This may sound like a funny question but after over twenty five (25) years of counseling and representing people with money problems, I have observed that a great many of them follow the same emotional patterns while going through the bankruptcy process.
When people first come to see me, they are often at wits end. Money problems have taken over their lives. Contrary to what many people say; the stigma of filing bankruptcy, indeed of even consulting with a bankruptcy attorney, remains strong. They have put off seeing me for as long as possible. Prior to seeing me, they may have tried a quick fix. Often they have paid money to some company they learned about on the internet or through a radio advertisement that promised to help them “avoid bankruptcy” and cure all of their financial problems. The quick fix didn’t work and the financial stress has become even worse. I see it in their eyes when they walk into my office. There has been tension in their home. Arguing has taken place amongst spouses. They have often gone with little sleep having stayed awake worrying about their bills. They don’t want to lose their homes to foreclosure or cars to repossession.
The Bankruptcy Process
I close the office door and we have a confidential consultation. There is no cost for this initial consultation and no commitments made. Despite the fact that I make a living helping people with bankruptcy, my first objective is to find a way other than bankruptcy to address their financial problems. Bankruptcy should never be the first option. If we conclude that some form of bankruptcy is appropriate, we come up with a game plan as to how their debt will be dealt with. A fee is quoted and often a payment plan is entered into so that the fee can be paid without further disrupting their lives. The new client is sent home with paperwork to gather for our next appointment. By the time the individual (or married couple) leaves my office; the weight is starting to come off of their shoulders. I can see that there will be more peace in their home that night.
When they return to my office for their next appointment, they have clearly been sleeping better and have regained a skip in their step. We put together the necessary documents and prepare a bankruptcy petition to be filed. Once it is filed with the court, an order called an “automatic stay” is immediately entered by the bankruptcy judge. This order stops virtually all collection activities. If a foreclosure has been started, it is stopped. If a repossession has been initiated, it is stopped. Lawsuits and garnishments stop. In short, a protective bubble surrounds the individual and protects him from his creditors.
At the end of the bankruptcy process, the court will enter a “discharge” order declaring most or all of the individual’s debt to be gone. A “fresh start” has been granted. My client has a new life with new opportunities. The burden of debt has been removed and a great sense of relief is felt.
If the stress from debt is becoming overwhelming for you, please feel free to call one of our conveniently located offices so that we can help you obtain a fresh start and sense of relief.
- Bankruptcy Gives you a Fresh Start to Reach Your Dreams
- Five Bankruptcy Myths
- What Bankruptcy Can Do For You
- What the Bible Says About Bankruptcy
Brad Botes is a principal of each of the Bond & Botes Law Offices throughout Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. He and his team of bankruptcy lawyers have spent over 30 years guiding people through financial challenges. Read his full bio here.