Before you file there is a good list of things you should do.
people out there,
I am going to advise this person to play dirty,
the same way that the companies will do to her and her family should they make it through this.
A good lawyer will make sure you have about a six month period of not using credit and attempting to make good on your accounts by issuing very small payments in a consistent pattern.
Say you have a Chase card bill where they want a min.
of 250-300 min.
Mail in $25.00 with a letter explaining this is all you can do but that you hope your financial situation will improve.
Prior to seeking advice,
take care of your crap.
You will not have credit to rely on for about 4-5 years (lawyers and companies will say 7-12 but you will have credit offers with in the year that you file- there is a whole group of vultures out there that prey on filers and offer high APR and annual rate cards minutes after your name is clear.)
About your crap- service the cars,
stock up on over the counter meds,
formula and all of the things that your credit cards have allowed for you to provide your family with because you were using your cards to live outside your means and unless you have major budgeting reconstruction,
your expenses will stay the same.
Make sure that you draft a generic letter insisting that all debt collection telephone calls cease.
They will stalk you and your family.
Debt reconstruction hurts credit worse than Chapter 11 and you need to make sure that you list everything when you file so you don`t end up wrecking your credit and finding thousands of $$ worth of bills that you are still legally responsible for.
I hate to be the dark cloud here but at over 50,000.00 you will never make it.
Stop asking friends,
if they ask you,
let them know you are seeing a financial adviser (lawyer)
and until they are where you are,
they don`t need to understand.
Find out your state`s laws and decide is you want ot keep the car,
house and so on and make sure that the place that carries your medical bills doesn`t offer a hardship waiver under a sponsored program.
Some medical may not be dismissed (varies by state).
My son learned his phone number by 2 1/2 from hearing the answering machine at all hours of the night from collection calls and I spent years trying to micro manage debt payments for my x husbands junk,
almost lost my mind until I saw a lawyer (free)
prior to almost contracting with a debt reduction agency (huge NO!).
The calls stopped within the month and my nerves finally settled.
Just know that now ATM cards are Visa/MC and they can be used for car rentals,
online payments and if something has to be Visa,
there are pre paid cards.
Good luck and find peace in knowing that you didn`t blow 50K that only an approximate 20K is yours.
If you want to keep a relationship with a card company,
one with say a 0% lifetime APR and a manageable limit,
call them direct,
inform them of your intentions and they will often settle for 20% of the outstanding balance.