Debt collectors are on the loose. California courts are being completely bogged down by debt collection lawsuits. For most of those consumers that are being dragged into court, there is a solution that would stop those lawsuits in their tracks: bankruptcy.
Why particular individual consumers aren’t taking advantage of the bankruptcy laws is anyone’s guess. But below are some of the common misconceptions that may be scaring people away from bankruptcy protection.
Married People Have to File Bankruptcy Together: False
It is common for one spouse to have the troublesome debt in his name only. In that case, only the debtor spouse would have to file bankruptcy. This can decrease stress on the relationship and allow the debtor spouse to break free of the burdensome debt.
Everyone Will Know I’ve Filed Bankruptcy: False
The odds are that no one will know about a bankruptcy unless they are a creditor or someone the debtor has personally told. Of course, if the debtor is Donald Trump or a Kardashian, then the media would probably pick up the story. Although it is true that bankruptcy is a public legal proceeding, there are so many filings that it is extremely unlikely that anyone would find out. In addition, accessing the public court records isn’t as easy as Googling a name.
I’ll Lose Everything I Own: False
This is a big misconception that frightens consumers away from bankruptcy all the time. Although the historical concept of liquidation bankruptcy is to give up all assets to get rid of all debts, we are living in a modern society with laws that ensure that people don’t have to live in a cardboard box after bankruptcy. The bankruptcy exemption laws typically vary state-to-state, but in California the exemptions are fairly generous and protect many common assets (up to a certain value) including a house, a vehicle, retirement plans, household goods, clothing and more.
It’s Super Hard to File Bankruptcy: False
An experienced attorney can make the process as painless as possible. There are still things that debtor needs to do to help the attorney, like provide documents and show up to court for the one Meeting of Creditors that the debtor is required to attend. In reality, life is going to be much harder without the bankruptcy in many cases.
I Can’t Get Rid of Back Taxes in Bankruptcy: False
While most taxes are not going to be discharged in a bankruptcy, there are exceptions. Older taxes can be discharged when a few requirements are met. So, it is certainly possible to get rid of aging tax debt.
I Can’t Pay Anyone Back if I File Bankruptcy: False
Many people have personal debts that they may want to pay back despite the bankruptcy discharge. It is important to remember that a debtor may still pay back debts after the bankruptcy discharge, they are just not required to do so.
Only Deadbeats File Bankruptcy: False
Many decent, hard-working consumers have moral misgivings about filing bankruptcy because they feel that they should pay their debts back. That is certainly a righteous thought, but it benefits the greater good to get rid of all of the interest payments and get back to participating in the economy.
These are all very common misconceptions about bankruptcy that debt collectors are very happy for people to believe. These incorrect notions are making debt buyers money hand-over-fist. It’s time to wipe those smiles off their faces by filing bankruptcy.