Bankruptcy is a powerful tool, but it is inherently limited by Congress’s language and the interpretation of the Courts who read the statute. When you’re suffering from too much debt, you just want answers and you go to a lawyer to get them. But, before you talk to the lawyer – think about what you are trying to accomplish.
Are you just trying to get out from under crushing credit card debt? Do you owe your divorce lawyer an arm, a leg, and your first born? Do you owe a ton of medical bills? These unsecured debts can be dealt with in ANY chapter of bankruptcy, so what other issues are leading you to the conversation?
If the issue is tax debt or secured debts on underwater properties, a bankruptcy lawyer can probably cure the problem with a reorganization under Chapters 11 or 13. The same relief is available for mortgage issues and the Courts will go out of their way to help keep people in their homes.
Sometimes, though, a bankruptcy is NOT the answer. If you are not in danger of garnishment or levy and you can pay your debts, pay them. If you make so much money or have so much property that you will have to pay 100% back to the creditors, absent other factors, it may not be worth it. If all you owe are student loans, the debt may not be dischargeable, though a case may buy you time to reorganize and improve your life.
There are no easy answers. Your best bet is to contact a bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options.