It's Been 10 Years Since the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act Became Law, and Folks Still Don't Understand It

That title might imply criticism, but I understand why people don't understand the Act also known as BAPPA. BAPCPA  was the most sweeping bankruptcy reform since 1978.  BAPCPA was passed by Congress in 2005 with the support of both parties.  The title of the law is deceptive and implies that it was somehow meant to help debtors.  It doesn't.  This bill was written by and is, largely, for the benefit of creditors.  The Act was originally passed in 1999, but President Clinton vetoed it.  In my opinion it has created a lot of unnecessary burden for people already in financial distress.  I don't believe it should discourage anyone from seeking bankruptcy protection.  However, in this multi-part series of posts I hope to address the most important parts of BAPCPA and how it affects my clients and my practice.  The topics below are ones I will address:

Mandatory Disclosures

Credit/Debt Counseling

Means Testing

Increased Document Collection

Fees

These topics are of interest because they represent dramatic changes in the law, that confuse clients and cause a great deal of anxiety.  When I have a client who filed bankruptcy 20 or 30 years ago, these are the changes that I get questions about.  If someone has filed bankruptcy prior to the 2005 law change, I tend to get responses like, "I don't remember having to do all this the last time I filed."  Well, I wish we didn't have to do all of this now, but until the law changes we are going to roll with the punches.