Most people are at least a little bit afraid of something they haven’t done before. That’s natural. If that something is going in to bankruptcy, no one should blame them for being somewhat apprehensive, even if it turns out there is no real reason to be.
But consumers need to realize there are people out there with a vested interest in promoting an unnatural fear of the bankruptcy process. Creditors, to be sure, but also credit reporting companies, and the debt-settlement scammers. They want you to think that filing bankruptcy is the end of life as we know it. They all profit if consumers are scared off of filing bankruptcy.
The plain truth, though, is that bankruptcy is not painful, or at least, any pain is self inflicted. You can make yourself (or allow yourself) to feel as miserable and worthless as you choose to do so. No one associated with the courts, including trustees, is judgmental. A debtor does not have to justify his choice of bankruptcy relief and does not have to prove he is “worthy” of a discharge. Eligibility for a discharge, even after bankruptcy reform, is presumed.
For most people facing serious financial hardship, bankruptcy is an honest and effective choice. There is nothing to be afraid of. And that’s just the way it is, as plain as anyone can put it .
By Doug Beaton