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Is it Morally Wrong to File Bankruptcy?

As a Maryland Bankruptcy Attorney I find myself dealing with great emotional distress that clients feel when they first start contemplating bankruptcy. Clients feel badly about their inability to pay the bills and to meet their obligations. I very often hear when we first meet how they never expected to have to do this. They feel it’s somehow wrong for them to get help with the bills. Often clients tell me: “I was taught to pay my bills”, or “I had a 700 credit score for many years”, or “My parents have told me not to file bankruptcy because it is wrong”. Some clients even feel it is “unchristian” to relieve the yolk of debt they are burdened with.

It is normal to feel badly about our mistakes. Even if it is not our fault it is understandable that we feel unhappy when we have made agreements we not able to keep anymore. If you feel badly being unable to pay your debts, it is understandable. Doing nothing about it makes things much worse.

Bankruptcy is designed to help the honest debtor who finds himself unable to properly take care of him and his family because of unmanageable debt. The bankruptcy discharge allows you to start over financially and to be once again a productive and functioning member of society. Our society does not benefit from having a group of citizens who cannot provide for their needs or who are doomed to live worse than everyone else for most of their lives because they have debts that cannot be paid. The decision to deal with the debt is often a matter of priorities and pride. I have found that client religious or not feel strongly that their family and the needs of the family should come first, ahead of bills that cannot be paid. For those who are religious it is hard to imagine a loving father who would counsel his children to put the credit cards first, ahead of his daughter’s children.

The concept of a bankruptcy has biblical support. In the Old Testament we are told that we should forgive our debtors every seven years: “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbor or his brother, because the Lord’s release has been proclaimed”.  Deuteronomy 15: 1-3. The seven year discharge of debts is nicely codified in our bankruptcy Chapter 7 which originally allowed a debtor to get a bankruptcy discharge once every 7 years. Later it was shortened to 6 years. In 2005 it was changed so that you had to wait 8 years for a Chapter 7 discharge after obtaining one in a prior case.

Often pride is our worst enemy. Most clients agree once they have a chance to reflect what is most important to them family, and if they are religious God then family come first ahead of the bill collectors. At Broumas Law Group our Maryland Bankruptcy lawyer with over 35 years experience can help you figure out if Bankruptcy is your family’s best option.

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