Bankruptcy Myths – Busted!
Pittsburgh bankruptcy attorney Ronald Cook breaks down the facts.
It’s no surprise that debt relief was at the top of the 2016 New Years’ resolution list for many Americans. A survey conducted by the Huffington Post revealed 57.6% of Americans set a specific goal to help them achieve financial freedom. Millennials are setting out to spend less and save more in 2016 while Gen-Xers are focused on paying down existing debt. Despite the increasing focus on debt relief across generations, the stigma surrounding bankruptcy and some popular myths remain. We spoke with Warren County bankruptcy attorney Ronald Cook of Foster Law Offices, LLC who breaks down the facts and debunks popular myths surrounding bankruptcy.
Myth: If you have been SUED by a creditor it is TOO LATE to file for bankruptcy.
Truth: Bankruptcy will immediately STOP a lawsuit, foreclosure, sheriff sale, levy and/or wage attachment. The Automatic Stay under section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code is a very powerful provision. This Section of the Bankruptcy Code directs all creditors of a debtor to cease collection activities. There is very little “wiggle room” or exception to this section of law, meaning that it routinely stops a lawsuit or judgment collection in its tracks.
Myth: You will never get a loan again after bankruptcy.
Truth: Our past clients have been sent offers to finance vehicles and the like immediately after the case is complete. After a bankruptcy case is complete, a debtors debt-to-income ratio is logically much better. In other words, there is slightly more disposable income available and post-bankruptcy debtors are in a much better position to responsibly borrow and finance. Post-Bankruptcy debtors can use this available credit to rebuild MUCH FASTER than you may think.
Myth: You can’t afford to talk to an attorney.
Truth: While we cannot speak for all attorneys, initial consultations are FREE at Foster Law Offices, LLC. Our firm offers payment plans for just about everyone; including those on a fixed income. We have worked with thousands of debtors in the past and have done everything possible to create a payment plan to help our clients manage their legal fees. The biggest obstacle to making this work is scheduling a free consultation with our office, where we can speak to you one-on-one about your unique financial situation and provide you with in depth information regarding legal fees and payment options.
Myth: You can lose your job due to bankruptcy.
Truth: Federal law (11 U.S.C. Sec. 525) prohibits any employer from discriminating against you because you filed bankruptcy.
Myth: Medical bills cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
Truth: Medical bills, credit card bills and personal loans CAN be discharged in bankruptcy. This myth is extremely common and couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Federal Bankruptcy Code does NOT designate special treatment in bankruptcy for medicial bills. So let’s put this myth to rest, YES medical bills CAN be discharged in bankruptcy.
Myth: You will lose everything you own when you file for bankruptcy.
Truth: In most cases, you can keep your home, vehicles, household goods and pension. The Bankruptcy laws provide specific “exemptions” or “protections” for most basic possessions. In general, proper exemption planning will allow you to retain your basic assets to enable a true fresh start.
Myth: Bankruptcy ruins your credit for seven years or longer.
Truth: In most cases, bankruptcy will actually IMPROVE your credit. Lingering delinquent debts will drag your credit score down for years. Ignoring the situation certainly does not make the matter any better. Filing for bankruptcy normally improves your debt to income ratio and usually makes new, small lines of credit available following the conclusion of a case. A debtor can use this NEW CREDIT wisely to improve credit in a fairly short period of time, usually much less than seven years.
Myth: Debt Consolidation companies are better than bankruptcy.
Truth: Most debt consolidation companies are SCAMS, ruin your credit and ultimately FAIL. Not all debt consolidation companies are scams, but good luck finding the ones that are legit. There is very minimal regulation on these companies and there are new businesses “popping up” seemingly overnight. Normally, I see that by the time my clients figure out that the company is not doing what was promised, several thousand dollars is lost. Bankruptcy is much more certain and there is no “scam” involved. Attorneys are heavily regulated by the courts and other administrative bodies, to protect YOU.
Disclaimer: Foster Law Offices, LLC is a debt relief agency, helping people file for relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.