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Learn something from the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Don’t hire just anyone to handle your bankruptcy.

So what happened to Teresa Guidice?  She and her husband got into the real estate flipping business, her husband signed off on a lot of papers he shouldn’t have, not always using his own name, and then the couple sought to discharge the debts in bankruptcy. The creditors, i.e., the mortgage lenders and even the people who had their names borrowed to sign the loan applications sued in the bankruptcy court, saying that the debts should not be discharged, they were obtained by fraud and deception. There was even a trial. And the Guidice’s lost. So they are stuck paying hundreds of thousands, even millions, of debts that might have been discharged, erased, or at least reduced, if they had planned ahead or gotten better advice, or both.  After the bankruptcy court trial, the Guidice’s were charged with bankruptcy fraud, which is a federal crime, and they both went to prison.  Then the Guidice’s sued their own bankruptcy lawyer, saying they got bad advice which led to the prison time.  That is still going on, but a simple Google search will turn up the complaint and lots of articles about it.  It shows the importance of having not the cheapest, not the quickest, but the most tenacious and experienced bankruptcy lawyer you can get.  Anything less could land you in prison.