CALL NOW!
FREE PHONE/VIRTUAL CONSULTATION

Gulf Coast Personal Bankruptcy Filings to Rise

In 2009, personal bankruptcy filings rose by nearly one-third. According to the National Bankruptcy Research Center, 1.41 million people filed for bankruptcy in 2009, up 32 percent from 2008. As bad as these numbers seem, industry followers predict that 2010 will be even worse. The American Bankruptcy Institute expects there to be more than 1.6 million personal bankruptcy filings this year.

The recession, lagging housing market and unemployment rate will all contribute to the rise in filings. But, this year there will be an additional factor contributing to that number.

The BP/Transocean oil spill has caused unprecedented damage to the waters and beaches of the Gulf Coast region. The extent of the damage is still unknown and could take many more months to fully assess. Area businesses and people who work in the region are facing an uncertain future. Industries that employ numerous people in the area, including fishing and tourism, could feel the effects of this disaster for years, if not decades. As a result, experts predict this area will experience a significant increase in personal and business bankruptcies.

It is expected that many small businesses will fail and countless jobs will be lost as a result of the spill. As many small businesses are funded by personal lines of credit, they become difficult or impossible to stay afloat when revenues decline and credit lines dry up. For some people, bankruptcy may be the only way out. It can provide people with a fresh start or give them a chance to reorganize their debts and pay them back.

Chapter 7 an Option for Many

Chapter 7 is often referred to as “Total Bankruptcy.” Under this chapter, most unsecured debt, which includes debt like credits cards and medical or hospital bills, is discharged, meaning that it does not have to be paid back. There are, however, certain debts that cannot be discharged in a Chapter 7, or any other bankruptcy, including child support and other court ordered obligations, and most student loans, among others.

Many people fear that they will lose their home or vehicle after filing for bankruptcy. But, if you stay current on your mortgage and car payments, it is possible to keep this property. In fact, eliminating other unsecured debt can be one of the best ways to help you stay current on your mortgage.

How Chapter 13 Works

While Chapter 7 might be the best approach for someone who has lost a job and has no regular source of income, the truth is that not everyone will qualify. For those that don’t, particularly those with higher incomes, significant assets they would like to keep, or those that have some moral objection to discharging debt, Chapter 13 may be the best approach.

Under this chapter, you keep your property and agree to pay back your creditors over a three to five year period. The program is supervised by the court and typically debtors end up paying creditors a portion of what is owed. After the conclusion of the payment plan, any remaining unsecured debt is discharged.

Benefits of Working With an Attorney

Fears and misconceptions of bankruptcy keep some people from filing and push them toward less effective means of wiping out their debts. These alternatives can often add to their problems instead of solving them. Debt relief or debt consolidation companies can charge substantial up-front fees; using money that should be used to pay off your creditors. In the end, many people find that these alternatives are more costly and do little to address their debt issues and the underlying causes of the problem.

Also, in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, people filing receive the protection of an automatic stay, which is not available when pursuing alternatives to bankruptcy. This stops all collection activity, including current lawsuits, repossessions or foreclosures, and provides debtors with time to get their finances in order.

Whatever path you decide and whatever decision you make, bankruptcy can be a straightforward yet complex process. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to determine which approach is best for you.

Video Testimonials

Tampa Bankruptcy Law Blog

Should Seniors File Bankruptcy? Here’s 3 Things You Need to Know

Should seniors file for bankruptcy? Maybe. It all depends on their specific financial circumstances. Bankruptcy can be a great solution...
Read More

What Happens If My Spouse Dies During Bankruptcy?

Seniors declaring bankruptcy have many concerns. One of the most pressing is how their health or their spouse’s health might...
Read More

Can I File for Bankruptcy Without a Job?

Bankruptcy is often considered a tool used by people without money, without income, and without any financial hope. The truth...
Read More

Should I Use Retirement Savings to Avoid Bankruptcy? A Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You Protect Your Retirement Nest Egg

Withdrawing money from your retirement savings is rarely advised by financial experts, even if you are facing bankruptcy. Working with...
Read More

Can You File for Bankruptcy and Keep Your Home

Foreclosure is something that occurs after a homeowner has missed multiple mortgage payments. Working with a Florida bankruptcy attorney helps...
Read More

Is There Such a Thing as Mortgage Bankruptcy?

Your home is one of your primary concerns when filing for bankruptcy. Can you claim bankruptcy and keep your home?...
Read More

What Do You Need to Know about a Home Auction in Bankruptcy?

Home auctions are a common topic that arises when someone is faced with the prospect of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy protection for...
Read More

Can a Florida Bankruptcy Attorney Help Me Avoid Eviction

Losing one’s home is one of the most common concerns you can have when filing for bankruptcy. A Florida bankruptcy...
Read More

Covid-19 Tax Tips

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected a variety of things including taxes. These COVID tax tips can help you prepare and...
Read More

How Can a Bankruptcy Attorney in Tampa Florida Help Me If I Fall Behind on My Mortgage After Filing for Bankruptcy?

Many people find that filing for bankruptcy provides all of the financial relief they need to get back on track....
Read More

Bankruptcy

For The Next 5 Days GET A FREE BOOK About Bankruptcy

Learn More

Infographics

We are A Debt Relief Agency.
We help people file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code

Pay Online Bankruptcy Courses Newsletter Subscription

NACBA Logo avvo1 avvo2 avvo3 LEA BBB Logo

Call For A Free Initial Consultation

813.254.5696

Tampa Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
807 West Azeele Street
Tampa, FL 33606
T: (813) 254-5696
T: (800) 853-7549
F: (813) 253-3405

Map And Directions

St. Petersburg Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
125 5th Street South
(Wells Fargo Financial Center)
2nd Floor, Suite G
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
T: (727) 532-3939

Map And Directions

Pasco Office

23526 State Road 54
Lutz, FL 33559
T: (813) 336-2320

Map And Directions