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South Florida bankruptcies drop as holiday season ramps up

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Miami released some promising statistics about the financial state of South Florida: bankruptcies in the area fell roughly 10 percent in November compared to October. Officials say the decline in personal bankruptcies is due to the holiday season, and that a decline can be expected in December as well.

However, just because the number of people filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is declining, it does not mean that people who are finishing their bankruptcy process are any better off. There are still harsh financial realities for many Orlando residents who are just coming out of bankruptcy.

Creditors can pester people who have just emerged from Chapter 7, claiming that the once-bankrupt individual still owes them money. Landlords can harass tenants, thinking that debt collector laws do not apply to them. And some credit card companies or lenders may contact bankrupt (or once-bankrupt) individuals with amazing offers that sound too good to be true (mortgage reductions or debt eliminations).

Some of those offers may be legitimate, giving some families a much-needed financial boost; but others can be scams that place more financial strain on the individual or family.

That is why it is best to consult an experienced attorney that is well-versed in bankruptcy law if you are going through, recently completed or just entering bankruptcy. A lawyer can protect you from nagging debt collectors; inform you of which offers are legitimate; and support you if you believe creditors are asking for illegitimate debt that you no longer owe.

Source: Sun Sentinel, “Bankruptcies fall last month after jumping in October,” Donna Gehrke-White, Dec. 4, 2012

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