No Shame In Seeking a Second Chance Through Bankruptcy

This article was featured in a recent issue of the Mercer County Woman. It was written by Carl G. Archer, an attorney with the firm.

Most of us manage our debts well enough to scrape by. Nowadays, though, it is easy for life to become unbalanced in a hurry. Bad things often happen to good people. Between pay cuts, unemployment, divorce, and the costs of unexpected problems, there is plenty out there to bring anyone financial problems in a hurry. Credit card companies, and others, charging 20 percent interest or more only make the problem worse. These and other financial crises leave normal, honest people worried, ashamed, and in need of a fresh start.

Given these burdens, it can be a relief to know that federal bankruptcy law grants relief to people in financial stress. It can relieve a person of the obligation to pay many debts, including credit cards and medical bills. And yet, given the opportunity under federal law to make a clean start of it, many people still choose to bear this cross alone. Many people often hesitate because they wonder how they can justify walking away from their debts, which they agreed to pay, even if the law allows it.

No one should be racked with guilt over this decision. Every major religion and most industrialized countries support bankruptcy as a mechanism to relieve an overburdened debtor. Any person who has ever faced such hardship in their lives knows that bankruptcy relief may prevent a family from being torn apart over financial stress. Businesses know that bankruptcy exists, and that they may not get repaid by someone who files for bankruptcy. They take that risk into consideration when setting interest rates and prices for their products.

This country has been helping people to improve their lives through a “second chance” for a long time. Bankruptcy law had its American origins in the Constitution itself. Millions of Europeans immigrated here at the turn of the 20th century and saw the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of new opportunity for their families. They were the embodiment of poet Emma Lazarus’s words “Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” which appear on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty. The concept of a “second chance” has a universal appeal for a reason – everyone needs one at some point during their lives.

Bankruptcy is provided for in the law because it is better to let people start over than it would be for them to struggle for the rest of their lives to pay back debts they cannot handle. Those struggles affect not just a person’s financial health, but their mental health and their relationships with family, friends, and other people. Filing bankruptcy is an important decision. If you feel overwhelmed by debt, consider filing a bankruptcy for relief from your financial and mental pressures.

As always, please feel free to leave comments or questions, and also check out our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Comments are closed.