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Bankruptcy Misery Loves Company

November 15, 2010

New data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts reveals that American consumers filed more than 1.5 million non-business bankruptcies during the federal government’s fiscal year ending September 30.  That is 14% higher than fiscal year 2009, when around 1.3 million consumer bankruptcies were filed.


“As the issues of unemployment and economic stress weigh heavily on today’s elections, consumers continue to seek the financial shelter of bankruptcy,” said American Bankruptcy Institute Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “We anticipate that there will be nearly 1.6 million consumer bankruptcy filings by year end.”  The American Bankruptcy Institute is the nation’s largest association of bankruptcy professionals.


At this current pace, the number of consumer bankruptcies for 2010 would be the highest number in the past five years.  In 2005 Americans filed over two million bankruptcies cases, 630,000 of these were filed in the two week period before bankruptcy law revisions made it more difficult discharge debt.


Gerdano expects the number of bankruptcies to continue rising in the months ahead as unemployment stays near 10% and access to credit remains tight.  Personal bankruptcy filings have been climbing steadily since the recession began in 2007 which left millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed.  During the federal fiscal year 2010, Chapter 7 filings increased nearly 15% to over 1.1 million, from 989,227 in fiscal 2009.  Chapter 13 filings rose 9.2% during the year, while Chapter 11 filings fell 3.8%.


If you are struggling with debt and considering bankruptcy, you are not alone.  Bankruptcy is a legal process protected by federal law, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and overseen by a federal judge and agents of the United States Justice Department.  Bankruptcy is the right way to legally resolve a debt problem that you cannot pay.  If you need legal protection from your creditors, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney and discuss your options.

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