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Talking to Your Children About Your Bankruptcy

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When you are preparing to file for bankruptcy, working through your bankruptcy case, and in the months that follow your bankruptcy case’s closing, your household undergoes substantial changes. Maybe you will find you have to cut back on dinners out and entertainment like shopping and movies and live sporting events. Maybe you will have to trade in your car for a less expensive one, or sell one of your vehicles and become a one-car household. Maybe you will have to move.

Before the big changes take place, prepare to talk to your children about them. You can hide your bankruptcy from your children, but you cannot hide its effects on them.

Determining Appropriate Responses to Your Children’s Questions

Children notice all the little details in their lives. Your children will notice the changes happening in your household, and they will ask questions.

Give children as much information as they need to satisfy their curiosity without giving them more than they can handle. When you talk to children about bankruptcy, young children need concrete answers, while older children and teenagers often need more nuanced explanations. Have answers prepared for the questions you anticipate receiving, like “what is bankruptcy?” It is also helpful to have answers prepared for the specific questions you anticipate about your situation, like addressing your asset liquidation with your child if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Your Answers Should Reassure your Children, Not Scare Them

Use your conversations about bankruptcy with your children as springboards for conversations about saving money, emergency funds, and proactive money management. Do not be afraid to let your children learn from your mistakes if mistakes were what caused you to accrue a high level of personal debt. With this in mind, remember that your children do not need to know every detail of your case.

Focus on the positive aspects of your bankruptcy, like how it is giving you the opportunity to get rid of the debt that made life difficult for your family and that by making changes to your lifestyle, the whole family will be able to live a more financially secure lifestyle.

Do Not be Afraid to Say “I Don’t Know”

You might be caught off guard by one or more of your children’s questions about the bankruptcy or your future. If you are not sure if you will have to move, say so. Lying to your child can be more harmful than simply telling him or her that you do not have an answer for a question, but that you will eventually, and when you do, you will share it.

Work with an Experienced Merrillville Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, discuss your situation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and all of your legal options. To get started with our firm, contact Whitten & Whitten today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office.

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