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The recent recession and employment malaise in Miami and around the U.S. has led to increased bankruptcy filings since 2007. Recently however, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, filings during the fiscal year ended September 30, 2011 indicate that total bankruptcy petitions declined by 8 percent over the same period in 2010. Individuals and households with classic consumer debt reduced their filings by 11 percent over the just ended fiscal year.

Since the U.S. financial recovery is yet to happen, a hotter economy is notthe reason for the decline. Some observers believe that many people simply cannot afford to file a bankruptcy petition. With court and attorney fees typically between $1,000 and $2,500, there may be some credibility to this opinion for those suffering severe financial problems.

As most people realize, the decision to file for bankruptcy should not be taken lightly. People should examine all of their options and learn about bankruptcy before proceeding. While bad economies generate more bankruptcies, financial disaster and bankruptcy often involves events in one’s personal life as much as economy and recession issues. Often, the workplace, financial and personal issues are all interrelated.

For those who determine bankruptcy is the best way to proceed, it is likely that they will file under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Which one is best depends on the specific circumstances of each person. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can provide the necessary guidance regarding how best to proceed.

However one decides to proceed, most would agree it is important to take charge of one’s finances.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Understanding bankruptcy,” Andrew Leckey, Nov. 25, 2011