Personal bankruptcy numbers show downward trend

It is often difficult for Mississippi residents to read financial indicators and predict whether the struggling economy is beginning to regain new life or not. While people may rely on personal bankruptcy for debt relief in many different situations, even when the economy is great, some people do look to bankruptcy statistics as useful financial data on the strength or weakness of the economy.

In nearby Georgia, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia reported that the number of filings for bankruptcy had decreased 14 percent in 2012 compared with 2011. The nearly 44,000 filings marks a new low since 2009. Among the filings were over 1,300 business bankruptcies, more than 24,000 Chapter 7 bankruptcies and over 13,000 Chapter 11 filings. In recent history, the lowest number of filings occurred in 2006, when only 24,326 filings were reported.

Although some Mississippi residents may believe that high numbers of people filing for bankruptcy is a bad sign for the overall economy, the good news is that the people filing for bankruptcy are often obtaining much-needed, significant debt relief. There are different kinds of bankruptcies available to Mississippi residents, and choosing the best one often depends on the person's unique financial situation. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good option for those with qualifying income levels, many types of unsecured debt and problems with creditor harassment. In contrast, Chapter 13 offers consumers a viable way to repay many debts while discharging those obligations that cannot be met with existing income.

Bankruptcy can have many benefits for individuals, especially if they consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can analyze their financial situations, needs and goals and advise them on the best choice. Putting an end to creditor harassment, eliminating crushing debt and preventing foreclosure can all be potential positive results of a bankruptcy filing.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle, "Local bankruptcy filings dropped in 2012," Jacques Couret, Jan. 28, 2013

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