If you’re considering bankruptcy, you probably never imagined yourself in this position. Depending on your personality, you might feel embarrassed, stressed, or uncertain. It can even make you question what “kind” of person you are.
While it’s natural for the bankruptcy process to have an impact on your emotions, don’t let it cause an identity crisis. You can be doing everything right, and still find yourself financially upside down. In fact, some of the most successful people in history have been exactly where you are today. Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney and Henry Ford are on the list of formerly-bankrupt Americans. And like you, they probably experienced some of the emotions that are typical of each of the steps of the bankruptcy process.
We’re not here to judge you. More than anyone else on the planet, we attorneys know that many people filing for bankruptcy are stuck in that position due to things out of their control, like an unexpected medical expense or a sudden loss of income.
It’s normal to feel embarrassed. But it’s much more responsible to confront your financial hardship than ignore it, and we respect the courage it takes to sit down and face the problem directly. Our goal is to make those feelings of shame go away when we sit down and come up with a solution together.
Another emotion common at the beginning stages of filing is the stress you might be feeling about your financial future. When you feel like you’re losing your nerve, it’s important to remember is that bankruptcy is a legal process by which a debtor can begin to responsibly move forward towards having the financial future he or she desires.
Choosing to file
Unless you’re a legal or financial whiz, the process of bankruptcy might sound complicated and you may have no idea about where or how to begin. The paperwork itself can be daunting. As attorneys who’ve done this many (many) times, it’s our job to make sure your action steps are clear and concise. Bankruptcy is not for everyone, though. Each client’s unique personal situation will determine whether to file for bankruptcy or not—and if so, under which chapter. Be sure to choose a lawyer that will guide you through the process with care and concern, educating you on the steps you can take. Work with him or her to determine your steps and take them one at a time.
If you do decide to file, it’s common to feel a sense of progress. You’ve made the decision to confront your debt issues and resolve them. You’ve reached a turning point, and this provides the first sense of relief.
The Automatic Stay
There’s an injunction known as an “Automatic Stay” which comes into effect once a case is filed. This means creditors aren’t allowed to harass you anymore, you don’t have to worry about your car being repossessed in the middle of the night, and the bank can’t foreclose on your home.
Having that kind of relief is cause for celebration! Remember, you went through all of this to take control of your finances, and there’s still a lot of work left to secure your financial future.
Many people find budgeting is challenging at first. Limiting your spending can seem easier on paper than it is in real life. Life goes on, too, and new opportunities or personal problems that have nothing to do with finances can distract you from your goals. The good news? What you choose to do with the fresh opportunities bankruptcy can provide will determine the lasting emotions you have about your choice to file for bankruptcy.