Do I qualify for bankruptcy? We get asked this question a lot and the answer most lawyers provide is “that depends.” Does anyone think that is a good answer! No way! Bankruptcy is a process that can provide immense, immediate relief to people who are overwhelmed by debt. Like anything in the law, the devil can be in the details. But in twenty years of practice and nearly 10,000 fact patterns assessed I can say that most people are NOT TRAPPED by the details! So let’s get to the root of the concern that people have and help answer the question – DO I QUALIFY FOR BANKRUPTCY?
When people ask me if they qualify for bankruptcy they are really asking for help. Help with a debt burden that has them overwhelmed. The cause of that debt almost always does not matter. It is the symptoms of debt that matter and it is those symptoms which bankruptcy helps to solve. Debt causes stress, health issues, irritability, feelings of helplessness, a loss of control, a questioned sense of self worth, it affects job performance, marital bliss and can lead to addiction problems as an escape from that anxiety. DEBT IS A FOUR LETTER WORD. Bankruptcy is not.
Bankruptcy is an orderly process designed to provide relief to a person burdened by debt. Bankruptcy provides a “fresh start” so that someone can close the door on the past and restore their outlook on the future. With several thousand satisfied clients served over the last 20 years the common theme is one of relief and wonderment – after a meeting with a Bankruptcy Trustee I am frequently asked by my client – “Is that it?” which is then followed closely with “Why didn’t I do this before it got so bad!”
Bankruptcy is a solution not a problem. Debt is the problem and we all know that debt happens to good people. Good people lose their job, get sick, struggle through an economic downturn or struggle to meet medical needs in our society where the cost of healthcare far exceeds the rate of wage growth. Good people help out their elderly parents on a fixed income or adult children who can’t make ends meet. Good people look to credit as a means of leveling cash flow during lean times with the full intention of getting caught up when times improve. Sometimes the debt can snowball out of control – especially when a creditor penalizes a person with a higher interest rate and a higher minimum payment – “I struggled to pay it at $300 a month and now you want $400 a month!!!”
Do you qualify for bankruptcy? If you are struggling to meet a minimum standard of living for you and your family because of the burden of debt then the answer is almost certainly – YES. People who file for bankruptcy try to avoid it like the plague! So when they utter the word and ask the question – DO I qualify? They almost always are in real need of the solutions that bankruptcy can provide. Sure, there are checks and balances in the bankruptcy system and traps for the unwary. A good bankruptcy attorney is a specialist. Your Doctor the general practitioner does not do heart surgery. For that you need a specialist. Bankruptcy is the same way. If you need bankruptcy help – find a Nationally Certified Attorney near you at www.abcworld.org. Perhaps it’s time to look to the future instead of stressing in the past.