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Bankruptcy laws were written to give people whose finances collapsed, a chance to start over.
Whether it was bad decision-making or bad luck, lawmakers could see that in a capitalistic economy, consumers and businesses who failed, need a second chance. The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) did a study of PACER stats (public court records) from 2016 and found that 95.5% of the 499,909 Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases decided that year were discharged, meaning the individual was no longer legally required to pay the debt.
Slightly more than half (166,424) were discharged and 164,626 were dismissed.
Legally, it’s referred to as “the automatic stay.” It means that creditors are prohibited from filing a lawsuit against you or entering liens against your property or constantly contacting you in an effort to get a payment on the debt.Only 22,388 cases were dismissed, meaning the judge or court trustee felt like the individual had enough resources to pay his/her debts.Individuals who used Chapter 13 bankruptcy, best known as “wage earner’s bankruptcy,” were about split in their success.In 2015, bankruptcy filers owed 3 billion and had assets of billion, most of that being real estate holdings, whose real value is debatable.What is surprising is that people – not businesses – are the ones most often seeking help.
Most of the people filing bankruptcy were not particularly wealthy.