“P” Is For Pride and Bankruptcy

Hertford P2I ask clients that come in what I can do for them and they say something like they are glad to meet me and they are interested in filing for bankruptcy. Neither is true. No one wants to meet a bankruptcy lawyer, at least in a professional context. I am right up there with wanting to meet with a mortician. And they aren’t interested in filing for bankruptcy. No one wants to do that either.

There is a stigma attached with filing. There is a puritan work ethic instilled in all of us. Work hard, keep your promises, and salvation shall be yours. Not everyone feels this way but for some people who come in, they are deeply ashamed and their pride is on the line. Their pride is so stung that even though they are overwhelmed by insurmountable debt and have called a bankruptcy attorney, they act like they still need to be convinced to file and that there are no other options. They are almost looking for permission or validation. Well, they are in luck. We do not judge our clients. Ever. We see good people at their worst.

Sometimes you can’t worry about what your neighbors, friends, or creditors think. You have to make smart financial decisions for yourself and sometimes that includes a fresh start. I could be naive but I haven’t met one client that racked up debt with the intention of discharging it. Most bankruptcies occur because of situations beyond the client’s control like divorce, job loss, wage reduction, or medical calamity. Bankruptcy is often the choice of last resort after all other options are extinguished.

Some people consider it immoral to not repay their debt but consider this passage from the Old Testament: At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts.  And this is the form of the release:  Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it;  he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release.” (Deuteronomy 15:1-2) Believe it or not, I have done bankruptcies for pastors who very may well have preached that it wasn’t Christian to file. I’m not giving them a hard time but until someone walks in your shoes, it is hard for them to understand the safety valve bankruptcy provides.

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln filed for bankruptcy protection. That’s right. Honest Abe needed a fresh start. So did Sam Walton, Henry Ford, Thomas Jefferson, and Walt Disney. Consider bankruptcy a smart financial tool to help you get a fresh start, too. Things can still go your way and you can be a productive citizen unburdened by debt that you were never, ever going to pay off realistically. Your pride will heal and after you put it behind you. While you may not be happy about filing for bankruptcy, you will be glad you did.

“P” also stands for:

Chris McAvoy is a Taylor,  Michigan attorney and consumer bankruptcy lawyer who helps people file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. To find out more about bankruptcy, click here for contact info. We help people in Taylor, Allen Park, Southgate, Lincoln Park, Riverview, Trenton, Flat Rock, Wyandotte, Brownstown, Belleville, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, and the Downriver, Michigan area.

Creative Commons License photo credit: satguru