I admit it. I looked around the internet before I wrote this blog. I was thinking, “Well, if someone else has already done the job, maybe I can save some time and adapt their work.” Funny thing – I found nothing that was any good. It is easy to find laundry lists of reasons to file bankruptcy: unemployment, illness, and divorce account for many cases. Some sites just list the BENEFITS of filing for bankruptcy, such as protection from creditors (no more phone calls), the ability to stop a foreclosure, and the fresh start you get when it is over. But that was not what I was shooting for either. I wanted to articulate what I think is the best reason to file bankruptcy, in Massachusetts at least.
It is expensive to live here. I see client after client who has a very high mortgage payment; $3000 a month or more is not uncommon. Food is expensive here since most of it is trucked in from far away. Water bills and utility bills are higher than most places. However, unless you have a good job in high tech or maybe the financial sector, pay is really about the same as anywhere else. Middle class families are financially stressed – “one pay check away from bankruptcy” is a common refrain. No wonder we recently sent Elizabeth Warren to the Senate. She talked about the stressed middle class too.
So, people come in – usually (but not always) couples who have a few kids in school and a house to maintain. They are unhappy. Personally stressed, and in a stressed relationship. Sometimes there are accusations traded, but usually people are just sad and resigned. They are not getting along. Their kids sense it and start to ask questions or get stressed themselves. This is truly the best thing about being a bankruptcy lawyer. I give them a way out. It’s not easy or fun to file bankruptcy, but when it saves a marriage or resolves conflict that has up till then permeated a household, it is really worth it. I think I have saved more marriages than the therapist in the office next door to me.
Bottom line – happiness is the best reason to file for bankruptcy. So many people say the same thing after our first meeting; “I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.” I also get phone calls and emails telling me how much better life is a few months after filing. If you are having problems, give me a call – I can do the same thing for you.