Over the years, we have educated our clients about their bankruptcy options and how bankruptcy can affect your credit score. We’ve explained the different Chapters of bankruptcy and provided advice regarding dealing with creditors. We’ve shared a lot of information about what bankruptcy is, but perhaps not enough time discussing how bankruptcy may make you feel. While bankruptcy is a perfectly valid option for those needing financial relief, the process often makes people feel guilty or ashamed. However, we are here to assure you that bankruptcy happens to good, diligent people all the time. In fact, in 2022, there were nearly 375,000 personal bankruptcies filed by normal, everyday people just trying to get back on track.

Personal bankruptcy attorneys have helped people from all walks of life – and understand the myriad of situations that people may face. But with enough expertise and discharged bankruptcies, they also know that bad things do indeed sometimes happen to good people. Many people still associate adverse feelings or perceptions with the bankruptcy process – or worse, the person who chooses to file. It can be impossible for someone who has never experienced financial distress to understand what it feels like to be crippled by debt with no way to climb out. Until someone has walked through that scenario personally, those judgments are unfair.

It’s Not a Reflection on You

Looking in from the outside, you may think that the only reason someone would file for bankruptcy is if they did something wrong or were refusing to take responsibility for their own actions. But that’s not an accurate assessment when it comes to most personal bankruptcies.

Many of those who ended up choosing bankruptcy were routinely careful with their finances, but then something happened that they did not anticipate. In fact, it is typically an unexpected event (or series of events) that results in a need for legal relief. Because no one can prepare for every eventuality, it is entirely plausible that virtually anyone can find themselves in a challenging financial position.

Some of the most common scenarios that inspire people to seek bankruptcy protection have absolutely no connection to making a poor choice or failing to plan appropriately – nor does filing for bankruptcy reflect any character flaw. These situations may include:

  • Their place of employment goes out of business or has to layoff personnel
  • Wage earners experience a health emergency or develop a chronic illness
  • Medical expenses and debt become overwhelming
  • An unforeseen family tragedy or situation arises
  • A legal situation unrelated to creditors or the bankruptcy process
  • A death in the family, especially of a primary wage earner

This list reveals just a few examples of the many situations that cause good people to call a bankruptcy attorney for help. Whether you’re considering a bankruptcy filing for yourself – or you are speaking with a friend or family member about their financial situation – always remember that bankruptcy can happen to anyone. Not only that, bankruptcy is a valid, legal, and affordable way to get a fresh start.

At the law offices of Richard V. Ellis, we understand that every financial crisis is complicated and nuanced, and we are here to help, not judge. With hundreds of successful bankruptcy discharges completed, we have the expertise you need to move forward confidently.

Richard V. Ellis is an experienced bankruptcy attorney based in Sarasota.