Final Realizations

Its been slowly sinking in that the bankruptcy is over. We got a small check in the mail marked “final disbursement” from the court; the online account that shows the progress of our payments indicates $22,284.21 was paid into the plan and that the account has been closed.

Another $22,000 could have been paid (extending it another two years) but those creditors never petitioned the court when they had the chance so they snooze, and they lose.

We have not had a corrected paycheck yet because it takes time for auto-drafts to be stopped. However, it should be corrected on the next paycheck and we should start seeing more income.

Does this solve all our problems? Of course not. I have a house which needs crucial repairs – we have termites, a squirrel in our attic space due to repairs needed in the roofline, a cracked window and many more things that need replacing, repairing or renovation. I also have multiple medical bills from two emergency room trips (one for Grenwinae and one for me) and a surgery for my daughter to pay for.

However, we have an option now – two years earlier than we would have gotten – to start applying income to these issues. I have a chance – an opportunity – the future has opened up suddenly as to possibilities.

Again, we filed Chapter 13, which means we were accountable on paying back creditors who would come to the court in person or with a letter stating their case. We did not file Chapter 11, which banks and companies do which can absolve them of paying anyone back.

I’ve hesitated to mention these money problems here because of the social stigmatism on filing bankruptcy. High profile bankruptcy cases have shown how it has been used as a tax dodge for some unscrupulous people. It can be seen as an option that only people who are failures choose. It is shameful.

However, there are just some instances where there are few choices and honest people get trapped into horrible situations. For example, my BFF who had $175,000 in hospital bills because her husband was in ICU for a month. Since he was ill and their main breadwinner, not only did they incur medical bill they would never be able to pay off for decades but also a huge loss of income that went on for months.

We made mistakes that put us in a place where we had few options or choices. We could continue paying predatory lenders with 40% plus interest rates or we could use a legal maneuver for protection.  We took the best way possible for resolving it and have paid our debt (literally). Now it is time to re-group and think of the near future and what we can do to stay out of debt and improve our life.

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