Bankruptcy Can Be Better the Second Time Around, Sinbad Shows

June 2, 2013 1:40 pm Published by

I’ve been practicing Indiana bankruptcy law for a long time, but I have to admit, clients of my five Zuckerberg bankruptcy law offices seem like “small potatoes” next to comedian Sinbad, who claims to be almost $11 million in debt!

Sinbad, I learned, filed individual bankruptcy for the second time a couple of months ago.  His first time was in 2009, as one of my Columbus bankruptcy lawyer colleagues remembered.  That time, Sinbad filed under Chapter 13 bankruptcy law, but was denied because “he didn’t fill out the proper form,” as reports.

That first-time Sinbad bankruptcy story, by the way, should serve as an important reminder to readers and clients: Many people have the mistaken idea that all that's needed to file bankruptcy is filling out a bunch of forms, paying a fee, and submitting the paperwork to the court. Sounds simple and cost-saving, doesn't it? Unfortunately, that description is very far from the realities of the bankruptcy world. Now, since I'm a bankruptcy attorney in Indiana, you might say I’m exaggerating the importance of the paperwork. As you can see from the Sinbad story, the paperwork means everything when filing a bankruptcy petition.

Does the law require you to have an attorney? Not at all! You can even find the forms you need online. Keep in mind, though, there's an awful lot to the process – the timing of the different steps, the requirements, the terminology. People filing bankruptcy are already under quite a bit of stress. It's hardly the time for them to get educated in a complex area of the law, especially when mistakes can have such serious results!

There was one sentence in the Examiner article about Sinbad that was simply not true. “If he is approved this time around,” newspaper reporter Effie Orfander says of Sinbad, “his credit will be ruined for the next ten years or so.” That’s actually one of the biggest myths about bankruptcy. “Let’s get real,” one of my Bloomington bankruptcy lawyer colleagues says to her clients, “You wouldn’t consider filing an Indiana individual or small business bankruptcy in the first place if your credit were in fabulous shape.”

After more than 26 years offering Indiana bankruptcy help, I  know the truth: filing bankruptcy can actually help you rebuild credit. As a debt consolidation lawyer, I can tell you that the best way to do that is to get rid of some of the debts you already have! The fastest way to do that, to rebuild your credit, may be to use the new bankruptcy laws of Indiana to help you become creditworthy once more. What’s more, Chapter 13 bankruptcy consists of a three to five year debt repayment plan, and the record of it should say on the credit report for seven, not ten years.

As I mentioned, I don’t typically see $11 million individual bankruptcy or even small business bankruptcy cases.  The principle is the same, though, regardless of the dollar amount of the debt: For honest debtors, bankruptcy is there to offer the opportunity for a fresh financial start!


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This post was written by Mark Zuckerberg

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