You may have unmanageable debt and need help to work out what to do. There are people who can help you look at all your options before you make a final decision.
To ensure you make the right decision for your situation, learn about:
- people who can help and advise you
- formal options under the Bankruptcy Act 1966
- other options - some of which may be legally enforceable, others not
- a creditor[?] making you bankrupt.
At AFSA, we manage the bankruptcy of individuals. If you need information about an insolvent company, contact the Australian Securities Investments Commission (ASIC).
Help and advice
A financial counsellor can help you through this process. They can:
- Talk to you about your options and may talk to your creditors on your behalf.
- Help with budgeting and refer you to other sources of assistance.
For more information see: Get help with debt decisions.
Formal options under the Bankruptcy Act
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.
- Declaration of intention to present a debtor's petition (DOI)
This option provides you with temporary relief from being pursued by creditors while you seek help and decide how to proceed.
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.
For more information see: Compare the formal options table.
You may want to try to reach an agreement with your creditors. You can contact your creditors directly to request:
- more time to pay
- a flexible payment arrangement
- a smaller payment to settle the debt.
Some of these options may be legally enforceable and you may wish to seek your own independent advice before making a decision.
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. What now?