Today marks the 12th anniversary of the implementation of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). The BAPCPA, bought and paid for by the banks and credit card companies, represented the biggest overhaul of the bankruptcy system in our country in almost 30 years.
At the time the legislation was passed, I served on the board of directors of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA). NACBA opposed the legislation fiercely but after seven failed attempts, and immense lobbying expenditures by the credit card industry, congress finally succumbed. The legislation was passed by the Senate in March and then by the House of Representatives on April 14, 2005. It was signed into law by President Bush on April 20, 2005 with most of its provisions becoming effective on October 17, 2005.
Having represented consumers in bankruptcy proceedings for over thirty years, I can state definitively that BAPCPA was named inappropriately. It has proven to be anything but a “consumer protection act” and certainly does not “prevent bankruptcy abuse”. The law has simply created more unnecessary paperwork, additional layers of bureaucracy and more costs for consumer debtors who are already broke.
Twelve Years Later
The good news is that competent bankruptcy lawyers have learned how to navigate the changes in the law and in many cases, use them to the debtor’s advantage. We have attended many hours of seminars to learn the law. We have also accumulated twelve years of experience litigating the changes that have been made. If you are a consumer facing financial challenges, you should feel confident that an experienced bankruptcy attorney will be able to tell you the way the law will be applied to your situation and the results that you should expect. In most circumstances, the attorney will be able to obtain the same, or better, results than before the law was changed. If you are struggling, you may still be able to eliminate most unsecured debts such as credit card and medical bills. You may be able to stop a foreclosure, wage garnishment or repossession. The important thing is to schedule an appointment with an attorney sooner rather than later. Be proactive and allow the attorney to prevent problems from happening rather than cleaning up the mess after they have occurred.
At Bond & Botes, we have been helping people with money problems for almost thirty years – both before and after the implementation of BAPCPA. Our attorneys offer experienced advice in a kind, compassionate and confidential manner. If you are feeling the stress of finances that are out of control, please give us a call.