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Will my friends and family find out that I have filed?


Probably not, unless you have some kind of business relationship with them, or if one of you owes money to the other. Unless the news media have some other reason to be interested in you, the only place it will ever be published is in the Memphis Daily News, along with the hundreds of other cases that have been filed that week.

Just like the question right above this one, most of the time you are making mountains out of molehills if you spend any time worrying about it. There were almost 28,000 bankruptcy cases filed this district in 2002, well over 20,000 for each of the past several years. It is highly likely that several people that you know have filed bankruptcy before, and that practically everybody knows at least one person who has filed before. Think about it. You probably know someone who has filed. Do you think any less of them? Do you ever think about it at all?

Bankruptcy is not something to be ashamed of. Contrary to what you may have heard from some politicians and a bunch of big mouthed know-it-alls, the vast majority of bankruptcies are filed by people who have gone through a major life-changing event that was beyond their control, such as divorce, or a medical crisis, or losing a job. Bankruptcy is simply an organized way for a civilized society to deal with one of its most common problems.

I firmly believe that our bankruptcy system is one of the main reasons that our nation’s economy has grown so steadily for the past 50 years. Average people and small businesses get a chance to start over fresh, and creditors don’t spend all of their time and money trying to collect money that they will never get.

There may be a few people with very sensitive jobs that might actually have a reason to be embarrassed. For instance a politician, or a news reporter, or someone in the public eye, might attract more attention than most of us. But there are many politicians and public figures who have filed bankruptcy, as well as several wealthy people and even doctors, lawyers and accountants. Even if they do get some attention, people forget pretty quickly.