While Florida in general saw an increase in the number of bankruptcy filings for 2010, one area recorded one of the highest increases throughout the entire nation.
According to sources, Florida’s Middle District, which includes Orlando, saw the second highest increase in people filing for bankruptcy throughout the U.S. The middle district was only trumped by California’s Eastern District, which includes Los Angeles.
Florida’s Middle District saw 66,861 bankruptcy filings, while California’s district reported 138,585 filings. However, when looking at the population of these two areas, it comes out to be very similar with approximately one in every 100 people who needed to file for bankruptcy.
Sources point too many factors for the increases in filings, including that the stigma related to actually filing has gone away, making people not as hesitant to file. It used to be a shameful action for people to file for bankruptcy, but over the past several years, as financial turmoil has hit record highs, filing has become the only viable option for many people.
Aside from the stigma going away, many people also found themselves laid off from a job with debts accruing and no way to pay them back. In an effort to not lose their homes, and to also either discharge debts or set up a new payment plan, bankruptcy was one way for a family to stay in their homes while trying to find a new job, or accept taking one that paid less money.
Then there was the less-than-obvious factor of homes losing values. For many people, when the price of their home dropped, they found that filing for bankruptcy would be a better option since they could no longer rely on a home’s equity to pay off mounting debt.
And while these numbers looked at 2010, there are still plenty of people struggling who could benefit from filing for bankruptcy. However, there are a number of different types of bankruptcies, and a person should look at their individual circumstance and what the outcome would mean before just filing.
Source: The Florida Times-Union, “First Coast No. 2 in country for filing bankruptcy,” Kevin Turner, 12 Jan 2011