The Morality of Filing Bankruptcy

Posted on November 22, 2011 at 10:45am by

As a practicing bankruptcy attorney for over 25 years, I have talked to thousands of people about the pros and cons of filing bankruptcy. One of the most frequent reasons cited against filing by potential clients is the “morality” question. I often hear comments such as: “I wasn’t raised that way,” or “I am a very religious person and it isn’t the moral thing to do,” or “I have always paid my bills, can’t we negotiate a payment plan?”

Dealing with potential clients’ feelings of a moral lapse or inadequacy is not easy. The fact is that no matter what I tell some folks with these concerns, they will always feel that filing bankruptcy is a moral failure on their part. These feelings are sometimes reinforced by what they hear in the media, from neighbors or acquaintances and sometimes even from the pulpit.

While I try not to disagree with a potential client’s moral views, what I do counsel about the opportunity to file bankruptcy is the following:

  1. The idea of bankruptcy actually comes from the Bible. The chance to wash away ones debts every 7 years comes from the book of Deuteronomy. The Bible also cautions against charging interest and usury and encourages compassion.
  2. Creditors understand when they grant you credit that there is a chance you will not pay it back. That is why they charge interest. When someone sells you something on credit, and understands that the possibility of bankruptcy can cancel that obligation, the transaction becomes one of a business nature b not a moral one!
  3. Each of us needs to run our financial lives like a business…and make business-like decisions. Continuing to make outrageous mortgage payments on a home not worth what is owed, is not good business. Similarly, trying to pay unsecured debts such as credit cards or medical bills that can never be paid, is equally foolish.
  4. The chance to put new, hard earned money toward future needs (such as basic household needs for transportation, food or school) instead of past debts, is an opportunity few can really ignore in these difficult times.
  5. By filing bankruptcy, and actually taking care of your debts, you are really taking an important step to deal with your problems, put them in the past, and move forward so that you can handle matters as they arise in the future.

When a potential client considers the advantages of putting future earnings to use to pay for future needs, as opposed to curing past mistakes, the question of the morality of filing bankruptcy can seem secondary. While I respect the feelings of each potential client I counsel, I have found over the years that the information above can often help many potential clients feel much better about the decision to file and address their problems.

If you live in Kansas or Missouri, pick up the phone and call Neil today for a free consultation at (816) 561 1818 to learn more about the options available to you. Ask about our Chapter 13 sale where for a limited time you can file for as little as $99 up front, plus court costs!

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