation loans with interest rates that are much lower than credit card rates.

If your debt has become unmanageable and these strategies are not enough, you may have to consider debt settlement/debt relief services or even bankruptcy.

Debt settlement companies offer to renegotiate, settle, or in some way change the terms of a person’s debt to a creditor or debt collector. There are many pitfalls with debt settlement and you may fall prey to some bad actors in the business. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides some good advice and tips on using debt settlement services. You may also consult a bankruptcy lawyer first. Choose a law firm that is a debt relief agency as legally defined by Federal Law. Initial consultations are often free.

Bankruptcy sounds like the end of the world, but it has its advantages. It could stop collection calls, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and it could erase debt. It also may help your credit scores in the long run. Most unsecured debt, including credit card debts, personal loans, lawsuit judgments, car loans can be wiped out or “discharged” in bankruptcy, but child support, tax debts, student loans and some other types of debts generally cannot.

If bankruptcy is your best option, choose an experienced consumer bankruptcy attorney who can help you understand the information necessary to file for bankruptcy and avoid the dangers that can cost you property or money.

Choosing a Bankruptcy Lawyer

You’re struggling under crushing debt and need relief. You have looked into some options including debt consolidation, debt settlement and bankruptcy. You decided that filing for bankruptcy is your best option – you get a fresh start and you might not even lose your home. But bankruptcy law is complicated. What you need now is to find a competent bankruptcy lawyer to get you out of debt.

To find a bankruptcy lawyer, you may start with asking friends and relatives for referrals. Or you can do a Google search, visit websites like the American Bar Association (, Avvo (, Findlaw ( and Martindale-Hubbell (

Choose lawyers who practice in bankruptcy. They will know the latest rulings and how those rulings apply to each individual. Belonging to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys ( is a good indication of an attorney who does bankruptcy work. You should also visit the state bar association’s website to check that the lawyer is licensed to practice in your state and that he or she does not have any complaints.

Choose a bankruptcy lawyer who is not only competent but also compassionate and affordable. Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation. You can assess these criteria by calling them and asking these questions.

  • Tell the lawyer your situation and see if he or she thinks you’re qualified to file for bankruptcy, and if so, whether you should file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  • How many bankruptcy cases has the lawyer handled?
  • How big is the lawyer’s practice? Solo law practices and boutique law firms may provide more personal attention and more hands-on service while big law firms have more resources. For simple cases, an independent bankruptcy lawyer may be more suitable.
  • How much will it cost?
  • How hands-on will the attorney be? Will he or she file all your paperwork and accompany you to court?

After the initial consultation, evaluate the lawyer according to these criteria:

  • Do you think the lawyer is competent, knowledgeable and trustworthy?
  • Did the lawyer listen attentively and understand your situation? Did he or she empathize with you?
  • Can you afford the fees? Does the lawyer offer a payment plan?

It’s bad enough to be in a financial hole. Don’t allow your bankruptcy case to be mishandled by uncaring, incompetent legal help. Choose carefully and wisely!

About Attorney Stephen Holmes

Stephen Holmes, Esq. is a bankruptcy, real estate and business attorney. Based in Lowell, MA, his practice includes filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as well as residential conveyancing, real estate purchase & sale agreements, closings, forming business entities such as corporations, PCs, LLCs, non-profits and partnerships. Unlike large law firms, Attorney Holmes provides personal attention and quality service at a low cost.

If you are struggling under an unmanageable debt load, Attorney Holmes offers a free in-person or phone consultation to help you determine whether bankruptcy is the right course for you. For an affordable local bankruptcy lawyer in the Lowell and Worcester area, call or text us now at 978-962-1140!