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Court Records Show Orange County Bankruptcy Filings Reached Record High in August

September 24, 2010

Our Highland personal bankruptcy attorneys were interested to see a report on the bankruptcy statistics here on our home turf in Orange County. The Orange County Register's Jan Norman on Small Business blog reported Sept. 21 on bankruptcy filings in the county, using information from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. Norman wrote that Orange County bankruptcies reached their highest point in 11 years this August, with 1,654 bankruptcies filed by consumers and businesses in August of 2010. That was 19.3 percent higher than the number for August of 2009, but 3.5 percent fewer than the number for July of 2010. In the entire Central District of California, the filings rose even more sharply, up 32.6 percent since August of 2009.

Norman pointed out some good news: the rate of bankruptcy filings has slowed, in Orange County and throughout the Central District of California. Whereas January's filings were up by 58 percent, she wrote, that number slid to the 19.3 percent number in August. August's numbers were also only 3.5 percent more than July's. The rate of increase has also slowed in the Central District as a whole, which includes every part of California from San Luis Obispo to the Inland Empire. The district saw a total of 13,052 bankruptcy filings in August, which is up, but not as sharply as in previous months. Nonetheless, Norman wrote, it's too early to predict a trend toward slowing filings. In Los Angeles County, filings increased from 2009 to 2010 by 57.2 percent, and in San Bernardino County, they increased by 35.8 percent.

We are not surprised by these numbers, thanks to our work as Anaheim consumer bankruptcy lawyers. As with the national bankruptcy filing numbers, the Central District numbers reflect the grim state of the economy overall. However, California has been particularly hard-hit during the recession, consistently having one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation and the steepest drop in home prices. These numbers are acknowledged as good predictors of bankruptcy, and it's no surprise -- no one can pay the bills without a steady income, and losing home value robs homeowners of equity and options. Given the state of the economy in southern California, more and more people are being forced to choose bankruptcy. It's not an easy choice, and it's not right for everyone -- but under the right circumstances, it can help our clients shed obligations that they can no longer realistically meet and make a fresh start.

If you feel overwhelmed and trapped by your debt, you should consider calling Howard Law PC for help. We are a full-service bankruptcy law firm serving people in Orange County and throughout California. Many of our clients come to us feeling guilty or as if they have failed because they are considering bankruptcy. We believe nothing is further from the truth -- that bankruptcy is sometimes the best and most responsible option when you are faced with debts you cannot pay. Filing for bankruptcy automatically stops creditors from harassing you, giving you time and breathing space to figure out which debts you can pay. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, our Azusa individual bankruptcy attorneys help clients sell off anything that is not protected to pay off debts; the rest is simply forgiven. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we help clients set up a payment plan that protects their assets and themselves from debt collectors seeking to squeeze blood from a stone.

If you're not sure whether bankruptcy is right for you, Howard Law can discuss the details of your situation in a free, confidential case evaluation. To learn more or set up an appointment, you can send us an email or call 1-800-872-5925 toll-free.