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Florida Sees 25 Percent Increase in Consumer Bankruptcy Filings

While unemployment rates are still high across the country, and many are struggling financially, and Florida was listed as one of the states seeing a higher than average number of bankruptcy filings for 2010.

According to an American Bankruptcy Institute report that was released earlier this week, the entire state of Florida saw a 25 percent increase in the number of consumer bankruptcy filings from 2009 to 2010.

However, Florida is not alone, as nationwide filings were up. According to the same report, a little more than 1.5 million people filed for bankruptcy last year, which represents a 9 percent increase. Overall, Hawaii was the state with the highest jump in filings with a 29 percent increase year-over-year. Florida saw the second highest increase.

In general, filings have been on the increase throughout the country since 2005, when new bankruptcy law restrictions were supposed to make it even harder for people to file. However, with a tough economy and people struggling more than ever, those filing numbers ended up increasing instead of decreasing. This alone speaks volumes to the amount of debt and tough financial situations that many Americans have found themselves in over the last few years.

When filing for a consumer bankruptcy a person can choice to either go with Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Under a Chapter 7 a person’s assets are liquidated in order to pay of his or her debt, while with a Chapter 13, a repayment plan to creditors is court-approved. The decision to file for one versus the other depends on a person’s individual circumstance and what would make the most sense for a person. It’s best to know in detail about both types of bankruptcy choices before filing.

Source: St. Petersburg Times, “Personal bankruptcies in Florida rise 16.5 percent in 2010,” Jeff Harrington, 3 Jan 2011

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