Saturday, March 6, 2010

Burdens Bearing Down

I have contemplated filing for bankruptcy for some time now but have kept putting it off because of fear. Fear and dread that it will end up actually making my future life far more difficult. What I am most concerned about is not being able to rent another apartment. I have done some checking around and the complexes in this area do not rent to those who have filed bankruptcy, including the place I am currently residing. Does anyone know if my current complex can evict me if I file for bankruptcy? My lease is up in September - does the leasing agent run another credit report on me at that time or are leases just renewed automatically if you desire to continue it? I am not late with my rent and have never been behind if that makes a difference.

If I don't file for bankruptcy, then I have to figure out how I will pay for my substantial and past due debt. Some of my debt is with Consumer Credit Counseling but I have one credit card company (Macy's) that has been very difficult to work with. They wanted very high monthly payments that I couldn't swing being unemployed. What if they now sue me? How do I pay a $5,000.00 credit card bill if I don't have the extra money to do so. I suppose they could garnish my future wages but is there a limit how much they can take out each check? Does a judge decide that if Macy's sues me and I have to go to court?

I am just so frightened because of my sole responsibility for the boys. I have no one to fall back on or rely on. It is my reality. I could care less if I had to live in one room in a boarding house but I have to think of the boys -getting them through high school and then college. My stomach is in knots about all this.

I recently read an article that was printed in a local paper depicting the plight of suburban families on the brink of losing everything after a job loss. I know that there are many of us out there, victims of divorce, death of a spouse, unemployment who have fallen on hard times. This is what bugs me - if that is the reality here, where are they all going after a foreclosure? Why are these apartment complexes denying rent to those forced to declare bankruptcy because of legitimate hardship? If I get kicked out/evicted I don't know where I will go - I have no where to go.

It is almost impossible for me to remain cheerful and optimistic as I face these questions everyday on my own. I know there have to be others out there like me in my community (well-educated professionals hard hit by the Recession) but they are hidden. Widowhood is isolating but so is being down on your luck and struggling financially.

Thanks for reading. At least for the time being we have a roof over our heads. I never thought I'd be grateful for living in an apartment but I have come to be grateful for this residence.

I am grateful:

1. For the melting snow.
2. For the shining sun.
3. For the warmer temperatures.
4. For the apartment that shelters us.
5. For the people kind enough and interested to read this.


  1. I don't have any answers to your questions regarding bankruptcy, but my sister was once in a similar position of having very little money available to pay off bills. She had just gone through a very ugly divorce from her very wealthy and abusive husband. She got nothing in the divorce and very little in child support. She had no option but to file bankruptcy - something that pained her greatly. But nearly five years out, it turned out that doing so was really the best thing she could have done. It wasn't easy, it was scary and she initially felt that in doing so she has somehow failed. Yet it lifted a great deal of stress form her shoulders and allowed her to begin again.

    Like I said - I don't have any advice for you, but hopefully you will feel a little less alone and a little less apprehensive to know that someone else out there went through bankruptcy and survived.... and even eventually thrived.

    Hang in there!

  2. Your comments are very helpful, healing and appreciated. Thank you.

  3. I've lived in apartment complexes in the past, and they've never run a new credit check at lease renewal time. I would just come home at night and find my new lease stuck in the door, ready for me to sign and return to the office.

    Here's some information about wage garnishment from the Department of Labor: There is a limit, but it's a pretty high one. I think if it came to that, I'd take my chances with bankruptcy. I know a few people who have filed it and gone on to be OK, plus with so much economic trouble right now, I think a lot of laws are going to change. I was reading just the other night about how some states are banning employers from running credit checks on job applicants anymore.

  4. Thanks Vanessa for your response. You always provide productive feedback.

  5. i would start with trying to find one of those free legal help clinics before actually filing for bankruptcy, explain everything and see what advice you can get.

    i do know about Macy's and their policies though. i worked for them about 9 years ago and only a handful of the employees at that store even had a Macy's card. i know that every time someone charged to their card it would come up on the computer if they were late with a payment. their fees and penalties are very harsh and back then they did sue. in the time i worked for them i had aggressively angry people come in, red-faced, in tears, with cash from their paychecks to race the clock to pay off the account and then stand there and cut up their cards in front of me. i hated my time there and found another job asap.

    try the free legal clinic and check out your options to make sure you don't go from the frying pan into the fire. but i have heard lately that filing for bankruptcy isn't the bad thing it was a decade or so ago. i keep you in my prayers always.

  6. I'm sorry your having to make this decision. I would definitely get good legal advice so that you know what your rights are. I would hope that come September you would have been working, and have a bit more security when the lease is up.

    I wish I had a business background so that I could offer some help. In place of that I will offer positive thoughts to you, and a sympathetic spirit to Macy's.

    Love. Dan

  7. I agree. Find some legal help. I don't know if bankruptcy laws vary from state to state so maybe comments from out-of-state readers wouldn't apply. I hope you will find a job soon and be out of this dilemma. My thoughts are with you.

  8. I found the link below to be extremely helpful in answering questions regarding Bankruptcy. I found that it can also be a good source just because you realize that this is happening to so many people. In the end, so many found that it was the best thing to do in their situations.

    Good Luck -

  9. Obviously I can't comment on how it works in the US, but some close friends of mine declared bankruptcy a couple of years ago after a bad debt brought their business down. They both tell me that the sense of relief they felt after doing it was almost overwhelming. The stress of keeping everything together beforehand was tearing them apart - afterwards they found their lives much more peaceful and finances so much simpler.
    I am so sorry you are going through all this and hope so much that whatever decision you make it gives you some peace.
    J xx

  10. wNs, Dan & Thelma - I will try and obtain some more legal advice, although I have been dealing with a bankruptcy attorney here in town. I will stop in his office and voice my concerns before proceeding.

    Melaka - Thank you for the link along with those you have provided in the past. I am hoping they reach others who can use them right now, not just me.

    J - Thanks for the sympathy and telling me about your friends. I know there would be relief right now but I also have to think ahead because bankruptcy tarnishes your record for so many years. I do believe that wiping the slate clean would result in a simpler life but there is so much stigma and shame to have to contend with. In my case, however, it is looking like there isn't another real viable option. Sometimes it is just better to face the inevitable rather than delay it. That might be my greatest lesson here.

  11. I hope you’re in a much better financial state now. I know it’s hard to be making major decisions alone. Filing for bankruptcy offers financial freedom, but then, it is hard to just give up, especially if there are other financial options, no matter how risky. Did you file your case in the end?