Gregory Starkey, Attorney at Law

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Number three ranking for Alabama bankruptcy

In the midst of our current tax season, finances are at the forefront of most people's minds. Whether they owe the government or are in line to receive a hefty refund, many families are concerned with their bottom line. Though the economy may be turning around, according to some residents, many folks are struggling to keep afloat and stave on bankruptcy.

A recent report by the American Bankruptcy Institute on the first financial quarter of the year reveals that many people are still having difficulty balancing their books. According to the study, Alabama had the third highest per capita bankruptcy filing rate during that time period. With 5.71 bankruptcy filings per 1,000 filings, the state only trails Georgia with 5.77 and Tennessee with 6.77 in the rankings.

Though the number of people filing for bankruptcy in Alabama remains high, national numbers have dropped. Fillings for individual bankruptcy have fallen 16% since the first quarter of last year. The Executive Director of the American Bankruptcy Institute predicts this down-sloping trend will continue into the future.

But right now, many folks in Alabama face the difficult situation of filing for bankruptcy. Whether due to credit card debt, unpaid bills or a change in employment, bankruptcy is the only option for many. Fortunately, the legal system and skilled professionals can help people navigate their way through bankruptcy and regain financial stability.

Sometimes bankruptcy can wipe away a person's debt, though that usually means forfeiting some personal property. Other times, a manageable system of monthly payments can be worked out. It should be known that bankruptcy might not be the best option for some people, but working with trained professionals can help discover the best course of action.

For many residents in Alabama, bankruptcy is an uncomfortable but ultimately helpful way out of these difficult economic times. It is not the only option to consider, but it is certainly an option that should be evaluated in these types of situations.

Source: Birmingham Business Journal, "Alabama has third highest per capita bankruptcy filing rate," Antrenise Cole, April 8, 2013

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