Women’s Issues and Bankruptcy
The law is supposed to treat everyone equally — men and women alike. But as all women know, women face different struggles than men in this world. Divorce has a different impact on women, for example, often leaving them with less financial resources than the men walk away with. Single, unmarried women with children often have to fight to get adequate child support from the fathers of their children. At the Law Offices of Catherine Finnerty, we are women-focused and determined to get you back on your feet and in the best financial situation possible. As a wife and mother, Cathy Finnerty understands how hard it is to juggle the demands of daily life — working, taking care of kids and aging parents all at the same time — and will work with you to get your financial life in order so you can refocus your energy on other priorities.
Statistics based on past bankruptcy filings show us that the women who file for bankruptcy are a fair representative cross-section of the American middle class. You are not alone. And you should not be ashamed. Women have an economic vulnerability and financial insecurity that men do not have. The leading reasons for men to go bankrupt are job loss or business failure, while the most common causes for women are the breakdown of a relationship and the loss of a partner’s income.
Women who file for bankruptcy are more likely to have attended college. Most are employed when they file. They work in a representative cross-section of industries and occupations just like men. More than half of the women who file bankruptcy are homeowners. So, statistically speaking, the women who file for bankruptcy are solidly middle-class. But at the time most women file for bankruptcy, their incomes tend to hover only slightly above the poverty level, and they are deep in debt.
Well sometimes, despite playing by all the rules, the game has not been fair to women. In the years leading up to the American financial and housing crisis in 2008-09, the market affected women disproportionately. Women were more likely than men to have received subprime loans and more likely than men to have received higher-cost subprime loans, regardless of income.
Another thing many women have to deal with is the untimely payment of domestic support obligations. After 2005, it became harder for women and men to file for bankruptcy and credit card companies — with their lobbyists in Washington — fought to have more of their obligations paid. That puts women trying to collect domestic support obligations and credit card companies in direct competition for an ex-husband’s resources.
Even if “overspending” is one of the triggers in a woman’s bankruptcy, women are more likely to have lower assets and income than their male counterparts, and it is easier to “overspend” in that situation.
Most women file for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious medical problem, a job loss or a family break up. It is hard to protect against those life events and Cathy Finnerty can help you sort through these issues if you choose to file bankruptcy. It is hard to prepare for the unexpected, but women can help themselves generally by keeping fixed expenses (rent or mortgage, car payments, student loans) to no more than half of their incomes, and to try and put aside some savings.
If you are a woman on your own and you still cannot make ends meet, you should call Cathy Finnerty to explore your options. Sometimes bankruptcy is the best choice, sometimes it isn’t. She will sit down and talk with you about your unique financial circumstances and where you hope to be in the future. Unlike men, women can be particularly hesitant about filing bankruptcy. They feel guilt or shame about not paying their debts. Many women carry the burden of unmanageable debt and bad credit longer than necessary, leading to stress, anxiety and depression. If you feel you need a financial fresh start, you are entitled to one under the law, and Cathy Finnerty can help explain the process to you. Please contact her by phone or email today for a free consultation.
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