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Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Decline Sharply in January From December Numbers

February 3, 2011

As Moreno Valley consumer bankruptcy lawyers, we were pleased to finally see some good news from the monthly bankruptcy filing numbers. As the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog reported Feb. 1, the American Bankruptcy Institute reports that bankruptcy filings went down significantly in the first month of 2011. Between December and January, filings for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 declined by 22 percent. Year over year, this January also saw a 9 percent decline from January of 2010's filings. ABI's president said it was a promising start to 2011 after several years of increasing bankruptcy filings.

Last year saw the highest number of bankruptcy filings in the five years since the 2005 changes to the bankruptcy code. At 1.53 million filings, 2010 also saw a 9 percent jump in filings over 2009's numbers. ABI's president said the Institute is predicting nearly 1.6 million bankruptcies this year, which would be only a slight increase over 2010. Others have suggested that bankruptcies may even fall, as the bad economy keeps lending standards very tight and the glut of new bankruptcies slows. The share of filings that were Chapter 13 filings - the payment plan form of bankruptcy - grew slightly since December, suggesting that more filers have steady incomes.

Our Anaheim individual bankruptcy attorneys hope this news signals the start of an economic turnaround. As the article noted, December and January are typically slow months for bankruptcy filings, so it's wise not to read too much into the drop. But a large drop, if sustained, could indicate that bankruptcies are on their way to flattening out again, and that indicates good things about employment and the general health of our economy. Filing for bankruptcy is survivable and certainly better than staying enslaved to huge debt for a lifetime - but it's better for everyone if most Americans don't need that help in the first place.

If you are considering bankruptcy because your debts have gotten out of hand, you should call Howard Law PC. Our Laguna Beach personal bankruptcy lawyers urge potential clients to call us as soon as they realize they need to explore bankruptcy - not after they've exhausted all of their ways to avoid it. Bankruptcy carries a stigma that can make potential filers feel ashamed or upset that they're even considering it. But filing for bankruptcy is not a way to dodge responsibility for your debts; it's a way to take responsibility for paying them without mortgaging your future and your family's future. Delaying too long can exhaust savings and deprive you of needed relief.

Howard Law offers free, confidential case evaluations, so you can tell us about your situation and learn more about your legal options at no further obligation. To set up a meeting or learn more, call us today at 1-800-872-5925 or send us a message through our website.