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Popular Half-Truths About Bankruptcy

March 1, 2010

The internet is full of half-truths that feed the speculative fears of the evils of bankruptcy. Most of this information comes from sources outside the bankruptcy process, like debt counselors, or financial planners who often are selling alternatives to bankruptcy. The most commonly stated “reasons to avoid bankruptcy” are:

1. It will ruin your credit

2. You will lose property

3. Not all debts are eliminated

4. You may be subject to repossession or foreclosure

5. You may not be able to get a job

6. You cannot get credit

Those are serious allegations, so let’s look at them.

First, bankruptcy is typically a last-resort option, so the average bankruptcy filer’s credit is already ruined. The bankruptcy wipes the slate clean and stops future adverse reporting for past debts. In other words, if you are 120 days late on a credit card, your credit report will continue to show that you are 120 days late month after month. A bankruptcy stops that reporting from the day you file your case so your credit can improve.

Second, it is exceedingly rare that a debtor loses property unexpectedly. When it happens it is generally the result of poor communication with the client. In all other cases the debtor will only lose property that is voluntarily surrendered, meaning the debtor has made a financial decision to not keep a house or car.

Third, there are actually very few debts that cannot be eliminated. The most common types are child support, some IRS debts, and student loans. However, even these non-dischargeable debts can be managed within the bankruptcy.

Fourth, the bankruptcy automatic stay will stop any foreclosure or repossession. If the creditor wants to take possession of the property after the bankruptcy filing, it must petition the bankruptcy court for permission.

Fifth, it is against the federal law to discriminate against a job applicant solely on the basis of filing a bankruptcy.

Sixth, many bankruptcy debtors have rebuild their financial lives within a year or two of the bankruptcy filing. It takes time and effort to rebuild, but there are no past debts to drag you down!

Don’t get your bankruptcy information from internet sources that use scare tactics and half-truths. Talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney and get the facts. Find out how bankruptcy can solve your debt problems today.


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