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Bankruptcy meant to provide financial protection, not escape

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Bankruptcy is often viewed as a taboo by people in Cuyahoga Falls. The immediate assumption that many make is that personal bankruptcy is simply a way for financially irresponsible people to escape from having to pay their bills. Yet those who assume this may be surprised to learn just who around them has sought bankruptcy protection in the past. Many bankruptcy experts will point out the fact that that’s what bankruptcy is supposed to provide: protection. When one saddled with debt doesn’t have the financial resources to resolve it, he or she is essentially at the mercy of creditors who may choose to garnish wages, file a judgment, or place liens on property. At least under bankruptcy protection, one is able to actually prove to his or her creditors that he or she isn’t capable of meeting expenses. Plus it allows him or her to at least make an attempt at restitution.

That attempt at restitution is often overlooked by those who harshly judge bankruptcy filers. Yet if they think that one’s personal bankruptcy lets them off the hook for his or her debts, they’re wrong. While some of the filer’s debts are discharged in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, the court still requires that an attempt be made to repay creditors. With a Chapter 7, that means forfeiting assets considered non-exempt from bankruptcy protection, and using those proceeds as payment to creditors. A Chapter 13 goes even further, requiring filers to create a payment plan with the court designed at settling their debts over a period of 3-5 years.

While personal bankruptcy certainly isn’t something to aspire to, for most it’s a better alternative than simply hiding from creditors. The protection that it provides is meant to offer a fresh financial start. Those needing that protection may wish to seek out a bankruptcy attorney for advice on how to start the process. 

Source: CNBC.com “The good thing about bankruptcy” Sakina Spruell, Oct. 21, 2013

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