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Bankruptcy in the United States is permitted by the United States Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4), which authorizes Congress to enact "uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States." As such, Constitutional recognition of bankruptcy law is amongst the oldest in the United States, predating even the Bill of Rights. Even 224 years ago, the Founding Fathers and the draftsmen of this Country's earliest laws recognized that sometimes people got in over their heads as a result of insufficient planning or factors beyond their control. They understood that it was in the best interests of both debtors and the economy as a whole to provide people with a fresh start in the event someone found themselves with debts they were unable to pay.
Despite the fact that the Constitution specifically permits Congress to enact bankruptcy legislation, there is still a significant cost, both economic and emotional, in seeking the protection of the Bankruptcy Court. So, if you or someone you know is considering bankruptcy, request a free copy of the 2011 Massachusetts Bankruptcy Handbook, which will help you understand what the advantages and disadvantages of bankruptcy are, and whether or not you qualify.