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Gabby Douglas' mother's debt plight similar to many others

Many Tennessee residents are no doubt aware of the inspiring story of Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, who will leave the games with an impressive haul of medals. Clearly her hard work and years of training have paid off. But how was that training afforded?

Apparently Douglas' mother had to go into debt to pay for that training, because earlier this year she filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, according to court filings. Filing for Chapter 13 allowed Douglas' mother to formulate a debt repayment plan, in which she will make monthly payments and have the rest of her debts discharged after a certain length of time.

According to her bankruptcy filing, Douglas' mother listed $163,706 in assets, most of that in a town house and a car. She listed approximately $80,000 in debts. For her income, she said she gets $2,500 a month, a combination of Social Security Disability benefits and child support. She also has three other children in addition to Gabby.

Because the house and car are likely the only ones she owns, she will likely be allowed to keep them. Indeed, Douglas' mother said one of the reasons she was not embarrassed about her situation is that she needed a way to reorganize her debt while being able to keep her home.

Many residents of Tennessee and elsewhere have fallen on hard economic times. There's no shame in admitting you need a little extra help in managing your debt. That's what bankruptcy protection is there for. And with Gabby's newfound fame, she might be able to help her mother get back on her feet financially.

Source: Associated Press, "Gymnast Gabby Douglas' mom filed for bankruptcy," Aug. 6, 2012

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Kenneth C. Rannick, P.C.
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