Is filing for bankruptcy wrong?

Two years ago my husband and I were told by a credit counseling bureau to file bankruptcy because of the credit debt we were drowning in. The bankruptcy law would allow us to dismiss all the unsecure debt we owed. At that time, I could not bring myself to go through this because I felt that even though we have paid huge amounts of interest to the credit card companies, we still had an obligation to pay these bills off. It felt like we would be just as bad as the credit card company if we walked away from this debt.

During the two years since then, I made many attempts to find ways to pay down this debt; but, with four kids, it just seems one thing after the other keeps me from staying on top of the payments. I had garage sales, cut coupons, tried getting second jobs; but for every inch I gain, it seems to be set back by another foot of expenses. Now I am very unhappy about the mess we are in and have begun to reconsider the bankruptcy option. Do you have any advice about the moral implications this may have?

Filing for bankruptcy is not wrong. Our society has set up such options for the assistance of those who need them. Companies and financial institutions know that the option of bankruptcy is one of the risks that they run in their chosen field and it is their responsibility to protect themselves in the event that a consumer exercises the option to declare bankruptcy. Certainly, it is possible for someone to use this option unjustly, but it does not sound to me as if you are considering that.

Recommended reading:

The Catholic Answers Guide to Family Finances by Philip Lenahan
The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

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