Even Real Housewives Succeed in Bankruptcy Despite the High Profile

They might be living the high life on TV, but when they are off camera the women of Bravo’s hit TV franchise, Real Housewives, are struggling to match their wealthy TV images. Many of these women’s personal, behind the scenes problems have become a reality spectacle in their own right. One out of every four women on the show will get divorced, and nearly 20% have filed for bankruptcy. Everyone has focused on the high profile bankruptcy cases of Teresa Giudice and Sonja Morgan, but at least a dozen other Housewives across the country have also filed bankruptcy despite being seen on TV as rich and fabulous. It comes as no surprise to many that a reality TV show would be hard on a marriage and even personal finances, but when someone is making $600,000 per episode you have to wonder why so many of these high paid Housewives are in bankruptcy, or worse.

Teresa Giudice and her husband Joe will be sentenced Oct. 2 after pleading guilty to the 41 counts against them including among many other things one count of bankruptcy fraud by false declaration, one count of bankruptcy fraud by concealment of assets and one count of bankruptcy fraud by false oaths. They are both looking at possible jail time, and Joe Guidice could potentially be deported to his native Italy after serving his sentence. They tried to cheat their lenders, the bankruptcy court and the IRS. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but you will never succeed in trying to hide money and assets from Uncle Sam – especially when you have an $11 million estate and have been flashing cash and jet setting around on national TV for the last five years.

Look, it’s not illegal for a wealthy person to file bankruptcy. There are many high income earners that will qualify for bankruptcy without any funny business. You don’t have to be dirt poor to file by any means, but you have to be smart no matter who you are. The more assets you need to protect the more prepared you need to be. The Giudices should have spoken to a bankruptcy attorney sooner about pre-bankruptcy exemption planning. Instead of going to jail for fraud they could have sold off some of the assets they were seen with on TV. A qualified attorney could have helped them get their things in order with the proper paper trail and a comprehensive plan before filing. Had they done this they would have probably been adequately protected under the US Bankruptcy Code. They would have certainly lost some of their assets and would have been forced to downgrade their lavish lifestyle, but they wouldn’t have lost everything and certainly wouldn’t be in the kind of trouble they are in now. You don’t need to get tricky to succeed in bankruptcy. Even those people that are seen on TV drinking champagne in a private jet on their way to a shopping spree can be protected if they plan ahead and are honest with their attorney about their money problems.

When you are trying to keep up with the Joneses, which is the entire premise of the Real Housewives, you are likely to run into money problems. Fortunately most people with debt don’t have the added pressure of the national TV spotlight. Not everyone in financial trouble should file bankruptcy, but it can be the best way out regardless of net worth. If you are behind on your bills for any reason don’t take matters into your own hands before speaking to a bankruptcy attorney. If you live in New York City contact the Law Offices of William Waldner online or at 212.344.2882. We mainly practice bankruptcy law and know how to protect your valuable assets and bank accounts in bankruptcy.

**** DISCLAIMER: This article is intended for educational purposes only. By reading no attorney-client relationship has been created. Prior results do not guarantee a similar result for future clients.