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Toledo region sees bankruptcy increase in recent months

Ohio is used to good times and bad times, and Ohioans often have the experience of both. It was easy for Buckeyes to earn a good wage in manufacturing or agriculture for decades, while the Great Recession sucked the wind out of the region's sales after years of job losses.

Thousands of families in the Midwest have suffered from financial difficulties in the last decade, with many succumbing to debt or default on mortgages. The bankruptcy rate is one of the main indicators of distress in the money department, and parts of Ohio have seen a recent uptick in declarations.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Toledo reported a 6 percent increase in bankruptcies in March 2018. This is part of a 5 percent year-on-year increase of bankruptcies that is concerning local advocates. Ten of the last 15 months have seen an increase in filings, the largest increase since the initial effect of the Great Recession in 2009.

The main concern is that many Ohioans are being forced by circumstances to declare bankruptcy more than once. One local bankruptcy attorney theorized that "many of those we are seeing are just repeat filers, people waiting for the time limit to expire so they can file again."

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, in which a trustee generally sells off assets to pay back part or all of a person's debt, did not increase as much as Chapter 13 cases. One Ohio expert in bankruptcy noted many of the recent cases, including the repeat files, are suffering under increased medical debt.

An attorney may increase the chances of a successful bankruptcy filing and lower the odds of having to declare bankruptcy again.

Source: Toledo Blade, "Bankruptcies up in Toledo," Jon Chavez, accessed May 02, 2018

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