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It is over! And words of encouragement...

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  • It is over! And words of encouragement...

    This morning I woke up with a happy birthday message from this forum on my phone. (yes, it's true, 44). That prompted me to log into my bankruptcy court electronic filing account and check the status of my case, which is when I got the best birthday gift I think I'll get today: My case is closed, trustee discharged, bond cancelled and estate fully administered. My Chapter 7 is finally done, three years, six months and three days — 1,281 days — after it began.

    Why did it take so long? Foreclosure and a (in my opinion) greedy trustee who hoped to get a cut of the action. She had a Realtor put on to my case to try and sell my house. As far as I know, he never did a thing, as he never stopped by to look at the inside, never listed it anywhere, never put a sign out or anything. But while they dithered, the foreclosure was on hold. And just as soon as the bank petitioned to be able to proceed with the foreclosure, my ex (whose name was on the mortgage papers) also filed for bankruptcy, putting it on hold again. And then when he was done with his bankruptcy (case closed within six months, so I know it was a peculiarity of the trustee and not of the mortgage), my trustee and Realtor continued to dawdle. FINALLY in February - nearly three years after I filed my Chapter 7, the house went to sheriff's sale. Once the grace period ended in August, there was nothing left to hold the trustee back, so she finally filed her report of no distribution. All that said, I did get my discharge on schedule. But waiting for the whole thing to close was like waiting for a shoe to drop, and I was forever fearful that a change in my life circumstances, including raises, my father's death 15 months after I filed and my mother adding me as a secondary to her accounts, would make the greedy trustee try to find her way in.

    So, it's over. What have I learned?

    1. More than anything, I believe that the stigma around bankruptcy exists because it serves creditors well. The more scared people are of filing for bankruptcy - the more shame they feel and the more they fear they will never recover - the less likely people are to make this business decision. Which brings me to point 2...

    2. Bankruptcy is a business decision. Corporations make these kinds of decisions whenever it is their best option. They don't feel guilt or shame. Common people should be just as bold about doing what is best for them and their families. It's a big decision, no doubt, but when faced with a lifetime of minimum payments and never emerging from debt that way, it is the rational choice.

    3. Don't be so afraid. I was terrified that my credit union, where I did my banking AND had a car loan, would seize all my funds once I filed. It never happened. There were so many other fears along the way, which are hard for me to even remember now because none of them materialized.

    4. You may bounce back quicker than you expect. My credit score is now a respectable 642. Having a bankruptcy on record was not a hindrance to getting a lease on an apartment this summer. Actually, it was the foreclosure they asked about.

    5. Take your time and think strategically. I knew I was headed for bankruptcy in 2010 — back when I had a $55,000-a-year job that I expected I would be laid off from soon (newspapers are not the place to be). Had I filed then, it would have been a Chapter 11. But by waiting for the inevitable, I thought I could qualify for a Chapter 7. Back in 2010, I stopped payments on credit cards. When I was eventually laid off the next year, I stopped payment on my mortgage — I really had no choice at that point. After six months of unemployment, my income had shifted so that I easily qualified for a Chapter 7. Meanwhile, my family was going nuts urging me to pull the trigger and get it over with. But by resisting the urge to just get it done, I made it a lot easier on myself.

    6. Get support. These forums helped me a lot as I was preparing to file and going through the first months of bankruptcy. You can learn a lot here. Get support from friends and family, too. Care for yourself and consider a therapist if the stress gets to you. It goes without saying, get a lawyer you trust. Don't go this alone.

    Finally, I want to express my gratitude to this forum for helping me through an emotional and challenging chapter of my life. Thank you!


  • #2
    Congrats and Happy Birthday. Thanks for sharing.
    11/23/'10-filed ch 13. 1/6/'11-341, confirmed. Below median. Plan completed 11/30/2015. DISSCHARGED 4/4/2016.JP

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    • #3
      Hah, I said Ch. 11 when it should have been Ch. 13. Whoopsie :-)

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      • #4
        All good points and congratulations to you. Point #5 is where a lot of people go astray by using bk as an "emergency financial tool". It should be thought out, planned, and executed according to plan. By the way, in 2009, my credit score was 601 before filing bk. Today, it's 742 and no problem to get anything financed if I want.
        All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
        Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......

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        • #5
          Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

          Your post is excellent and should be read by all who are considering bankruptcy as long as they understand that your experience of the long drawn out Chap 7 is rare. I'm going to make it a sticky.
          Last edited by LadyInTheRed; 10-30-2015, 03:03 PM.
          LadyInTheRed is in the black!
          Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
          $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!

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          • #6
            WoW!!! What a case you had, but CONGRATULATIONS!!! And you have had the best Birthday Present ever! Congrats again! Here you go:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9aA_fba_To

            AND CLOSED!
            "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

            "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."

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            • #7
              I really like the thread, I find it encouraging. I will be meeting with an attorney in the next couple of days and it's really scary, this process. I have a hard time thinking about it without almost getting sick. The mind games and shame are almost unbearable. The thing that worries me the most is "the meeting".

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              • #8
                Congratulations!!! 👍

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                • #9
                  I agree with your post. This is all for people who want to consider filing for bankruptcy. It’s one way to recover from overwhelming debt. Just as long as you planned it properly there is nothing to be afraid of.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Viper1 View Post
                    I really like the thread, I find it encouraging. I will be meeting with an attorney in the next couple of days and it's really scary, this process. I have a hard time thinking about it without almost getting sick. The mind games and shame are almost unbearable. The thing that worries me the most is "the meeting".
                    I was worried about it to, but my attorney said - just be honest. They ask you questions based on your paperwork. It's quick and pain-free.

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