Alabama readers who tuned into the 2012 Olympic Games this year are probably familiar with Gabby Douglas, America's 16-year-old gold medal winner in gymnastics. Others may be familiar with Gabby's mom, Natalie Hawkins, who has gained attention after her Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing became public. As many Americans root for Gabby Douglas, many will likely root for her mom, also. Her story is one that many others can relate to.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows for debt reorganization in order to pay down debt over a period of years. According to a report, Hawkins bankruptcy filings list her assets as $163,706 including her townhouse and 2007 Nissan Maxima. She lists close to $80,000 in debts, mainly from her mortgage. Separated from her husband, Hawkins receives close to $2,500 in income from Social Security disability benefits and child support payments.
Hawkins is a single mother of four and had a period of six months without any income. She went on long-term medical disability in 2009. After her mortgage payments, the cost of raising four children, and paying for Gabby's gymnastics training, she eventually got so far into debt that she felt she could not get out. That's when she turned to Chapter 13.
When asked about the bankruptcy, Hawkins responded by saying, "It's my story, it's part of me. I'm not even embarrassed about it. It shows that even though I didn't like to have to do it, I'm glad there was something there for me to be able to protect my home."
Source: Abc2news.com, "Mortgage, training costs force Douglas' mom to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy," August 6, 2012