What does this lovely lady have to do with bankruptcy and my bankruptcy blog? Mostly it is just reality show curiosity, but there is also a cautionary bankruptcy tale present here.

If you are not a reality show junkie like some of us, you may not recognize this woman.  She is Theresa Giudice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.  If you do follow these shows (and it’s ok to admit it), you probably know that she and her husband filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009.  As I was doing some fun bankruptcy searching on the internet, I came across several articles about the current status of this bankruptcy.  It appears that the trustee in the Giudice’s case has filed an objection to their Chapter 7 discharge claiming that they should not be allowed a discharge because they have misled the bankruptcy court and knowingly hid some of their assets.

Teresa Giudice

© Behind The Velvet Rope TV, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you will recall, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation bankruptcy.  Meaning that the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case has the right and the duty to look for assets that can be liquidated for distribution to your creditors and payment towards your debts.  These are assets that are not protected by what are known as your state’s exemption laws.  If you do not disclose all of your assets to your bankruptcy trustee, the trustee is not going to be very happy.  And if the trustee is not happy, no one is happy.  What can result is the case of this Real Housewife; denial of the bankruptcy discharge, which is the whole reason you filed bankruptcy in the first place.  If a reality show “star” is not above the bankruptcy laws, then you probably aren’t either.  This is why we bankruptcy lawyers get frustrated when you “forget” to tell us about that extra bank account or parcel of land you just remembered you have in your name.  We want you to have a successful bankruptcy, and we can only ensure that happens when we are fully informed of all of the assets you have.

Oh yeah, what assets did Mrs. Giudice allegedly forget to mention? Nothing big… just a bank account, a book royalty, and a fashion line.