Olympic gold medalist's mom filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy

The Olympic Games provide a highly visible stage on which the globe's best athletes can showcase their talents and hard work before the world. But while the spotlight shines brightly on the competitors, its glow can also bring the stories of family members to light. When the press announced during the Summer Games that the mother of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas had filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy prior to the Olympics, however, she took it in stride and said she was not embarrassed about it.

Gabby Douglas's mother has made it clear to the world that even though she did not like having to file for bankruptcy, she was glad that the option was there so that she would not lose her home. Thousands of families around the country and in Illinois are facing the same dilemma that she faced. Today's economy has made it necessary for families to make hard choices.

Douglas's mother filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, which allows a debtor to create a debt repayment plan that gradually reduces a person's debts over a number of years. The other kind of bankruptcy most often filed by individuals is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which discharges a debtor from most debts. Filing bankruptcy may not be the best solution for everyone, but it is an option for those who qualify.

No one should be embarrassed to file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection if they need it, especially in today's economy. Anyone struggling financially should explore all of the options available before making any decisions. The bankruptcy process can be confusing and time consuming, and having the proper advice and information can save a great deal of time and frustration.

Source: Associated Press, "Bankruptcy for Gabby Douglas' Mom," Aug. 5, 2012.

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