Thomas F. Miles, Attorney and Counselor at Law
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False beliefs surrounding Chapter 7 bankruptcy

People in California hold a number of misconceptions about personal bankruptcy. One of the most common is that individuals who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are demonstrably poor money managers, and they do not have what it takes to achieve any significant level of success. This is not only inaccurate, but such beliefs could keep people from seeking relief from crushing levels of debt.

The story of Ray Blacklidge provides an excellent example of the power of Chapter 7 bankruptcy to change a person's life. Blacklidge is currently among four individuals vying for the job of insurance commissioner in his state of residence. In 2005, he and his wife filed for bankruptcy. Although Blacklidge had completed law school and was a licensed attorney, he had amassed debt that totalled more than $340,000, and his assets were listed at just over $223,000. He reported that at the time of filing, he had $6 cash on hand.

After the bankruptcy went through, Blacklidge went on to work as an attorney within the insurance field. When asked about his past financial strife, Blacklidge was open and direct. He acknowledged that he had hit a stumbling block and that the experience humbled him and taught him valuable lessons.

The fact that Blacklidge was able to move beyond Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have a long and successful career should be an inspiration for others who are facing their own financial turmoil. Should Blacklidge win the job of insurance commissioner, it can be expected that his story will become even more widespread. That could prompt many people in California and other states to take a similar path toward debt relief.

Source:, "Fla. insurance chief finalist: Bankruptcy with $6 cash "bump in life"", Charles Elmore, April 25, 2016

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