Bankruptcy Resources • Author Mark Martella, Esq • Sep 05, 2014
Most people, when they feel they have been wronged and need an attorney, are quick to pick up the phone and make an appointment. The general exception to this rule is for people who are facing the possible need to file bankruptcy.
There is a fear of the unknown and the embarrassment that comes with the thought of having to file for bankruptcy. Quite often we find that clients are embarrassed and feel that they are the only ones in their circle of friends or co-workers who have faced the same financial difficulties.
The reality is that there are tens of thousands of individuals, including their friends and neighbors who file for bankruptcy each year and who understand the difficulties that they are going through. Each year the Clerk for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, where we are located, reports the number of annual filings.
Over the past five years, there have been over 269,000 bankruptcies filed in the Middle District alone. The Middle District is a diagonal district starting in Naples and working its way north to Tampa across to Orlando and ending in Jacksonville. In 2012 the total filings were 45,898. While this is down 14% over the 2011 filings but it is still 8% higher than the 2008 filings of 42,450. Over the last five years, the year with the greatest number of filings was 2010 which had 66,476 filings. Of the 45,898 filings for 2012, over 19,000 were filed in the Tampa and Fort Myers Districts.
The bottom line is that the myth that you are alone or unique in filing for bankruptcy and facing difficult financial challenges is simply that, a myth. Most people would be surprised to learn of all of their friends, acquaintances and even family members who have had to file for the protection provide by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. My point is that unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges that bankruptcy attorneys face is the psychological barrier that clients have even after coming in for a consultation.
These psychological challenges only delay the benefits that one receives from a bankruptcy discharge. I would liken it to someone with a toothache who has a fear of the dentist (like me)! You put it off, and put it off, and put it off, until it gets to the point where you need to have the tooth pulled or a root canal. While I can assure you that the bankruptcy process is not as painful as a root canal or having a tooth pulled, the result in the end is a tremendous relief of the stresses of being harassed by creditors and worries of having your wages or bank account levied upon.
One of the advantages that a member of the general public has over a famous person is that the bankruptcy filing process, while public record, is generally not on the radar screens of your friends, co-workers or family members. Unlike famous athletes, like Warren Sapp, Michael Vick or music and Hollywood stars, your bankruptcy filing will generally go unnoticed.
Bankruptcy Was Created by Congress
Finally, I leave you with the thought that bankruptcy was created by Congress as a material tool necessary for our capitalistic system to function. Many great entrepreneurs such as Milton Hershey, Walt Disney and PT Barnum, had to file for bankruptcy to get a fresh start. Had they not had the opportunity to file for bankruptcy and be relieved from their creditors, they would never have been able to create the great business empires which employ millions of people and contribute immensely to our economy.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney
If you have a situation as we described in this article and have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us to answer your bankruptcy legal questions.
Martella Bankruptcy Firm
18501 Murdock Circle, Suite 304
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
5237 Summerlin Commons, Suite 411
Fort Myers, FL 33907