The Shame Factor in Bankruptcy

Get Over Your Shame — The Bankruptcy Laws Are There to Help You

What do these people have in common?

  • Rembrandt van Rijn (the famous Dutch painter)
  • Henry Ford
  • Walt Disney
  • Donald Trump
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Johnny Unitas
  • Michael Vick

They all sought protection under the bankruptcy laws during their lifetime.

You may be struggling to meet your obligations, whether because of an illness or injury, the loss of a job, a divorce or just plain poor money management. You may fear that, if you file for bankruptcy, others will find out and you will be labeled a failure. Because of your concerns about your reputation, or simply because of the power of shame, you may be unwilling to seek protection. But the best advice you can be given is to get over it.

The U.S. Congress enacted the bankruptcy laws not as a form of punishment, but as a way for people to recover and have productive lives after financial difficulty. Most people who seek protection in bankruptcy have simply been victims of unlucky breaks. The bankruptcy laws, however, don’t ask why you have fallen on hard times. They only ask if you want to get a fresh start.

Another thing you may not know — the founding fathers believed in the principle of bankruptcy, so much so that they enshrined the right to bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Constitution. It’s highly unlikely that they thought bankruptcy a shameful act. It was there before freedom of speech.

Though the decision to file for bankruptcy should not be taken lightly, your concerns ought not to be tied to the potential for shame or guilt. Should you determine that discharging or restructuring your debt through bankruptcy is in your best long-term interests, you will be in good company.

Contact John Hargrave and Associates

We have provided comprehensive counsel to individuals in and around Barrington, New Jersey, since 1977. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-547-6500.

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