Changes to Bankruptcy Law in 2005 Did Not Reduce Bankruptcy Filings in Maryland

As rumors of new bankruptcy restrictions began to take hold as early as 2004, many individuals believed they would no longer have the ability to turn to bankruptcy as a means of relieving financial strife. But seven years after the introduction of the new laws, statistics indicate that bankruptcy still remains a viable alternative today.

When President Bush signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act into law in April 2005, CNN Money and many other financial resources warned individuals about the upcoming new challenges to bankruptcy filings. Some even urged individuals to consider filing bankruptcy before the new law went into effect. But even before the economic downturn took hold, 2007 bankruptcy filings in Maryland alone amounted to 13,291, almost evenly split between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Without a doubt, the new laws add certain complexities to the filing process as they seek to ensure that individuals capable of repaying their debt can no longer walk away from it through liquidation. Toward that goal, they introduced a means test that analyzes the amount of dischargeable debt and the income of the filer. But even if some individuals no longer qualify to file for liquidation through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they can typically turn to Chapter 13 bankruptcy to restructure the terms of their loans to make repayment affordable. The law also instituted bankruptcy counseling and financial training requirements designed to help filers obtain the knowledge they need to prevent future debt issues.

Navigating the new regulations and determining if bankruptcy presents the most appropriate debt relief option requires a bankruptcy attorney with the skills and experience to assess your unique circumstances. Contact the Maryland personal injury lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. who are skilled in handling bankruptcy cases for legal advice today.