Of course, it is not just happening in Texas. Men and women in households around this country are facing difficult financial decisions in light of our current economy. The questions being raised around the dinner table can range from how to scale back the summer vacation plans and who is going to be responsible for clipping coupons this week to which bills can go unpaid until next month and how to let your youngest child know that the plans to attend her dream college needs to be put on hold. What are the options available to an individual or a family that needs to see some improvement in their financial standing or else face dire consequences?
In an effort to avoid a home foreclosure, many people try to sell their homes and look for a new place to live with a lower rent or mortgage payment. But, with today’s housing market, properties can have “For Sale” signs planted in their front yards for months before an interested buyer is found. More and more debtors are turning to debt consolidation services, which promise on those daytime and late-night television ads to lower your monthly payments into one manageable fee. However, what if your situation is so desperate that these options Debt Consolidation Texas will not be enough to ease your burden? As Texan debtors and others throughout the United States are deciding, filing for bankruptcy protection may be the best option in these troubling economic times.
The recent numbers concerning bankruptcy in our state show what is increasingly becoming a harsh reality for our fellow Texans, particularly in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. Just in the first few months of 2009, court records indicate that approximately 2,672 bankruptcy cases have been filed in Houston. This number shows a 6.2% increase over the 2,515 cases that were filed during the same time period last year. The jump in filings in some of our other major cities is even more startling. In San Antonio, the bankruptcy filings for the first three months of 2009 totaled 1,127, which is a 22.5% increase from the 920 such filings, which occurred between January and March of 2008.
And, the numbers indicate that those living in our state capitol in Austin are also trying to relieve themselves of some of their overwhelming financial burdens. Bankruptcy filings of all types in the Austin area totaled just over 800 in the first quarter of 2009, which is up 25% from the same period last year. Despite data that shows more Texans are struggling to maintain their personal financial standing, our state is still faring better that most others in the country. Last year, Texas ranked forty-sixth in the nation in bankruptcies, even better than our 2007 ranking which placed us at number thirty-nine. Of course, this relatively good news does nothing to lessen the pain of each individual who is facing bankruptcy.
For those who are considering the option of declaring bankruptcy, you should be aware of the state and federal laws that affect such filings in Texas. There are two options available to individuals-Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7, the most common approach, is considered straightforward liquidation bankruptcy in which your non-exempt assets are handed over to a trustee appointed by the court and then converted into cash to pay your creditors. In reality, most people who file Ch. 7 have no non-exempt assets to sell and the Ch 7 bankruptcy filing essentially becomes a fresh start for their finances. The federal bankruptcy laws in Texas have deemed it so you can determine if you want to use the federal exemption statutes or the Texas statutes when cataloging the assets that creditors are not allowed to touch.