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California Ranks Eighth in Top Ten States With the Most Filings for Bankruptcy

May 24, 2010

As Corona consumer bankruptcy attorneys, we were interested to see a recent piece on bankruptcy statistics from the Orange County Register's On Small Business blog. According to the May 18 post, statistics from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court put California among the states with the most people filing for bankruptcy per resident. The numbers track the 12 months ending at the end of this past March, during which time there were a record number of bankruptcy filings. Our state ranked eighth out of the top ten states, with 6.15 filings for every 1,000 residents. Not surprisingly for the nation's most populous state, California also had the largest sheer number of filings of any state.

The bankruptcy filing numbers include both individual and business filings, of all types. The state with the highest per-resident number of bankruptcy filings was one of our next-door neighbors, Nevada. It had 11.7 bankruptcy filings for every 1,000 residents. No other Western state was among the top 10. Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana and Alabama rounded out the top five, from most to least filings. Nationwide, the last year's data showed the highest number of filings since the year the bankruptcy reform law went into effect, with 1.47 million consumer filings and 61,148 business filings. Total filings rose 27% over the previous 12 months (those ending March 31, 2009). The biggest jump was a 65% increase in Chapter 12 bankruptcies over the 2008-2009 filings, which are for family farms and fishermen. But Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcies increased by 30% and Chapter 13 filings increased by 12%.

This news matches what our Cerritos personal bankruptcy lawyers have learned about bankruptcy filings from other sources in the past few months. Observers from places like the American Bankruptcy Institute predicted that last year would be a record one for post-reform personal bankruptcy filings, and some expect this year's filings to exceed that record. Analysts have also noted that the increase among consumers is largely in Chapter 7 "liquidation" bankruptcies, which means more filers are coming to bankruptcy without the substantial income that would push them into Chapter 13 bankruptcies instead. That is, Americans who file for bankruptcy are getting poorer, or at least tend to have less income than those who filed a few years ago. Not surprisingly, observers blame this partly on the bad economy and its high unemployment rates.

Howard Law PC represents individuals and couples who are considering bankruptcy as a way to take control of their financial lives. We know bankruptcy isn't right for everyone, which is why our Paramount individual bankruptcy attorneys start by analyzing the client's financial situation. If bankruptcy is the best option, we can help clients decide which type is best for their situations -- Chapter 7, in which you sell off many possessions but finish fairly soon, or Chapter 13, in which you make a long-term repayment plan. We stand by our clients throughout every step involved in these processes, including legal action against any creditors who continue to harass them after the bankruptcy is filed. We can also explain alternatives to bankruptcy, including loan modifications or a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuit.

If you feel overwhelmed by your debt and you think bankruptcy might be able to help, you should call Howard Law for a consultation. You can meet with us to discuss your options at no cost and no further obligation. To set up a meeting, please send us an email or call toll-free at 1-800-872-5925.