South Florida bankruptcy filings decrease slightly over summer, ramp back up for fall

South Florida's struggling citizens filed fewer bankruptcies in the summer months, but now that the kids are back in school, bankruptcy filings are on the upswing again, at least according to data compiled by the South Florida Sun Sentinel and the South Florida Business Journal.

October saw considerably more bankruptcy filings in the Broward county, Palm Beach county and Miami-Dade county areas than had been filed in September.

Legal experts blame the uptick in filings on several factors, among them:

  • Lenders resuming foreclosures after the self-imposed moratorium brought about by the "robo-signing" scandal that revealed unscrupulous foreclosure practices by some of the biggest banks in the country
  • Parents now able to think about their own finances again after being solely focused in August and September with getting their children equipped for a new school year, purchasing supplies, clothes and paying tuition
  • Still struggling companies going through another round of layoffs before the holiday season
  • Record high rates of credit card debt, student loans, college graduates unable to find work and uncovered medical expenses

How will bankruptcy help?

Since many of the newest round of bankruptcy filings in the South Florida area are fueled by lender recommitment to the foreclosure process, most of those filing this time around are homeowners who find themselves losing a lengthy battle to save their homes.

In many instances, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is a very effective tool for someone plagued by debt who wants to keep their home. In a Chapter 7, the debtor receives immediate debt relief from credit card debt, medical bills and other non-secured debt, which often allows the debtor to have the extra cash necessary to catch up on their mortgage.

There are some things that Chapter 7 - or any bankruptcy filing, for that matter - cannot do: it does not wipe out student loan debt, tax obligations less than three years old or child support payments, but it does make the payment of mandatory expenses easier because it frees up disposable income that would have otherwise gone to make payments on now-discharged debt.

Regardless of whether you are a homeowner or not, if you are struggling with debt, there are options available to you. In addition to serving as a resource and guide through the bankruptcy court system, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can educate you about the best debt relief option for your unique situation, so contact one in your area today.