The filing rate decreased 6.5 percent in The Garden State, while nationwide, bankruptcy filings were down by almost 13 percent. By direct comparison, filings in New York were down 11.5 percent 11.8 percent in Pennsylvania. Does this mean that consumers in New Jersey are in worse financial shape than their peers in other states, or that they are smarter when dealing with money troubles?
Behind the Numbers
In terms of consumer bankruptcies, observers point to low interest rates, high legal fees and an improving economy for the decline. The falling rate has been going down steadily for the last several years.
While borrowing money to work your way out of debt – essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul – is sustainable for a few months, it is disastrous in the long term. You are still digging yourself into a hole; you just aren’t digging quite as fast as you were before. As for the legal fees, they pale in comparison to the tens of thousands of dollars that are typically discharged in a Chapter 7, and many reputable law firms are willing to consider payment plans. Plus, the money is typically a very worthwhile investment. More on that in a minute.
Finally, the improving economy may be fueling a false sense of confidence that is causing people to put off a needed filing. For example, an individual may hope that a new job or a higher wage may help reverse some financial misfortune. In this situation, that “hope” is more akin to “wishful thinking.”
If you are facing difficulties for whatever reason, you are certainly not alone. Take control of the situation by talking to a bankruptcy lawyer in Barrington.
What the Numbers Mean
The declining volume means that the trustees will scrutinize petitions even more than before. While it may be tempting to use a nonlawyer petition preparer or a do-it-yourself bankruptcy, the investment in a qualified bankruptcy lawyer is more important than ever. Only an attorney can give you solid legal advice and advocate for you in any court hearings.
Eventually, the reduced volume will mean cuts at local bankruptcy courthouses. Staff will be laid off, hours reduced and locations eliminated. If you are contemplating bankruptcy, file it now before the action becomes more of an inconvenience.
Contact John Hargrave and Associates
We have provided comprehensive counsel to individuals in and around Barrington, New Jersey, since 1977. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-759-6022 (toll free at 866-662-3191).