Is it Shameful to File for Bankruptcy?

head in hands while working

People who are considering bankruptcy, more often than not, feel ashamed and are expecting their attorney or bankruptcy trustee, or judge to scold them for being in financial distress.  That is not what happens when you file.  No one is going to put you down or call you a failure.  When you meet with your attorney and the trustee, no one is going to suggest that you’re a slacker, irresponsible, or lazy.  The attorneys, trustees, and judges all know that in the vast majority of cases, there has been some catastrophe that led to financial distress.  There is some reason why your income is not enough to cover your expenses.  It could be the loss of a job, the death of a spouse, a divorce, an automobile accident, or a health problem.  It is a situation you couldn’t foresee or prevent.  There’s no crime or defect in your character as a person.

Usually, the trustee doesn’t inquire into why you had to file.  Rather, the trustee would be more interested in assets that you have and whether they’re protected from his reach (on behalf of your creditors) by state law exemptions.  Also, if you file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee’s concern would be that you’re contributing a fair portion of your future income to payments under the chapter 13 plan.

Also, bankruptcy cases are not listed in the newspaper.  They are not easily found on the internet unless you have certain passwords to get into the bankruptcy court’s website, which are basically limited to bankruptcy attorneys and court personnel.  Generally, no one in the general public will know you’ve filed (with the exception of your creditors, who, of course, get notice) unless you tell them you filed.

Bankruptcy is a legal right that you have to get rid of your debts under certain conditions and get a “fresh start” with your finances.  There is no shame associated with you exercising your rights under the law.

If you have more questions about filing for bankruptcy, contact our experienced attorneys at Horwitz & Horwitz today.