Central Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Attorney

With three convenient locations in Central Pennsylvania, The Law Offices of John M. Hyams is dedicated to helping individuals and companies in financial distress.  Attorney John M. Hyams has devoted his entire career to the practice of bankruptcy law. Along with that specialization comes almost a decade and a half of personal service and quality representation. Our clients come from very diverse backgrounds.  From trash men, to teachers, to doctors, to business owners and everybody in between, our clients exemplify real people from all walks of life.

As a client of the Law Offices of John M. Hyams, you will learn what rights and remedies are available to you. We will spend time explaining your case and will develop a plan for you to obtain freedom from your financial crisis. So many clients first come in feeling bad about themselves and often times guilty about their predicament.  It is our pleasure to let these clients know that they are good people, who simply have had the unforeseeable misfortune that so many do in their financial lives. We are here to help and to assist families and companies get back on their feet. Whatever your situation is, we can help. No case is too small or too big. We have the experience to handle any size case. Let us get you the fresh start that you deserve.

“It’s Not As Bad As It Sounds-Myths and Misconceptions About Filing For Bankruptcy in Central PA”

Money is one of those subjects that makes most people uncomfortable.  Despite it having such a huge impact on so many facets of life, people tend to avoid addressing financial problems head on.  Many studies have identified finances as the number one contributor to divorce in this nation.  It is one of the primary stressors in the life of any adult.  No matter how much or little we have of it, we all struggle with money concerns during our lifetime.  While it is typical to hear people reveal the trials and tribulations of parenthood, struggles with family relationships and marriages or even their difficulties in the workplace, not many people stand around the water cooler discussing how they are living pay check to pay check or how they are barely saving for retirement.

No one should have to suffer in silence. Bankruptcy is a viable solution to many with money woes and hardships.  Too often, this solution is never fully explored because of the myths and general sense of taboo that surrounds it.  Here are 10 myths regarding filing for bankruptcy in Central Pennsylvania

Myth #1 – If I File for Bankruptcy My Credit Score Will be Forever Ruined?

Truth: Your credit-worthiness is based primarily on your “credit score”, also known as a FICO score.  While each case is different, it is our most people’s experience that their credit score is at least average or about average within an 18 month period after their bankruptcy case has been closed.  Lenders in the majority of cases do not care if you’ve filed bankruptcy so long as your credit score meets their guidelines.  And, if you have a credit score that is in line with the national average, you are a candidate for obtaining loans for houses, cars, or other types of credit.

 Myth #2 – If I File For Bankruptcy Will I Lose My Job?

Truth: Whether you work for the government or a private company, your employer may not fire you, demote you or take disciplinary action against you because you have filed for bankruptcy. In fact, your employer cannot use any information regarding a bankruptcy as a means to evaluate your job performance. The impact on job applicants is a little different. No governmental agency can consider a bankruptcy filing of a potential employee as a basis not to hire. Private companies can perform credit checks with your consent and could chose not to hire you if you refuse to release this information. This is more commonly done if you are seeking a job in accounting or one that would have access to payroll, checks or purchase orders.  It would be important to be honest about your financial background when applying for jobs within the private sector so that the employer knows they are dealing with an honest candidate.

Myth #3 – If I File For Bankruptcy I Will Lose All My Assets.

Truth: In almost all instances, you will not lose any of your assets. Congress had intended when it wrote the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that the average person would keep everything that they own when they file a bankruptcy case. It would be only the extraordinary case that something could be considered a non-exempt asset. Frequently in those cases, a good bankruptcy attorney will develop a strategy where you can keep even the most valuable of assets.

Myth #4 – I Make Too Much Money to File for Bankruptcy.

Truth: There are three types of bankruptcy cases that can be filed by an individual or family (Chapter 7, Chapter 13 or Chapter 11). Generally speaking, one of the three types of filings will work for someone regardless of their salary. Bankruptcy affects all incomes and all walks of life. Unfortunately thing things that cause bankruptcy happen to even the highest income debtors. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code has cases available to anybody, despite their income.

Myth #5 – I Make Too Little Money to File for Bankruptcy.

Truth: As stated directly above, the amount of money you make is not the controlling factor on whether you will qualify for bankruptcy. If you are unable to pay your debt, then you are insolvent by definition. You will qualify for bankruptcy regardless of how much or little you make.

Myth #6 – If I File For Bankruptcy Everyone I Know Will Find Out I Filed.

Truth: While bankruptcy filings are not sealed and are a matter of public record, unless you are a prominent, well known public figure or own a prominent company, chances are no one is searching the bankruptcy dockets for your name or corporation. In Central Pennsylvania these filings are not regularly published in the newspaper. It is also unlikely that non-lawyers know how to search the court dockets and do not have access to do so electronically in order to find out who has filed for bankruptcy. There isn’t a notice that goes to your employer or anybody else you know unless they are owed money by you. Bankruptcy is a very private thing and it does not need to be known by anybody but you and your attorney.

Myth #7 – If I File For Bankruptcy I Will Never Be Financially Stable.

Truth: Understanding that every case is different, filing for bankruptcy is often the first step towards becoming financially stable if you are drowning in debt. After allowing time to recover financially and rebuild your credit it is possible to become financially stable including qualifying for loans and maintaining a healthy debt ratio.

Myth #8 – If I File For Bankruptcy the Ramifications of Filing Will Stick With Me For the Rest of My Life.

Truth: While it is true that bankruptcy will stay on your credit record for a period of 7 –10 years after you have filed, as previously mentioned, you will still be able to increase your credit rating almost immediately. Most people find that their credit score actually improves within a year or two after filing bankruptcy. You can still obtain loans and credit cards. Rather than thinking about bankruptcy as a permanent action that will follow you forever, think of it as a less stressful way to eliminate your debt.

Myth # 9 – I’m a failure if I file bankruptcy.  I was taught to pay my debts.

Truth:  Bad things happen to good people.  You probably never thought you’d be in this predicament, but you are.  And when it becomes mathematically impossible to pay back the debt that you have, it is probably irresponsible not to consider bankruptcy.  Not filing bankruptcy at a time when you should, can cause your debt to stick around longer and have a more long-lasting effect on your family.  Getting a fresh start through a bankruptcy is often times the most financially responsible thing a person can do when faced with true financial hardship.

Myth #10 – I filed years ago.  I probably can’t file a second time.

Truth: There may be limits on the amount of time between bankruptcy filings as a person must wait a minimum of 4 years in most cases before they can refile. However, Congress understands that many people experience financial hardship many times in their lifetime.  For that reason, Congress kept that in mind when drafting the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.  There are no limits on how many times a person can file in their lifetime.


Bankruptcy often gets a bad rap.  It does not need to be feared or ignored simply because of its unfortunate stigma.  It is frequently a practical resolution to the number one stressor and problem so many of us face in our lives.