Common Myths About Filing for Bankruptcy

July 3, 2012 by  Filed under: Bankruptcy 

As a bankruptcy attorney, I often hear some of the same questions on why the potential client shouldn’t file bankruptcy. Here are some of the answers to debunk the myths to filing bankruptcy.

Myth number 1. You cannot file bankruptcy anymore. This myth is almost gone. After the bankruptcy law changes of 2005, there was a common myth that you couldn’t file bankruptcy due to the tough changes Congress made. Obviously this is untrue as the bankruptcy filings are increasing each year.

Myth number 2. You will lose all your assets. While it is true some people lose assets in bankruptcy, most debtors do not lose any assets and the ones that do usually know before they file that they will. In fact, in South Carolina, debtors are losing less assets than ever before due to recent increases in the state exemptions to include $106,000 protection for a married couple on their jointly owned marital home.

Myth number 3. All my friends will find out that I filed for bankruptcy. The true answer is that rarely does any friends or family find out that the debtor filed for bankruptcy. In South Carolina, newspapers do not print names of bankruptcy filers unless you are a big name filer or a company.

Myth number 4. Your credit will be ruined forever. The truth is that many debtors are able to quickly rebound from a bankruptcy and in many cases my clients are able to obtain mortgages within 18 months-3 years after the bankruptcy discharge. Many debtors have good credit prior to filing bankruptcy because they were current on their credit card debt prior to filing. Finally, Creditors often see people who file for bankruptcy as a better credit risk than people with no bankruptcy and tons of credit cards. The reason for this is that they know that someone who just filed for bankruptcy cannot re-file for 8 years while the person with no bankruptcy but tons of credit card debt could file at any moment!

Myth number 5. People who file for bankruptcy are dead beats. While I do have some clients that have abused the system by accumulating thousands of credit card debt with no hope of repaying it, the majority of people who file for bankruptcy actually want to pay their bills but have experienced a short-term or long-term crisis that has led them to file. In fact, Harvard University did a study that showed medical debts as a major reason people filed for a bankruptcy protections. Other reasons include, unemployment, underemployment, divorce, disability, and medial emergencies.

Daniel Stone, Stone Law Firm, LLC

Common myths about filing for bankruptcy

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