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Bankruptcy Myths

Like most formidable situations, bankruptcy has earned its reputation based on very few truthful facts and too many false embellishments. The majority of the miseducation of the public has occurred since the current bankruptcy laws went into effect. But have no fear, once you know the facts, filing for bankruptcy is not nearly as terrifying as it first appears. Here are some of the most common myths about bankruptcy and what you need to know before you clean your slate.


Myth #1: It is difficult to file for bankruptcy.

False. The new bankruptcy laws have drastically reduced the time it takes to be discharged from bankruptcy down to an average of nine months. In today’s economic landscape, it is understandable that individuals need to file for bankruptcy in order to start over. A qualified, experienced bankruptcy lawyer can make the process as simple and painless as possible.


Myth #2: You will lose everything you own.

This one of the biggest misnomers deterring people from filing. Bankruptcy laws do vary from state to state, but every state has exemptions that can protect certain assets, such as your house, car, qualified retirement plans, household goods and necessary clothing.


Myth #3: You will never get credit again.

Quite the opposite, actually. Before you even get home from the courthouse, your mailbox could be rich with credit cards offers again. The catch is that they will be from subprime lenders charging very high interest rates. In fact, if you have a credit card with no balance at the time you file, you may not have to include it in your list of creditors, since you don’t owe them money. You may even be able to keep the card after the bankruptcy is finished.


Myth #4: If you are married, both spouses have to file.

This one is tricky, but not entirely true. It is very uncommon for one spouse to have a significant amount of debt in their name only. If there are debts that a married couple wants to get discharged in which they are both liable for, they will need to file together. If only one spouse files for bankruptcy, the creditors usually demand the entire payment from the spouse who didn’t file.


Myth #5: You can only file for bankruptcy once.

You can actually file for bankruptcy more than once, but the new bankruptcy laws extended the amount of time in between filings. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be filed for once every eight years and a Chapter 13 filing once every two years. If you want to file for both on separate occasions, there is a four year wait in between the two filings.


Myth #6: Everyone will know you filed for bankruptcy.

Unless you are a very prominent person or a major corporation and the media gets word, the only people that will know about your filing are your creditors. These days, the amount of people filing is so immense that very few publications have the time, space or inclination to run anyone’s name