News 12 This Morning, January 14, 2009
NORTH AUGUSTA---It's been a rough several months with the economy. Just about every day we report on layoffs. And as those layoffs pile up, so does the workload for others.
But one industry is booming as this recession grows.
No doubt the economy has put a strain on many of us and on local businesses. It's putting a lot of families on the brink of financial disaster. And that is keeping bankruptcy attorneys extra busy.
Chip Prince of North Augusta is thankful to have a job, especially right now.
Chip has a relative who recently lost their job because of the economy.
"It's hard to bounce back," he said. "It's hard to get back to a normal life."
That relative had to file for bankruptcy.
"It will haunt them for ten years, and they still will pay it back eventually," Chip said.
As times keep getting tougher, bankruptcy attorneys like Todd Boudreaux are getting busier. Boudreaux says since September, his clients have doubled. He gets ten new clients every week and say a majority of the people who file for bankruptcy have lost their jobs.
"What the bankruptcy does is allow those individuals or those businesses to stay a part of the economy," Boudreaux explained. "If we didn't have a bankruptcy system, where people could discharge their debts and move on, their only alternative is to basically drop out of the economy."
Because spending is down and customer traffic has changed, some have no other choice but to start over.
Boudreaux says bankruptcy is the last resort to catch up on things that are past due, like your car payment, mortgage, credit cards, or other loan payments that have fallen behind.
"What we're seeing now though is job loss, or reduction in hours is probably the primary factor that is causing people to have to come see us."
Bankruptcy attorney Zane Leiden says nationwide, bankruptcy filings are up 30 to 30% from this time last year. He says the trends now don't suggest the number will decline anytime soon.
That's why it's so important to get help early, so your financial problems don't get out of hand.
Not all clients file bankruptcy. A lot of people will get help early from a bankruptcy attorney when they start to have problems, either with their business or at home.
If you get help early enough, there are options besides bankruptcy, like credit counseling.