The decision to file for bankruptcy is primarily an economic one. If you are drowning in debt and you cannot foresee ever paying your debts, you may have no choice but to file for bankruptcy. But emotionally, for many, the impact can be severe and real.
At Bankruptcy Advocates we have met with, counseled and guided thousands of individuals and families through the process of filing for bankruptcy over the years. Each story is unique, each journey to the point of filing has elements that are specific just to those individuals but the one thing that is shared by all is the emotion surrounding the need to file.
However, rather than looking at filing for bankruptcy as an end, we counsel our clients to see how filing is really a beginning. Following are a few of the classic emotions that most of our clients face and how we recommend they cope:
Feeling like a failure: Perhaps the most common emotion is one of failure. You did not make the decisions you made expecting to have to file for bankruptcy, but you are taking action. In many cases you need to file was through no fault of your own. For example, a serious injury may have prevented you from working for an extended period of time. But by seeking help through bankruptcy, you are making the adult decision to face your current situation and take action to resolve it. We learn from our experiences and develop skills and processes to make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes. You are helping no one, including your creditors, by refusing to file because of a fear of being labeled a failure. In our experience, too many debtors dwell on the mistakes of their past instead of resolving them and moving forward into the present. Bankruptcy can help many gain a clean slate and the opportunity to do differently moving forward.
An often overlooked fact is that you are free to repay your creditors on your own schedule even though those debts have been discharged. So if your financial circumstances improve and you want to do so, you can pay off all or some of your creditors.
Feeling ashamed: The embarrassment is real. Having to admit to others that you just can’t recover from your current financial situation can be a horrible experience. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. In 2011 there were 73,210 people who filed for bankruptcy in Illinois alone. A study* that was conducted in 2011 showed the following statistics of those filing for bankruptcy:
52% were male
64% were married
36% had a high school education
60% made less than $30,000 per year.
Feeling angry: Anger is common among couples, especially if one person contributed to the debt more than the other. We recommend that families keep the lines of communication open. Assigning blame doesn’t address the problem and only creates more stress. Others feel anger towards institutions like healthcare and education for inflated costs, unforgiving payment schedules, or towards companies for layoffs or acquisitions that caused a job loss. Stress will be reduced by eliminating debt.
Feeling afraid: Many clients we have worked with have expressed a sense of fear; fear of the unknown, fear of what filing will do to their future credit, but even greater is the fear of finding themselves back in the same position ten years later. Whether you find yourself in your current financial state through poor spending and budgeting habits or because of an unexpected expense, we can offer insight so that you can avoid financial problems in the future. We can help you create a realistic budget which can put you on the path to financial solvency. Feeling afraid is not uncommon, but you are not alone. There are friends, family, and professional resources available to help you get through the immediate steps as well as guide you down the road.
Filing bankruptcy can be just the action you need to take to get yourself back on a firm financial footing. Call us. Our first consultation is always free. Do not let your emotions prevent you from getting relief. Phone: 618-549-9800
Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Attorney law firm Bankruptcy Advocates is located in Carbondale and serves a wide geographic community. The first consultation is always free. Give us a call at 618-549-9800 or email us at [email protected] to speak about your case or legal matter. Convenient appointment times are available.