When people in Florida face a growing pile of debt due to credit card bills, medical bills, loans and other issues, bankruptcy can offer a way toward a renewed financial future. At the same time, despite the potential of bankruptcy filings to protect people's financial futures, they may be hesitant to file as soon as it is feasible. Many individuals attribute a sense of economic failure or social shame to filing for bankruptcy, and they may wait for a long time - even years - to file as a result. However, the effects of such a delayed filing can be significantly detrimental to the financial future that can be achieved through a bankruptcy filing.
According to a 2018 law review study, people who continue to struggle for a long period before filing for bankruptcy can find themselves in a much greater financial "hole" from which to emerge. The period prior to a bankruptcy filing is often referred to as the "sweatbox" for the difficult financial conditions that it represents. People in the sweatbox can face lawsuits over unpaid debt, unending collection calls, sales and losses of assets and an inability to pay basic bills like food and electricity.
When people stay in the sweatbox for two years or more, they often face financial situations that are much worse than individuals who filed for bankruptcy earlier in the process. Those who opt to wait often file for bankruptcy with half of the median assets and a much higher debt-to-income ratio than people who filed sooner.
Waiting to file for bankruptcy is not a sign of personal integrity. Instead, it may put a person's future financial situation at even greater risk. A bankruptcy lawyer can help people struggling with insurmountable debt take action to achieve debt relief and look forward to a different financial future.