By Attorney Scott Garver
As a Southington and Waterbury Bankruptcy attorney with over 40 years of experience I have filed hundreds of personal bankruptcy cases for people who found themselves overwhelmed by debt.
Many will scoff at this, pointing out that people should pay their bills and live within their means. They feel there is usually something morally defective or of poor character with those who use the system to walk away from their legal obligations.
Why do we even have a Bankruptcy law? What good is it anyway?
Bankruptcy law is as old as the United States. It is expressly provided for in our Constitution and is a federally regulated matter.
There are some very good reasons for it:
- It allows debtors a “fresh start” in life.
- It eliminates the need for “debtor’s prisons”.
- It encourages people to work “on the Books”, and pay taxes and social security, rather than “work under the table” to avoid wage garnishments by their creditors
- It allows an escape hatch for those entrepreneurs who have a risky new business idea.
If it there were no Bankruptcy law there would be no Disney World or Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney had a dream of animated movies, but his business failed several times. He had to discharge his debts so he could start over. Finally, Mickey Mouse became a commercial success and the rest, as we say, is history. This story is repeated almost daily. Would Bill Gates or Steve Jobs ever taken the risks they did if they knew they might have suffered life- long crushing debt? No Apple, no Microsoft.
There was a young couple with a small child. Both worked hard but were only able to find marginal jobs that paid minimum wage. Even together they were unable to make a “living wage”. They fell behind in their bills and the rent. It was a few weeks before Christmas and the landlord brought eviction proceedings against them for unpaid rent. The Marshal appeared at their door to notify them they had one week to move out or he would return with movers and physically put them out. They could not find another place to stay. To make things worse, Eversource notified them it was about to shut the gas off. Small child in an unheated apartment in December is a dismal situation.
I filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy just in time to avoid this disaster. They will find a new home and get a fresh start to rebuild.
Then I realized the similarities with another couple many years ago with a small child and no place to stay about this same time of year.