You think deciding to file for bankruptcy is a life-changing event. I understand your concerns.
But you may be completely wrong as to why it may be life-changing. Even now, in the information age, I am flabbergasted at what people believe about bankruptcy.
“I would have called you earlier, but I was told I would lose my house.”
“I read on the internet where the court sends someone out and they look at everything that you own and take stuff.”
“I didn’t want to give up my car.”
“I know they yell at me for having all of these bills.”
“If they find out at work I am going to get fired.”
All of them are myths. I thought the internet was supposed to facilitate learning. So let’s get to some of these false statements.
Will you be in danger of losing your house? That's very rare and never without your knowing about it before you would agree to enter into bankruptcy. Almost everyone is able to protect their house because the law allows it in most circumstances. You will still make the mortgage payments, but you will do so from the comfort of your living room. If there is any chance that your house would be in jeopardy, Steidl and Steinberg will look to other possible solutions so that we can eliminate that chance.
Are you in danger of losing your vehicle? That's also rare, and for the same reasons. The law allows you to keep a certain amount of equity in vehicles and even provides a “wild card” in certain situations where your equity in the vehicle is high. That doesn’t mean that you will be able to hold onto your 1963 Corvette Split Window that's worth $50,000.00 and still discharge all of your credit cards. But for the rest of us normal vehicle owners, no problem.
Will someone go through your house? We have handled over 30,000 cases at Steidl and Steinberg and we have never seen this. You will attend a Meeting of Creditors and it's rare that any of your creditors show up. The Trustee or the Trustee’s Attorney does have an agenda: they are there to ask certain questions that are required by the law. And they are there to determine whether there may be assets available, other than those you wish to keep (which in most of our clients’ cases is all of the assets in every case). In fact, the most common comment we get after these meetings, which last all of about six minutes, is “Is that all there is? It wasn’t bad at all.”
Will you be fired if your employer finds out you filed bankruptcy? Another myth. In over 30,000 cases that we have filed at Steidl and Steinberg, we have never seen that happen. That's because it's against the law. Go online and look up 11 U.S.C. Section 525, which says that “No private employer may terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, an individual who is or has been a debtor under this title. . . .or in individual associated with such debtor or bankrupt. . . ”. And this is the same for government jobs.
The late Groucho Marx once said: “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?” In this case, you can believe Steidl and Steinberg.