Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) March 13, 2013 – Bankruptcies are down in Florida.
Bankruptcy filings in South Florida plunged 19 percent in December 2012, as compared with the same month a year ago, according to recently-released federal data. Following the Great Recession, Americans may be adjusting to a new standard of living and are better able to control their spending.
Brandon bankruptcy attorney O. Reginald Osenton commented, “People seem to be getting used to a ‘new normal’ and making lasting adjustments to their spending habits. Living within lowered means is unfortunately the price many must pay to stay out of bankruptcy.”
Another factor helping keep households solvent is that interest rates on home mortgages, car loans, and even credit cards are quite low. Furthermore, as the economy’s slow recovery continues, some Floridians are finding more work.
According to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Miami, 1,812 people filed for bankruptcy in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward counties in December 2012, down from 2,235 in December 2011.
“Many Floridians are downsizing their homes or moving to less expensive areas farther from major cities,” added Mr. Osenton.
Some fortunate homeowners have had their mortgages adjusted by their lenders, allowing them to save on mortgage payments and remain in their homes. Some lenders are forgiving portions of home mortgage debt as part of a national settlement over improper foreclosures and mortgage servicing. Floridians have received over $3.6 billion in mortgage debt relief under this settlement, according to Attorney General Pam Bondi.
But O. Reginald Osenton cautioned that bankruptcies may remain elevated for some time.
“For those who remain unemployed, of course, the decline in bankruptcy filings is of little comfort,” said Mr. Osenton. “Given the lackluster economic recovery so far, I expect that bankruptcies may pick back up now that the holidays are over. Anyone who may be unable to pay their debts should seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney.”
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Brandon, Florida 33511
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