What are my options?

You may have unmanageable debt and need help to work out what to do. The earlier you seek help with your debt, the more informed you’ll be about your options and gain control of your situation. 

Your insolvency options

Formal options under the Bankruptcy Act 1966

There are four formal options available to you under the Bankruptcy Act 1966[?], each having serious consequences. We encourage you to read the following and seek your own independent advice before making a decision.

  • Temporary debt protection (TDP)
    This option provides you with a 21 day protection period from being pursued by unsecured creditors while you seek help and decide how to proceed.
  • Bankruptcy
    Lasts for 3 years and 1 day. At the end of this period you are released from most of your debts.
  • Debt agreements 
    These are binding agreements between you and your creditors to pay a sum you can afford.
  • Personal insolvency agreements
    These are agreements between you and your creditors to pay an agreed amount in instalments or lump sum.

Compare your options

  • Check my eligibility - an interactive online tool that helps you figure out which formal insolvency options you are eligible for.
  • Compare the formal options - an easy to read table comparing the consequences of formal insolvency options.

Other options

If you're having difficulty making your repayments you may want to try to reach an agreement with your creditors. Your creditors[?] may be willing to:

  • give you more time to pay your debs
  • give you a lower interest rate
  • charge you fewer penalties.

You may also be able to apply for a hardship variation with your creditor if you're experiencing financial hardship.

For more information on negotiating with your creditors see Dealing with debt

Help and advice

You can get help from a free financial counsellor by contacting the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Financial counsellors offer free, independent and confidential services to discuss your situation and help you get back on track.

For more information on financial counsellors and other support services see Where to find help.

At AFSA, we manage the bankruptcy of individuals. If you need information about an insolvent company, contact the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

Separating with debt: a guide to your legal options is a free guide available on the Attorney-General's Departments website, with practical information and options to assist separating couples to proactively manage debts in the context of a relationship breakdown.

Can a creditor make me bankrupt?

It's also possible that a creditor can make you bankrupt. One of the first steps is to serve you with a bankruptcy notice[?].

For more information see: I've been served with a bankruptcy notice.