It took almost five years after legislation passed to make it more difficult to file, but bankruptcies in the United States are at their highest number since 2005. It should not come as a surprise to anyone, given the extent to which job losses, tight credit and the housing market have bludgeoned our economy.
Between the first of the year and March, there were 330,477 filings, an increase of 35 percent from the same quarter of last year. In the face of such daunting numbers, it's difficult not to come to grips with the pain being caused by the recession. Thankfully though, the bankruptcy courts are there to assist those in the most serious trouble with finding a route back to financial solvency.
There is a direct correlation between states with the highest number of filings and those hit hardest by the housing crisis. California experienced the most, and then Florida. Both states, along with Nevada, have been decimated by dropping home values.
However, and in thanks in part to the federal government, banks and creditors are trying to help where they can by lowering interest rates, halting fees and modifying mortgages. At least that's the plan (read: hope). That help comes with a mixed message though, as many credit card companies are scrambling to add costs before recently-passed legislation that limits their ability to charge more and raise rates goes into effect sometime in early 2010.
Good news on the economy is starting to surface, however, according to federal officials throughout the United States. A report by the Federal Reserve said that signs of economic contraction were leveling off but that any sort of significant recovery will not be fully visible until after 2009. The increase in home sales has helped to put some areas, to a small extent, back on track.
If you plan to file bankruptcy this year, it is critical for you to consider the benefits of a bankruptcy attorney. The road to the bankruptcy court can be a bumpy one if you're not able to keep it between the lines. From reading through this blog to picking up books to seeking references, the more knowledge you have about the bankruptcy process, the more prepared you will be when it's time to officially file.
Bankruptcy attorneys can leverage the legal system in much more effectively than most credit counselors. While learning to spend more wisely and negotiate interest rates are certainly worthwhile efforts, the odds are that you already understand what mistakes you made. Many experts on the subject believe that people in financial trouble get into even more while trying to decide whether or not to file bankruptcy. Problems arise when a person continues to spend or make unwise decisions for a few weeks while waiting to call a bankruptcy attorney or begin their research, as if simply telling yourself you plan to file makes it happen.
When it's time to file bankruptcy, like more than 330,000 people have already this year, it's a time for action. Move forward quickly and get your life back on track because as the saying goes, "the sooner the better."
Live in North Carolina and need a good bankruptcy attorney? Consider the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt, serving 28 counties out of 4 different offices located in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville and Wilson. This lawfirm offers a totally free and confidential initial consultation and is dedicated to making sure you know all your options, bankruptcy and otherwise. Need an appointment? During normal business hours, call toll free to 1-888-234-4181. At night and on weekends, you can make your own "online" appointment by visiting their website at www.billsbills.com