Bankruptcy. That’s something that happens to other people, and definitely not something you ever expect to happen to “you”. In fact, the word itself conjures up images of people who are extremely irresponsible, people who have bought the best of everything and drive expensive cars, and people who try their best to keep up with the Smiths. That’s the typical stereotype, right? At least, that’s what most people think, until they meet “normal” people who are going through Bankruptcy.
The first lawyer we met with was worthless. As soon as I can find the paperwork from that company, I’ll post the name of that lawyer. She basically told me to stop making payments on our house. Uh… what??? Oh hell no!! I was trying to do the RIGHT thing. When we left her office, I felt confused and defeated. I did a little more research and found an extremely reputable lawyer whose focus was on bankruptcy and actually HELPING people. His name is Aaron Amore in Charles Town. Before meeting with him, I bought a Bankruptcy for Dummies book (laugh, but it was extremely informative). When we met with Amore, we had an idea of what to expect, but he explained everything even further.
Our last bankruptcy payment was on August 28th and we were formally discharged from our Chapter 13 in November. When I received my official notice (every single piece of correspondence was sent in duplicate; one to DH, and one to me), I cried as I read the letter. The Trustee congratulated us on successfully completing our plan. Of course, being the nerd that I am I had to research the percentage of successful Chapter 13 bankruptcies and I discovered the average is only 33%. 33%!!!! Yikes!!! We really were successful. We saved our marriage and paid our debt. I am still slowly catching up on my 401(k), I still cringe (even though I shouldn’t) whenever the phone rings and I don’t recognize the number, and I still cannot get a loan for the car of my dreams (although I was able to buy our son a "new" car), but things are going pretty good for us right now.
Of course, this is a very condensed version of our bankruptcy story. I would like to write something more in depth and detailed in the future. I hope that in sharing our story, I can help at least one other person. For those who may be caught up in a financial nightmare, please know that Bankruptcy is not an instantaneous end to your problems. It is difficult, but if you are dedicated and committed to fixing your problems, bankruptcy can help you recover. I would also suggest a couple of really, really good friends who will listen, offer their shoulder for good cries, and walk when you need to walk.
*****If you live in WV and would like to seek legal counseling for bankruptcy, I highly suggest Aaron Amore (http://www.amorelaw.com/). As an FYI - I was not compensated in any way whatsoever for recommending Mr. Amore. I wrote this because I wanted to share my own personal experience.