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The “Real Housewives of Wherever” are supposed to be the rich women of a given posh community. They are supposed to live lavish lifestyles, worrying only about petty quarrels over their looks and fashion. They are supposed to be immune from concerns about financial challenges and personal debt. But it turns out that overwhelming debt can catch up with anyone, whether a schoolteacher from Kansas or a reality TV celebrity.

The most recent example of what we mean is represented by Danielle Staub. The former star of one of the “Real Housewives” franchise shows recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The fact that she is struggling with debt may be particularly surprising considering she famously bragged on her show about being the first woman in New Jersey to get the elite black American Express card. In paperwork associated with the bankruptcy petition and filed by Staub’s attorney, 35 creditors were listed, including American Express.

Staub, like all other bankruptcy filers, is seeking a fresh financial start and has decided that the bankruptcy process is her best mode of achieving that new beginning. Chapter 7 is a process that eliminates most of an individual’s debts. Essentially, all of the individual’s debts are combined into a large pool, while many of the individual’s non-essential assets are combined into a separate pool. The assets are then used to pay the liabilities. If the liabilities outlast the assets, unpaid liabilities are dissolved and creditors can no longer collect on them.

The process leaves the individual free of most debts. The system is designed to ensure that the individual will be able to lead a healthy financial life after emerging from bankruptcy. For that reason, individuals can sometimes keep many possessions that are considered necessities.

Source:, “Former ‘Real Housewives of New Jersey’ star Danielle Staub files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy,” Virginia Rohen, The Record, June 5, 2012