There Is an Unwarranted Stigma Surrounding Filing for Bankruptcy

Interviewer: Why do you think there is such a powerful shame surrounding bankruptcy that makes people have such an aversion to it?

Many People Are Faced with Unforeseen Financial Crises: The Majority of People Who File for Bankruptcy Are Not Escaping from Situations of Their Own Creation

Court: It does. Filing for bankruptcy has a huge stigma. It’s understandable why people feel that way because that’s just how society views it. In our culture, you’re expected to pull your own weight, and there are many stories in the media about people who file bankruptcy, or seek help from somebody because they want a free handout or an easy way out of a situation of their own making.

But by and large, the people that I deal with have insurmountable problems. They have a serious medical issue or some sort of very understandable reason that has resulted in them being placed in this situation.

Bankruptcy Was Created as an Avenue of Assistance, not Avoidance of Debt

It’s really a shame that they try so hard to avoid getting help, when I could really help them out. And it’s a shame that there’s such a stigma attached to it within society, when really there are a lot people that just really need the help of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Filing in the Corporate World Is a Common Occurrence

If you look at corporate America, as opposed to just consumers, corporations file bankruptcy all the time. Celebrities file bankruptcy all the time. They don’t think twice about it. It’s part of the law, and it’s almost part of a business strategy in a certain sense.

There Were Almost Two Million Bankruptcy Filings in 2012

Interviewer: I imagine that people feel like they’re the only one, and they’re the irresponsible one and the black sheep. I just recently saw a statistic that shows almost 1.8 million people filed bankruptcy in 2012. That’s a large number of people filing. Maybe people shouldn’t feel alone, is that right?

Court: Yes, absolutely. You probably know people, in fact, almost anybody knows people who have filed bankruptcy. They just don’t know that the individual has because it’s not something that you go and talk about.

You’re not going to go and file bankruptcy because it has such a stigma and then go and tell all your friends. “Oh hey, what did you do today?” “Oh, I talked to a bankruptcy attorney and I’m going to file bankruptcy”.

That’s not something that’s going to enter into the conversation unless you have a really close friend. Especially lately, with the financial problems our country has had over the past several years, the courthouse is full of people filing bankruptcy. Yet, most everyone still doesn’t realize how common it is and how many people need help.

By Court Koehler

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