By Sandy from WI
We went through bankruptcy a few years ago. We thought we had done all the right things as far as personal and business finances went -- we lived well below what most people in our income bracket would have done for years. A series of events caused our downfall -- onset of a debilitating illness with me, the hiring of a dishonest accountant in our business, the dot com crash, and my husband's decision (with my agreement) to try to "stick it out" because we had employees who depended upon our business for income.
The process varies from state to state, but in our case, the actual process was a piece of cake. It was the decision to do it and the response of some people in our church that was horrible.
My biggest surprise came the day we actually went to "bankruptcy court." There were a group of about 20 bankruptcy cases that day (it's not that there are 20 per day -- it was because they only have bankruptcy court in our area periodically). It so happens, our case came to the docket last so we sat there and watched everyone else go first.
If you read some news reports, they make it sound like most bankruptcies are the result of people running up unnecessary credit card debt. This may or may not be true nationwide. All I can say is, such was not the case the day we watched the proceedings. Out of the entire group, only one couple "might" have been guilty of this, although I'm not sure they were. Just a couple of examples were: the single mom who worked a minimum wage job and couldn't keep up the payment on her $15,000 mobile home because her ex had disappeared and was no longer paying child support; the elderly woman who showed up alone at the proceedings because her husband was in the hospital, dying of cancer and the guy who'd lost his factory job of many years and whose new job couldn't meet the escalating needs of his teenage kids and who could not sell his house because the wiring was bad and he couldn't afford to have it fixed. Those were the three worse but all had stories of loss, not of irresponsibility.
Because I come from an evangelical Christian background and so many in that tradition are opposed to bankruptcy, I have done a lot of research in the Bible about it as well as reading about the history, reasons for being and its forms in other countries. Of course, it is wrong to heedlessly run up consumer debt - it is also wrong to assume that people are guilty of that when they become bankrupt. Generally, I am convinced that the ability to declare bankruptcy is a good thing ... compassionate toward individuals and in the long run, even best for the economy.
My husband is a consumer bankruptcy attorney. Don't ever be embarrassed or ashamed in any way! No, no, no. There are many reasons why you loose your ability to pay bills. The economy plays the major role in forcing people into bankruptcy. Loss of overtime, loss of work hours, loss of job (s), medical bills, adjustable mortgage, missed mortgage payments that leads to modification hell.
During the hey day of the housing bubble, our own government told the people that if your home was worth $250,000 then you were a quarter of a millionaire. Use that money to take the trip you always wanted, buy up, fix up your home, buy a new vehicle. Many people did just that. Then the housing market crashed. Our economy has NOT recovered at all. To the contrary, it is still sinking.
Bankruptcy gives the person or couple a fresh start. I have noticed that a few of the folks that file, had a previous bankruptcy in the last 5-10 years. It's possible that either they we never able to recover financially or they repeated the same practices that led them to file the first time.
Many celebrities file for personal bankruptcy. Do a google search and be shocked!
Hope this helped to shed the stigma of the tragedy of experiencing the loss and having their security ripped right out from under them. It is heart-felt.
My marriage broke up because of something like this and the shame and humiliation besides the suffering my kids had to go through is just not worth it! If you want to stay married, then you must insist your husband shows you bills and whatever else necessary for you to make decisions. if not, then you don't have much option but to speak to a solicitor and get out of this relationship pronto!
You need to consult with an attorney immediately! Is this new behavior for your husband? My husband did this to me. It was early stage of Alzheimer's disease. He made poor business decisions and the first sign was that he ran the business into the ground. When I was finally able to get him to the Dr he could not perform simple math calculations. They will hide things from you and will lie to cover up what is wrong. It may be necessary for you to take over the business. I had to go to court and have my husband removed from the business and control given to me. By then it was too late and I had to liquidate it.
Ask your bank for advice and see a lawyer, maybe for divorce as well as bankruptcy. Hiding behind lies of debt that you are responsbile for is dangerous.
I would like to add that you are responsible for all the debts he makes while you are married. You need some really serious legal advice and soon.
Are you sure you want to spend the rest of your life with a man who is spending money that belongs to both of you and won't let you see where it is going? I feel your biggest problem is not the bankruptcy but your deceptive husband. Bankruptcy will not change him.
I had to file chapter 7 bankruptcy 3 year ago due to becoming disabled. Now when I try to get a debit card from any bank I am turned down. The Chex system has me owing one bank 300 dollars even though it was included in the filing. I know life isn't fair, but bankruptcy is supposed to give a person a fresh start, this just does not seem legal to me. Any help would be appreciated.
Jeff from Anderson, IN
It does seem silly to deny you a debit card that would deduct money from your checking account. But the reason for this is simple: You left one bank with a negative balance in your account, and so your current bank doesn't want to take any chances on that happening again. A couple of things you might try are opening an account with a credit union (they tend to be very oriented toward helping their members as opposed to just making a profit) or a bank that's based in your area (if you can find one), where you can speak to someone with real authority to make decisions on an individual basis.
All the best, good luck getting your finances in order. (04/18/2008)
Does anyone know if, and what you have to pay to file for bankruptcy? If there is a fee, are there any circumstances where it can be waived?
By pat from Wareham, MA
By Patty Lynn
Keep your spirits up, you can recover from financial difficulties, we finally have, three years later. You could check out the non-profit credit counseling to see if they can get debt write off. Just be careful with that as the cancellation of debt ends up as income and you end up owing a lot of income taxes. Good Luck. (07/27/2009)
Call a few local bankruptcy lawyers, make appointments (consultation is free) and choose a lawyer based not only on their rate, but by your gut feeling about them! If they say they charge by the hour run, don't walk, far away from them. There are lots of good bankruptcy lawyers that charge a standard flat fee based on your needs. Be aware that those fees will need to be paid up front, but they include all of his fees and filing fees. (07/27/2009)
Do some checking around. You can file for bankruptcy on your own, but it is a complicated process. There are "do it yourself kits", services, and lawyers who can assist you depending on the level of assistance you need. I hired a service that helped me assemble all the required information, helped prepare the necessary forms, and reviewed them for correctness. Then I had to do the rest and actually file myself. It all went smoothly.
Only you can decide what you can afford and how much help you need for your circumstances. Best of luck. (07/27/2009)
As Patty Lynn stated in a previous posting, a good place to check is bankruptcyaction.com. It answered all of my questions. Thank you Patty Lynn! (08/01/2009)
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