Most everyone has heard by now that the city of Detroit is going through bankruptcy. On December 3, 2013 U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes held that the city of Detroit can move forward in reorganizing their financial affairs through the bankruptcy process.
“The city no longer has the resources to provide its citizens with basic police, fire and emergency services,” Judge Rhodes said, ruling that Detroit, once the nation’s fourth-largest city, “was and is insolvent.” This case will make new law regarding Chapter 9 bankruptcy and will impact thousands of Michigan residents and workers.
Sometimes in the law, lawyers, judges, and clients all lose perspective of the larger picture. Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution gives Congress the authority to establish a process for individuals and businesses to file for bankruptcy relief. Bankruptcy, in one form or another, has been around for centuries. When Abraham Lincoln filed for bankruptcy he spent the next 17 years paying off his debts. President Lincoln overcame many personal setbacks to become the greatest president in American history. One of those setbacks was a failed business venture that led him into bankruptcy. Fortunately for us, when people file bankruptcy now, they don’t have to spend the next decade of their life repaying their debts. Congress enacted the current Bankruptcy Code in 1978 and has amended it several times since. Although the laws and procedure surrounding bankruptcy have dramatically changed over the years- the philosophy is still the same: The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that:
“(Bankruptcy) gives to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.” – Justice Sutherland, in Local Loan Co. v. Hunt 292 U.S. 234, 54 S.Ct. 695 (U.S. 1934).
Bankruptcy exists to give people, families, cities, farms and businesses a fresh start in life. If debt is holding you, your family, or your business hostage- give me a call and let us assist you in planning for your future.