Congress has eliminated bankruptcy for the "little guy." Despite what you may have heard in the press, bankruptcy is still alive and well and available to the little guy. Yes, in October 2005, new bankruptcy reform laws went into effect that may make it more difficult for some individuals to qualify for Chapter 7 relief. However, consumers in serious financial trouble should still be able to qualify for protection under the Bankruptcy Code. The sky has not fallen on bankruptcy! Bankruptcy will ruin my credit record This is absolutely false. What ruins your credit record is your inability to pay your debts on time. After your bankruptcy case, many of your debts will be discharged, and you will be given a fresh start. If you can keep on top of any new debts you incur after you emerge from bankruptcy, your credit record should actually improve. Filing bankruptcy makes me a bad person Absolutely not! Congress passed the bankruptcy laws to help individuals and businesses with severe financial problems get a fresh financial start and become productive members of society again. Do you think it makes you a better person to avoid your creditors, ignore your bills, and drive yourself further into a debt hole that you'll never get out of, or to take on new credit responsibly, and pay your bills on time? Millions of businesses and individuals file for bankruptcy each year and become productive members of society-you can too. I won't be able to get credit after my bankruptcy Think about it. If you owned a credit card company, who would you rather give a credit card to: someone who has a massive debt load and is behind on all their bills, or someone whose bills have been wiped out? Probably the latter, right? That's why you should be able to get credit after bankruptcy. Since many of your debts will be wiped out after bankruptcy, and, in the case of a Chapter 7, you won't be able to file another one for another eight years, many creditors will see you as a good credit risk after your bankruptcy. I can't afford to hire an attorney for my bankruptcy We offer payment plans: you can make a down payment and pay the balance in installments. A debt counseling service can help me eliminate my debts without the stigma of bankruptcy on my r This myth is a very dangerous one. Debt counselors cannot get rid of your debts, nor can they stop your creditors from harassing you. All debt counselors do is help you negotiate new terms on your existing debt with your creditors-your creditors do not have to agree to any restructuring, and they can still come after you for any unpaid balances. By contrast, the moment you file your bankruptcy case, many of your creditors are prohibited by law from taking any legal actions against you, and once your bankruptcy is complete, many of your debts are gone forever. Furthermore, credit counselors do not necessarily have your best interests in mind-they are often owned by the very creditors that are making your life miserable to begin with. Don't let their non-profit claims fool you-when you use a debt counselor, someone is making a lot of profit off you, and in most cases you’ll still be hopelessly in debt. Bankruptcy cannot get rid of debts like student loans and taxes This myth ignores the fact that in some instances you can include student loans and taxes in a Chapter 13 repayment plan and pay them off over time. In many cases, this will save you money. Also, in rare instances, these debts may be dischargeable. You will need to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you have these types of debts. I can handle my bankruptcy myself Although you are permitted to handle your own bankruptcy if you wish, do you really want to? Bankruptcy involves a complex interplay of state and federal laws, and there are many traps for the unwary. Your bankruptcy will be one of the most important events of your financial life; if it is not done properly, it could have dramatic consequences for the rest of your life. You wouldn't perform your own surgery, why would you perform your own bankruptcy? I won't be able to buy a house or a car, or rent an apartment, after bankruptcy Again, not true. As we note above in myth number 4, you should be able to get credit after bankruptcy. Although it may take you a little time to start purchasing things, you should be a good credit risk once you emerge from bankruptcy, and you shouldn't have too much trouble making these types of purchases. You can also get help in making these types of purchases, such as getting someone to be a co-signer for you. I don't want to go through a difficult and time consuming court case Forget about jury trials, cross examination, and all of the other courtroom drama you see on TV. In most bankruptcy cases, you'll never appear before a judge, and in most Chapter 7 cases, your case will be complete and your debts discharged in about four months. BONUS TIP: Any lawyer can handle a bankruptcy Although any licensed lawyer can represent you in a bankruptcy case, would you hire a criminal lawyer for a real estate closing, or a patent attorney for a divorce? Don't you want to have the comfort of knowing that your case is being handled by an experienced professional? You'll likely only file for bankruptcy once in your life, so you should hire an experienced bankruptcy lawyer for this very important job.