Legal Counsel for Bankruptcy and Real Estate Law
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Feelings Of Shame And Guilt Over Bankruptcy

Many of the good people that I counsel regarding bankruptcy come into my office under tremendous stress and are upset or even crying. Some of this stress is without doubt caused by rude and unethical collection agents that threaten, harass, and intimidate debtors at all hours of the day and night. Some of the stress is caused by the realization that they have come to a pivotal point in their financial lives and are in need of professional help. For many people, however, there is a heavy feeling of guilt associated with the concept that they may be filing for bankruptcy relief.
These are just a few things that I like to remind clients that are burdened with feelings of guilt or shame:
In the vast majority of cases, it is not your fault.
In the case of health problems which bring on loss of the ability to work full time and large medical bills: I have never met a person that tried to get sick or injured. These are unfortunate events that simply happen, and they are no one’s fault.
In the case of a failed business venture or investment: America was built upon the spirit of entrepreneurship and risk taking. Without the courage of those willing to take risks in order to create businesses and invest in other’s businesses, this would not be a land of opportunity and free enterprise. Bankruptcy laws are tailored to encourage this spirit and provide a fresh start mechanism when such undertakings fail. Most successful business people suffer through several business failures before they experienced success. There is no shame in having given your best effort and failed.
There are a variety of other circumstances that lead to financial insolvency. Divorce, foreclosures, and unwillingness of creditors to work with debtors on reasonable repayment terms are just a few. None of these are situations that are entered into happily or with a deliberate intent to treat creditors unfairly. They simply happen and the consequences must be dealt with so that individuals can move on and become productive members of society again.
If any of these circumstances have fallen upon you, don’t blame yourself and don’t take it out on your spouse. Evaluate your situation calmly, learn from the past, and take action to move forward in the best way possible.