I’d previously sworn I wouldn’t go into depth in here about this, but I changed my mind. Maybe my story can help others somehow…
About six months ago, I made a difficult decision. One that I’m not proud of having had to make, but also one that I am grateful that I did make.
I made the decision to file for bankruptcy.
Oh I could go into countless reasons for how I got to where I was. Everything from bad decisions made in college to lost jobs that resulted in living on credit with the hope I’d be able to pay it off later to the great credit crisis that resulted to spiking percent rates. The reasons matter none… What matters is that I lived almost a year in a very dark place. One that I tried to keep hidden from everyone, but that leaked out when family members started to be harassed by creditors.
I researched all my options over and over again. I was in so deep, and my options were all pretty dire. Ultimately, I felt for myself (and my family) that I had no other option but to pursue legal help.
In Tennessee, you can file for bankruptcy without your spouse, (in some states, if one spouse files, the other has to file as well) and all the debt was in my name. The only thing in our names together is our truck, and we opted to reaffirm our loan on that.
Now, when you decide to file for bankruptcy, its not until after you are presented every option available to you. It’s not something you do just at will. Its a huge decision. One that people in all walks of life end up making at one point or another. (One that, frankly, isn’t cheap, either!)
The bad thing about it is, of course, that I have a HUGE ding on my record now. It’ll be on my credit report for about 10 years, and it could affect me in buying a house, a vehicle, getting credit of any sort, and could even affect my ability to get a job! Like I said, this is not a decision I made lightly.
The good thing is that I don’t carry this dark cloud and weight on my shoulders any more. I feel lighter. I no longer flinch when the phone rings. (The mental stress was reason enough to make the decision.) I have hope I didn’t have for a year. And on top of it all, as part of the bankruptcy, I had to put together a solid budget for myself and my husband. I had to inventory everything we own. I had to figure out where our income comes from, how much it is, and if it is enough.
It might have taken away my ability to get credit, but it gave me back a firm grasp on our money situation. We made a LOT of changes, and we’re in a place now where we should be able to see the light of day every month. Both of our incomes fluctuate month to month, so it will continue to take some juggling… but we’re not drowning any more. And that is huge.
I just found out my case has been discharged… case closed. That news gave me a huge sigh of relief. I can move forward now with an even clearer head.
I guess you could say I am in a better place than some who file for bankruptcy. I do still have our truck with my name on the note that we are paying. I still have two student loans that I am paying. And we are paying rent on our home. I already am working to rebuild my credit with all these. I plan, in the next month or two, to get a pre-paid credit card to help build my credit further. Hopefully in about a year, I’ll be back in a place where maybe a home loan will be possible. We will see, of course.
There IS life after bankruptcy. If anyone has any questions about the process, I’m happy to help what I can. (Even if its just a sympathetic ear or support.) If anyone in Nashville needs a lawyer for it, I would recommend mine before you could finish asking. She was amazing, and I would send anyone and everyone to her.
I’m not proud of having had to do it. And I don’t think anyone should consider doing it without a LOT of thought, soul searching, and research. But I’m thankful that I could file. I’m thankful for the fresh start. One in which I am far wiser and far more prepared to face future financial hurdles.
I’ve found the positive buried deep in the negative, and I’m holding on to it.