Toni Braxton’s Bankruptcy Woes

Although it may not seem like it, financial struggles happen to everyone no matter what they job title is, where they live, or how much money they make. The truth is that no one ever plans to file bankruptcy, but if debt becomes overwhelming it may be one of the only available options. Just ask one of the 90’s most popular R&B singers Toni Braxton, who has now filed for bankruptcy twice in the past 15 years. How does bankruptcy work for an award winning and apparently wealthy musician? The same way it can work for you.

The 1990’s gave Toni Braxton a critically acclaimed international tour, 5 Grammy awards, and unfortunately her first Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Many close to her said it was due to her extravagant lifestyle and spending habits, but she told the press that it was due to a myriad of circumstances including her record label not compensating her well enough and the unforeseen costs of show business. No matter what the cause, Toni Braxton’s 1998 bankruptcy reported $3.9 million dollars worth of debt and caused the court seized the majority of her household possessions and awards to pay off as many creditors as possible. According to the Public Access to Court Electronic Records Braxton’s 1998 bankruptcy was “dismissed or settled without entry of judgment” so whether or not she was freed of her debts is unknown.

More recently, in 2010 Braxton once again filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in the California federal court, this time listing more than $50 million in debt. Unlike her previous bankruptcy the courts records show that this case was discharged normally on 8/26/2011. A discharge means that the Chapter 7 bankruptcy was completed and successful in wiping away all qualified unsecured debt.

You may be wondering how someone who was making millions of dollars off of hit records and sold out tours was eligible to have their unsecured debt (like credit cards and medical bills) completed wiped away. The answer lies in a system of equations known as the bankruptcy means test. Put simply, the bankruptcy means test is a way to determine which Chapter of bankruptcy an individual qualifies for by deducting necessary monthly expenses from overall monthly income. Both times Toni Braxton filed for bankruptcy the court used the means test to determine that her expenses outweighed her income each month and that she was entitled to Chapter 7 relief.

So whether you are in the early stages of looking for a cheap bankruptcy lawyer, or you have already found the best bankruptcy attorney for your situation, remember that you aren’t alone! Hundreds of thousands of Americans from all walks of life file bankruptcy every year, and as you can see from Toni Braxton some people even need bankruptcy help more than once to completely ensure a financial fresh start. Filing bankruptcy is nothing to be ashamed of and may be the option you and your family need to consider if you continue to be plagued by debt.

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