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Florida bankruptcy case filings may increase again

The mortgage crisis of 2008 and the recession and flood of defaults and foreclosures that resulted have left a great deal of wreckage across the landscape in Florida. And nowhere is that damage more obvious than in bankruptcy court.

That economic crisis triggered by the real estate bubble has left a backlog of cases in the bankruptcy courts, as they deal with the individual debtors and their creditors on a one-by-one basis. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida reports that they currently are carrying 68,000 cases.

The court has seen a 20 percent drop in new filings in the last 12 months, which is the lowest level in four years, according to a news article in the Tampa Bay Times.

While the number of cases coming in has decreased, the backlog will still take years to work through. In addition to the crush of cases over the last four years, part of the problem is courts that have had to deal with reduced staffs and budget freezes that eliminate any chance of increasing capacity.

A bankruptcy trustee in the article expects the number of filings to increase again, as some borrowers who received a temporary reprieve because of the “robo-signing” scandal or had been working with lenders to modify their mortgages, succumb to economic forces and turn to bankruptcy for protection.

Because of all of these challenges, if you are considering bankruptcy anywhere in Florida, speak with a bankruptcy lawyer who can examine your situation and recommend a strategy to being rebuilding your financial health.

Source: Tampa Bay Times, “Backlog of bankruptcy cases persists despite drop in filings,” Jeff Harrington, November 24, 2012

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