In Dayton, Ohio, and elsewhere, strategy is important when filing for bankruptcy. Often, bankruptcy attorneys will discuss such strategy with their clients long before walking into a courtroom and going before a judge. One topic attorneys and their clients often discuss, is whether or not to say "sorry" when filing for bankruptcy. Since many attorneys are divided on this issue, two law professors conducted a study on a matter. Ohio residents who are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy might fight the results to be interesting.
Interestingly, many bankruptcy attorneys advise their client not to apologize, because they feel it will be viewed by the court as an admission of guilt. In order to determine if apologies have an effect on the outcome of Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings, the two law professors tested almost 140 bankruptcy judges, which represents about one-third of the federal bankruptcy bench.
The professors created a fictional story representing a family filing for bankruptcy, and submitted their Chapter 13 repayment plan to the 140 bankruptcy judges. In half of the plans, the professors included a brief apology. The results were that 40.6 percent of the judges who received the plan with an apology approved it, while only 34.4 percent were approved from judges who received a plan without an apology.
The professors point out, however, that the difference between the two groups is statistically insignificant. The professors do believe that the study shows that when judges make their decisions, they take into account more than just the law. They also point out that the judges who received the plan with an apology felt like the family would be more likely to manage their finances in the future.
Therefore, when filing for Chapter 13, it is important to remember that bankruptcy judges' decisions can be complex and multidimensional.
Source: Wall Street Journal, "Do Apologies Matter in Bankruptcy?" Katy Strech, February 15, 2013