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Ohio bankruptcies down, not necessarily less debt

Personal bankruptcies are down this year across the state of Ohio. Many experts, however, say that the decline in Ohio bankruptcy cases does not necessarily meant that many Ohio residents are not suffering from financial distress. Some experts suggest that many Ohio residents are relying on credit card debt to make ends meet.

The number of consumer bankruptcy cases filed across the state of Ohio fell by nearly 7,000 in the 12-month period ending June 30 when compared to the same time period one-year earlier, according the figures from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The latest tally shows that 63,771 Ohio residents sought consumer bankruptcy protection between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2011. That number compares to 70, 891 personal bankruptcy cases in Ohio one-year earlier.

One expert, Robert Lawless--a law professor at the University of Illinois college of law, explains that consumer credit has been relatively freely available in the U.S. over the last year. He says people often turn to credit card debt when it is readily available to buy daily necessities, like groceries. Consumers seek to avoid bankruptcy by floating the debt in the hopes they will be in a position to dig their way out of debt down the road.

While bankruptcy cases filed in Ohio dropped 10 percent over the past year, the top three reasons that Ohio residents filed for bankruptcy remained the same. Experts say the top three reasons people file bankruptcy are unemployment, medical debt and divorce.

Cincinnati residents suffering from unwieldy debt should consider speaking with a seasoned bankruptcy attorney to learn what options may be available under the bankruptcy code to find a fresh financial start.

Source: Dayton Daily News, "Ohio bankruptcies down, but economy not improving," Oct. 15, 2011

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