There’s something in the news I found very interesting this week that gets to the heart of the issue of bankruptcy. Presidential hopeful Herman Cain has been accused  of sexual harassment by women from his past and although this is a hot-button issue, there’s something disheartening and plain wrong about the coverage that relates to bankruptcy.

In order to dig up dirt and information on one of the female accusers, the media has coyly pointed out her two bankruptcies in distant past and seems to be using them to discredit her as if past financial troubles are an indication of moral character. This is where I take major issue. There are a couple important issues and questions to tackle with what’s going on in this situation.

Can bankruptcy come back to haunt me?

As discussed earlier on this blog, your bankruptcy is a matter of public records, so you will not necessarily be able to keep it a secret from your family or others. However, PACER (the Public Access to Courts and Electronic Records) is a very unwieldy and anti-user-friendly database. The only way someone is going to find out if you’ve filed for bankruptcy is if they actively seek out the details. Besides, most people have no idea what PACER is or how to use it. While under very rare circumstances (for example, if you’re under intense national scrutiny by the mainstream media and political junkies), people may find out about the past. This comes to your next logical question.

Does filing for bankruptcy make me a less trustworthy person?

Even though people may try to discredit people by pointing out past bankruptcies, a bankruptcy does not make someone less trustworthy. There are millions of cases where people were forced to file for bankruptcy because of unfortunate circumstances like lost jobs or other unexpected problems. A bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean someone is financially irresponsible and it should never be used to discredit anyone’s character either way.

Especially in this stagnant economy, millions have filed for bankruptcy due to various reasons, but it doesn’t mean they’re bad people. If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy because people might find out and not trust you, this is the worst thing you could do. If you are in a dire financial situation, you could throw your whole future down the drain by not filing for bankruptcy and tarnish your image even more. Bankruptcy indicates an acceptance of a need for help and shows responsible action.

Remember, a bankruptcy will not become a stain on your past and it’s better to file than to let things get too out of hand. So, come to a free consultation with a Phoenix bankruptcy attorney today to discuss your new future.