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Bankruptcy filings on the rise in northern Ohio

Bankruptcy filings in northern Ohio are on the rise this year after seven years in decline. Individuals and families looking for a fresh financial start in the region have increased in four of the last seven months, with June and July 2017 showing troubling double-digit increases on previous year-on-year periods.

Chapter 13 bankruptcies rose especially high, with an 18 percent increase on the previous year. Chapter 7 liquidations, which lacks the repayment plan requirement that Chapter 13 filings include, dropped 1 percent over the same time. This is the largest increase in bankruptcies in northern Ohio since the height of the Great Recession in 2009.

"Something had to give," according to a Toledo bankruptcy attorney. "Consumer debt was rising, the default rate was rising, and people are starting to spend more because they're feeling more confident in their jobs."

The increase in filings may suggest a need to address debt-related problems such as wage garnishment and interest payments more than a sudden loss in financial fortunes. Newly employed people began gathering assets, which require bankruptcy protections. "When they were out of work, they didn't need us," another Ohio bankruptcy attorney opined. "Bankruptcy is not an option when you have nothing to protect."

Overall debt in the region is on the rise, with credit cards and car loans taking the lion's share of responsibility. Medical bills are also a significant creator of debt. Debt relief or restructuring can help people prevent foreclosure or asset seizure and begin to recover their lives from debt. An attorney can provide more information to those who want to find financial relief.

Source: Toledo Blade, "Bankruptcy filings rise for 3rd month in a row," Jon Chavez, Aug. 02, 2017

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