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If you’ve lived here for any amount of time, you know it to be true: the recession hit South Florida harder than most of the country. People were out of work, investors ran for the hills and the real estate market went completely belly up. The economy has shown a marked improvement over the last few years, but many in Dade and Broward counties are still struggling to find good work and make ends meet on a daily basis.

Many have relied on credit cards and loans to stay afloat, but that means creditors are breathing down their necks every day and signs of relief are few and far between. If that sounds like you, you may want to consider filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For the uninformed, here’s the difference between the two: Chapter 7 eliminates debt completely while Chapter 13 requires you to pay the debt back, often at a reduced rate.

So, why would anyone choose Chapter 13? Two reasons. One, if your disposable income is over $166.66, you are forced to file for Chapter 13. Two, many people want the opportunity to rebuild their lives and get a fresh financial start. Chapter 13 lets them restructure the debt and pay it off in a manner that can help them keep their good names.

If you’re struggling with these issues, it may be a good idea to consult a bankruptcy attorney. He or she can look at your situation and help you choose the best course of action.