Financial challenges are unpredictable and when you or a family member is in the military, things can be even more uncertain. Military families are often forced to relocate or deal with deployment – both things that can present financial challenges, especially if things are on shaky ground to begin with. When someone back home is trying to juggle caring for the family and keeping things on track while a service member is away, money tends to get tight. Even a small unexpected expense can send a military family’s finances spiraling out of control.
Despite military members being held to a higher standard than average citizens, they still have the same rights as others and can file for bankruptcy to protect them against the loss of a home or to restore their financial situation. If you are a military member and you are concerned your finances have gotten out of control, bankruptcy might be the best option to help you get back on your feet.
The truth is, bankruptcy can be a tool military members and their families use to get back on track financially. Service members are expected to have their finances in order and if bankruptcy is needed to achieve this, so be it.
Some levels of military service require a security clearance and in order to get one, you have to have your financial matters in order. Filing for bankruptcy could present a problem if your intention is to receive a security clearance, but delinquency on debts also presents a problem.
When applying for security clearance, you will be asked if you have been delinquent on any debts for 90 or 180 days, and whether or not you have wage garnishment or any judgements against you. If your financial situation is out of control, filing for bankruptcy could be beneficial to helping you eventually get a security clearance, but it is important you understand the risks. Timing is always important in bankruptcy and this is no exception. Chances are a recent bankruptcy or credit problems will result in the denial of a security clearance, but depending on your future intentions in the military, it could eventually help you.
For more information on getting a security clearance, visit the US State Department’s website.
What If I’m Not in America?
Members of the military often spend time overseas, but their official residence and citizenship does not change. It is possible to enjoy the benefits of filing for bankruptcy if you are overseas, but it can be a challenge to take care of the tasks associated with the process from so far away. While it is an involved process, you even have the option of using a bankruptcy specific power of attorney so someone can handle the filing process for you.
The work you do as a service member is important and you deserve respect. This does not change just because you have financial challenges. The best thing you can do if you are struggling with finances is speak with a bankruptcy attorney who understands the pros and cons of filing as a military member.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact the law office of Frank J. LaPerch, PC at 845.942.5500.