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Bankruptcy filings are low — why is that bad?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2019 | Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Firm News

Debt is something that virtually every person will have to deal with at least once or twice during their lives. While some consumers handle these debts effectively, many people in Florida struggle with monthly payments for things like their credit cards, auto loans and medical bills. Lower rates of bankruptcy might indicate that consumers are getting better at paying back their debts, but some experts caution that this explanation is not the whole story.

In Sept. 2010, 1.53 million people filed for bankruptcy. By Sept. 2018, the number of filings had fallen by approximately half, with only 770,000 filings, 97 percent of which came from individuals. This is the lowest number of bankruptcy petitions that the United States has seen since 2007. Unfortunately, these low numbers are likely because many people in need of help struggle to fully access the bankruptcy process.

There are costs associated with filing for bankruptcy, and people who are already struggling to repay their debts rarely have access to excess funds to afford these extra fees. The type of debt a person is struggling with can also impact a decision to pursue bankruptcy. For example, post-recession rules gave homeowners the ability to work directly with their lenders to avoid foreclosure, removing the need to file for bankruptcy to stop the process. Others simply cannot discharge their debt, as things like student loans are extremely difficult to get rid of during bankruptcy.

The decision to file for bankruptcy is a difficult one. Many people worry about potential court fees while others are just not certain that filing will have any impact on their debt. What people in Florida may not realize is that they do not have to deal with these issues on their own. In many instances, an experienced attorney can better explain a person’s options when they are struggling to repay their debts.

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