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Forghany Law P.C.

Amid dispute, bankruptcy offers respite for Massachusetts women

Most people are probably aware that personal bankruptcy is a legal option for consumers overwhelmed by debt. At the same time, though, most people have serious misconceptions about what actually happens during the bankruptcy process. Those who file for bankruptcy are generally allowed to keep many of their assets, which might be a pleasant surprise for some readers.

This is what two sisters from Massachusetts hope to accomplish with their bankruptcy filing. Interestingly enough, the sisters' financial trouble is tied to a dispute that began over two decades ago. After they purchased property in Essex County, they became engaged in a dispute with local officials. They have claim that they were unaware of fees assessed by the city of Salisbury for sewer enhancement when they bought the property.

Now, the debt situation for the two women has grown to be even more serious. As of August 2013, they owed more than $250,000 in back property taxes, sewer fees and penalties. This debt has propelled the women into court to try to reach a resolution.

By filing bankruptcy, the women effectively put a hold on the collection efforts by the city and court proceedings. At the same time, a judge recently ruled that the city would not be able to seize the women's property, at least for now.

Sorting through the details of bankruptcy law and exemptions can be a complex task. Knowing that everyone approaches bankruptcy with a different set of circumstances, it can be helpful to develop a thoughtful approach to make sure a fresh start is within reach.

Source:, "Bankruptcy filing stymies effort to take home," Angeljean Chiaramida, Oct. 8, 2013

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