Bankruptcy | Your Life Continues
I spend a lot of my time helping people understand what does, and more importantly, what does not happen after they file for bankruptcy. Most folks I talk to have more than a little fear about the process of filing for bankruptcy. Often, they have been told all kinds of stories by friends and family that simply aren't true; or information that was once true, but is not true today.
Many people are embarrassed even to think about having to file for bankruptcy. However, when I ask them if they know anyone who has filed, invariably the answer is, "Oh yes, I know of several people, in fact some of my friends have filed bankruptcy." Then I ask them if they think any less of these others who have filed bankruptcy. The response is always, "Oh, no! Of course not! If they had to file bankruptcy then that's what they should have done. I certainly don't think any less of them for having to file bankruptcy."
When I point out to them that they're applying a double standard, one that is compassionate and understanding towards others, while unforgiving and judgmental against themselves, they actually seem surprised! But, they have to admit that it’s true. They are being much harder on themselves than they are on others. There is nothing to fear from filing for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filings for individual consumers are not printed in local newspapers. The only newspaper in which these bankruptcies are reported is the Daily Legal News which no one in the general public seems to read. Bankruptcy filings cannot be found on the Internet unless you have a government issued password to get into the court computer system. Many people are afraid that they will never be able to buy a house, a car, or get credit again. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, in some cases wiping out debt and immediately rebuilding credit enables one to qualify for a loan to buy a house or car in a much shorter a period of time than they ever could by attempting to pay off an impossible debt load.
Many people are afraid they will not be able to rent a house or apartment after filing bankruptcy. I have been filing bankruptcy for nearly twenty years and have helped thousands and thousands of people through the bankruptcy process. I have never seen anyone refused a rental on the basis of having filed a bankruptcy case. In fact, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone for filing a bankruptcy.
Often, people are afraid that they will lose their home, car, are personal property when they file bankruptcy. In fact, the opposite is often true. Most of my clients keep their houses, their cars, and their furniture if they chose to. Some clients do not want to be burdened with the debts associated with those times and so they surrender those items. In Chapter 13 cases, it is because they filed a bankruptcy that many of my clients are able to keep their property by catching up on the missed mortgage payments and keep their house and cars.
In Chapter 13 cases, it is because they filed a bankruptcy that many of my clients are able to keep their property by catching up on the missed mortgage payments and keep their house and cars.
Creditors and bill collectors often tell people that if they file a bankruptcy they will never get credit again. This is one that always makes me laugh. Most folks continue to receive unsolicited credit card applications in the mail, preapproved. These do not stop coming when you file for bankruptcy. If you think about it, it makes good sense for a credit card company to issue a card to someone who has recently filed for bankruptcy. Generally speaking, you no longer owes much or any debt, you cannot file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy for eight years, and you have more disposable income now than before you file for bankruptcy. All of this adds up to one thing: you are a better credit risk after filing bankruptcy than before filing bankruptcy. Of course, I encourage my clients not to apply for high interest credit cards, but often obtaining a secured credit card with your bank is a good way to begin to immediately reestablish your credit.
There are lots of other myths and misunderstandings that I come across in my daily practice. As part of my free consultation, I am able to answer all your questions and dispel the myths and misinformation that may have caused you to fear exploring your options through filing bankruptcy.
(This information does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists until you come to our office, we accept your case, and a written attorney-client agreement is signed. You should always seek legal advice from a bankruptcy attorney in your jurisdiction before relying on information from any website. You are welcome to contact us, but please DO NOT send or e-mail unsolicited, confidential information since attorney-client privilege may not protect the information.)