Heard a Bankruptcy Myth – Don't Believe It!


The Creatures of the Court and Tales of Discharge –bankruptcy myth

 Bankruptcy Myths Debunked

No area of law is more fraught with myths than bankruptcy law.  When you are considering filing you will hear all kinds of information which is half-true, misleading or outright false.  Like a mythical mermaid which some say lure a sailor to their deaths, and others say are angels of the deep, bankruptcy tales vary and grow with lore each time they are told.

Here are some bankruptcy myths I have heard as the Ohio State Attorney.  You may have also heard the following tales of discharge and the creatures of the court.

  • Bankruptcy Myth No.1:  The Bankruptcy Trustee Will Take Everything

No, the Trustee will not come into your home, take an inventory and force you to sell all your belongings.  Filing for bankruptcy will not result in you losing your possessions. Under Chapter 7 petitions, your assets can be seized and sold. However, 90% of Chapter 7 petitions are considered to be no-asset cases, because of the exemption levels set for personal property under the code. Assets are ‘protected‘ and cannot be seized.  As far as legal proceedings go, Trustees are usually very caring and understanding individuals who have spent their careers practicing bankruptcy law.  The only time most debtors come in contact with a trustee is at the 341 Hearing where they question the debtor, usually only lasting approximately 5-10 minutes.  Do not fear the Trustee, they are human and not a mythical creature.

  • Bankruptcy Myth No.2:  Both Spouses Have To File For Bankruptcy

It is not uncommon for one spouse to have significant debt that is in their name only.  Where debts are in both names, the non-filing partner could still be sued for the outstanding debt. If all the debts are in one name, then that is the only person necessary to file.  Again, talk with your bankruptcy attorney at the beginning of the case to determine if it is in your interest to file a bankruptcy petition together.

  • Bankruptcy Myth No. 3:  I Will Never Get Credit Again

Most people are amazed by the volume of offers for credit cards they receive after they file for bankruptcy.  Most of these offers will be from subprime lenders who will provide credit at incredibly high rates, but you will have access to credit.  With this access comes the real possibility that you will run into financial problems again.  Talk to us about how to responsibly re-establish your credit.

  • Bankruptcy Myth No. 4:  All My Debts Will Be Gone

No, Certain types of debts cannot be discharged, or erased. They include child support and alimony, restitution for a criminal act and debts incurred as the result of fraud, as well as the majority of student loans.  Talk to your bankruptcy attorney about the types of relief you can expect and what debts will live on after your filing.

  • Bankruptcy Myth No. 5:  I Am A Failure

Filing for bankruptcy is NOT a personal failing.  The most common reasons people file for bankruptcy is job loss, a major medical crisis, the death of a partner, or divorce.  I practice bankruptcy law because I want to help people through tough financial times, and a fresh financial start may be the answer to help someone experiencing a traumatic and horrible event in their life.  Everyone deserves a fresh start; a chance to start over  and take control again of their financial future and security.

Have you heard a bankruptcy myth? Are considering filing for bankruptcy? If you have questions about the bankruptcy process, please call me today at (937)-318-1529!  I want to help you obtain your fresh start for a new tomorrow – Ohio State Attorney, David Smith.