When I meet with potential clients for the first time, I feel their apprehension about filing for bankruptcy. Often times, they fear the stigma of bankruptcy. They feel like they have failed themselves and their families. They are worried what other family members, friends, neighbors and employers will think about them. I spend a lot of time explaining the process, confidentiality, and easing their anxiety.
Lawyers are sometimes called counselors, and I think it’s a very real and important part of being someone’s attorney – to also be their counselor. I take clients’ anxiety seriously. Financial distress is a legitimate concern. And, the emotional issues that come with it are real.
In reality, the stigma of bankruptcy is more of an internal, personal thing. It is true that when you file for bankruptcy, it is a public filing. However, it doesn’t come up on a simple Google search. So, for the most part, only people that will find out are those with whom you share the news. And, your creditors, who will get notice of your bankruptcy, but who will rarely have any reason even care about your bankruptcy in particular because, for the most part, they are large institutional creditors. If anything, you should know, and take comfort in the fact, that once you file bankruptcy your creditors will leave you alone!
With regard to your job, your employer should never find out that you filed for bankruptcy. The only exception would be if you owed your employer money, or there was a wage garnishment that got lifted or something like that, and in either of those cases, your employer already knows you are having financial trouble so it is not changing anything. Otherwise, your employer has absolutely no right to ask about whether or not you filed for bankruptcy relief and will not know about it unless you volunteer the information. Also, in many cases is not even a legal question to ask on employment applications.
Don’t let the stigma of bankruptcy stop you from getting financial freedom and relief. The benefits can clearly outweigh the risks. There is no shame in putting yourself in a better position. Please call me to discuss your situation.