Bankruptcy is a complex area and it would be dangerous to go forward without professional help. The risks of criminal liability, the loss of certain of your belongings, and not receiving a discharge make the cost of professional help a wise investment. There are many factors that go into the decision of whether to file, and, if so, the election of the appropriate chapter, as well as proper use of exemptions and using all of the protections of the bankruptcy law to your advantage. It is a very serious step that could affect you for the rest of your life. <br /><br />The objective in bankruptcy is to get a discharge, which will wipe out most or all debts and they will not have to be paid. Creditors cannot try to collect most debts from you after you file. With a few exceptions, the creditors have no claim on your future income or future assets. You will need to keep paying on debts such as mortgages and car loans if you want to keep the collateral for the loan. This is why bankruptcy is called a fresh start.