Several years ago a client of mine came in with his girlfriend and suddenly burst into tears when I asked him to explain what had happened. He told me how he had planned suicide when a woman came across him and stopped him from going ahead. That was his girlfriend he came to visit me with.
I have had at least three clients actually commit suicide during a five-year Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is about three times the national average, so there is a real risk of depression and desperation in bankruptcy. We all learned of the wealthy men who had lost it all leaping from buildings in the Great Depression. And indeed when vicious creditors or snide family members turn on you you really do need bankruptcy.
There was a time before there was bankruptcy when creditors could use almost any means to recover their money – they could jump through your window and take your silver. Terrible things happened and so the concept of bankruptcy was invented. After all, you can’t squeeze blood from a stone, you can’t have an endless state of desperate insolvency with no hope for respite, so the standard bankruptcy concept emerged. The debt would be forgiven but you would have to hand over your assets.
The United States has always been a debtor friendly nation – debtor prisons supplied many of the early settler populations and our Chapter 11 is regarded with incredulity in most parts of the world. Here in New York, for example, a liquidation Chapter 7 couple can keep $260,000 in realty assets while discharging all their debt in bankruptcy.
There really is no good reason why financial stress should lead to suicide. We bankruptcy attorneys can solve almost any problem, although most of our clients have not slept for six (6) months, they always emerge with a lighter more confident step once they have seen us.
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