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Bankruptcy filings in 2015 hit 8-year low

Florida residents may know be aware that, according to data released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, bankruptcy filings fell 9.9 percent in Florida and across the nation in 2015. The statistics, which were issued on Feb. 4, show that there were 844,495 bankruptcy filings in federal court between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2015, which is down from 936,795 filings in 2014. It is the lowest number of filings since 2007, and it is the fifth year in a row that filings have dropped.

The AOUSC statistics show that both business and non-business bankruptcies are trending downward. Business bankruptcy filings dipped from 26,983 in 2014 to 24,735 in 2015. Non-business filings dropped from 908,812 in 2014 to 819,760 last year.

Filings for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy both decreased in 2015. In Chapter 7, a debtor's nonexempt assets are liquidated to pay off creditors. Chapter 13 allows consumers who have a regualr source of income to reorganize their debts pursuant to a court-approved repayment plan that stretches from three to five years. However, filings for Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 increased last year. There were 535,047 Chapter 7 filings in 2015, 7,241 Chapter 11 filings, 407 Chapter 12 filings and 301,705 Chapter 13 filings.

Florida residents facing financial trouble and who qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may find that the process is a good way to get out from under seemingly-insurmountable debt while being allowed to keep important assets. A bankruptcy attorney can describe the eligibility and other requirements that are involved.

Source: BNA, "Bankruptcy Filings for 2015 Lowest Since 2007," Diane Davis, Feb. 4, 2016

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