Bankruptcy and Your Credit Report

How Will Bankruptcy Affect Your Credit?

Credit card companies and banks want everyone to believe the myth that bankruptcy will have an immediate and permanent impact on your credit report. Immediate? Yes. Permanent? Hardly. In fact, by law, your credit report will indicate a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing for up to 10 years. During that time, you can do many things to restore your credit score.

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If you are struggling with the heavy burden of personal debt, you owe it to yourself to talk to bankruptcy lawyer Chad Hayward of the Law Offices of Chad M. Hayward, P.C. We have helped thousands of people get a fresh start. During your free initial consultation, Mr. Hayward will discuss your costs, the length of the process and how you will be affected by bankruptcy.

There are many things to take into consideration:

New creditors may see you as a better credit risk because you will have better cash flow every month.

In many cases, you will be able to keep your house and car by reaffirming your commitment to continue making payments. Timely payments will increase your credit score quickly.

For the first 12 months following bankruptcy, you will find it difficult to get credit. You can use that time to work on a personal budget that helps you live within your income means.

You can save the money you no longer pay to credit card companies. Use the money as a down payment on a new house, pay off or buy a car or deposit on a new apartment.

Under the new bankruptcy laws enacted in 2005, filing bankruptcy requires you to participate in a certified debt management course. The course offers several good suggestions for managing your budget and quickly rebuilding your credit. In many cases, individuals begin to receive credit offers — with higher interest rates — within 18 months of their bankruptcy discharge.

Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy to get a fresh start, you may be worried about what will happen to your credit rating. The unfortunate fact is that your credit-worthiness will take a hit. For the first year, you will probably find it difficult to get a loan for a major purchase, but there are things you can do to rebuild credit.

Some simple steps you can take to start rebuilding your credit immediately after your bankruptcy discharge:

  • Open a savings account at a local credit union and make regular payments into the account.

  • Take out a small loan from the credit union, using your savings account as collateral. Stick to a timely monthly payment plan to repay the loan according to the terms of the contract.

  • Use your improved monthly cash flow to repay ‘reaffirmed’ debt such as a car payment early.

  • Make your reaffirmed mortgage payment on time every month. Pay extra out of your improved cash flow to reduce the amount of interest paid over the length of the mortgage.

  • If your bankruptcy was the result of peculiar circumstances, such as a catastrophic medical problem, write a letter of explanation to the credit reporting agencies to include with your credit report.

  • Take care of all remaining outstanding tax arrears in a timely manner.

  • Do not jump at the first loan that comes available. Be smart about the interest payment you are willing to agree to. Having an open high-interest credit card account on your credit report is likely to suggest that you are heading down a path to credit problems, once again.

If you are ready for a fresh start, we are ready to help. Illinois bankruptcy attorney Chad Hayward represents clients in the Chicago metro region and communities throughout Illinois.

Reach us to schedule an appointment at any one of our local community offices by calling 312-967-3159.

You can also contact us by e-mail with a brief description of your legal problem. We look forward to helping your family get the fresh start from debt you need and deserve.

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Convenient Locations

In order to provide convenience for clients throughout Chicago and Northern Illinois, we have offices in the following locations: 

Chicago • Schaumburg  • Oakbrook • St. Charles • Naperville • And More


We have office locations throughout the Chicago Area:

Chicago (Downtown)


Oak Brook


All calls are routed through our Downtown office for your convenience.

Phone: 312-967-3159

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