As a bankruptcy attorney, I find that many clients share similar fears and concerns when they are contemplating a fresh start. These clients’ number one question during our initial consultation is simply stated but complicated to answer: How will this affect my credit? This question has many facets and the composition of a credit score is highly complex. Usually, after a few follow up questions, what the clients really want to know is: “what will my availability of credit be in the short term and in the long term and can I buy a house?”
In the short term, your credit may actually go up with a Bankruptcy Filing! Many borrowers in need of a fresh start have tried everything to pay their creditors back prior to scheduling a consultation with our office and are often many months or even years behind on their bills. The filing of a bankruptcy proceeding immediately places a wall in your credit history. The subsequent discharge eliminates all negative delinquency entries from dates before the bankruptcy. For some people, the removal of all previous negative reporting sends their score up immediately.
How the Credit Score is Used
While the Credit Score alone is important, it is even more important for consumers to know exactly how the credit score is used to calculate their availability of credit. The long term implications of your credit have much to do with how you rebuild credit after the bankruptcy. As part of rebuilding your credit foundation, the old credit delinquencies need to be removed. Creditors have an affirmative duty to correct delinquent and improper credit reporting information, but sometimes they just don’t get around to doing their job. Cue the Discharged Debtor and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
Just Dispute It!
Any creditor’s initial failure to update their credit reporting must be brought to the credit reporting agencies’ attention to fix the problem. Once the Debtor gets involved, many doors open to pursue and force a creditor to lay the groundwork for a better credit score. It is surprisingly easy to get involved in rebuilding your credit score, our mantra is “Just Dispute It!” Dispute credit information with Experian and Equifax. Once you file a dispute regarding the improper Credit Information, then the burden shifts to the Creditor to do their job. This is the first step in building a solid credit foundation for a fresh start.
Once the reinvestigation gets started, you should have a response within 30 days. If everything is fine, then get going on that Fresh Start, you’ve earned it. If delinquent items remain, give us a call. We may be able to fix your reporting for FREE and get you some money for your trouble.
For more reading check out our database of articles and stay tuned for the next part in this series, Protecting the Fresh Start – Part Two: Make History!