Declining number of bankruptcy filings may be due to rising costs offers important information for consumers thinking about bankruptcy

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Bankruptcy filings for March, 2012 have dropped 13 percent compared to last year, but financial experts say this decline may be due to the financial inability to file for bankruptcy.

According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, March 2012 bankruptcy filings totaled 1,367,006, a 13 percent decline from March 2011”s 1,571,183 bankruptcy cases. However, the cost of filing for bankruptcy has risen in recent years as result of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act.The act was implemented in 2005 to reduce the number of bankruptcies by increasing the requirements of the filing process. This includes additional paperwork, debtor education and credit counseling.

Anywhere between 200,000 and one million consumers each year are unable to file for bankruptcy due to financial instability and rising costs, according to a recent research by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

But many consumers are unfamiliar with the hidden fees associated with bankruptcy. In addition to paying for the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition, there is also an attorney fee and even a counseling fee. These fees accumulate and it can cost almost $2,000 to file for bankruptcy. The best way to deal with bankruptcy is to know the facts. Consolidated Credit has gathered important details about the bankruptcy filing process for consumers who are in serious debt.

Know the types. The most common types of consumer bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 means all your assets go straight into liquidation and you no longer owe your debtors. Chapter 13 allows you to keep your assets, like a house or car, while you enroll in a payment program over a three to five year period. Find the right attorney. It’s important to find an experienced lawyer at the best price. The initial attorney meeting is generally free. Before signing a contract with an attorney, make sure to meet with several different ones. It’s crucial to pick an attorney who has worked with bankruptcies in the past and understands your current financial situation.

Credit Consolidation. By enrolling in programs like the ones offered by you may be able to pay back your debts faster than you think. Certified financial counselors can enroll you in a debt management program after analyzing your budget. Then, they’ll work with creditors to reduce your payments and interest rates.

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