Periodically our office likes to reach out to our clients to give others an idea how the process of filing bankruptcy works with our office. Allowing others to tell their story helps give potential clients a good idea of how a bankruptcy works and may help dispel common misconceptions. We have taken out all identifying information to protect the client’s anonymity.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am 33 years old and I live in a suburb of Metro Detroit. I work as a project manager at a local advertising company. I have a bachelor’s degree from a large state university. I own a home in Metro Detroit with a mortgage.
What experience caused you to contact our office for debt help?
I racked up a pretty large amount of credit card debt in around my time in college and have been paying the monthly minimums for almost ten years. I made some poor decisions and it came to the point where I could no longer pay off the monthly minimums. The credit card companies issued the accounts to collection agencies and began to send me letters incessantly. I owe over $20,000 in credit card debt and can’t even begin to pay them down. I did a consult with a debt settlement program and they were unable to work with me because the monthly minimum was too high.
What was your understanding of bankruptcy before you worked with our office?
I always thought it was for people that were dead broke without any assets. I never imagined I would be in the position where I would need to file bankruptcy. Frankly, I was embarrassed to even be associated with the term.
Explain the process of your initial consultation.
Reluctantly, I met with Drew at Detroit Lawyers after searching for debt help online. I really didn’t even want to come in, but Drew assured me it would be a “no strings attached’ free consultation just for informational purposes. I did not believe I would move forward. When I came in, it was very lay back and just like talking to one of my friends. I explained to Drew my situation and he outlined my options. We quickly concluded that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy was the best most cost effective option for my future. I would discharge all of my credit card in three months and get to keep my home and my car under the same terms. Even at a young age, I felt assured that bankruptcy was not a “death sentence” and that I could obtain credit in the future.
What did you have to do to get the case filed
I had to get together my deed, mortgage documents, paystubs, bank account statements, car title and a few other things. It took me about three days to gather everything. I returned with the documents and we were able to file the case a week after my initial consultation.
How was the court hearing?
It was in downtown Detroit in the financial area near Cobo Hall. The actual hearing took about 3 minutes. There were about 4 other Debtors in the room. The Trustee basically just asked me a few questions to verify all the information I submitted was truthful, accurate and complete. He also asked me a few questions about the value of my home.
How did you feel when the case was concluded?
When I got my discharge, I felt a relief. I realized I no longer had to pay every penny of my discretionary income to credit card bills that I have owed for ten years.
What would you tell others in your position?
Explore your options. Don’t resign yourself to a life of paying monthly minimums forever if you know you can never get out from under it. One of the things my attorney told me was to treat yourself like a business and make the smartest financial decision without any emotion involved.
What is the most common misconception going into this process?
That everyone knew that I filed bankruptcy and that I couldn’t keep my home and my car.
How has your life changed since after you filed?
I have a savings account! I am able to spend money for my hard work on things other than old credit cards. I am able to partake in activities I have not been able to in the past.