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Bankruptcy rates higher in some states

Bankruptcy is an option for some Ohio consumers who are struggling under the weight of heavy debt. While filings have fallen nationwide, some parts of the country still have a high rate. Ohio is number 10 in the list of states with the highest filing rates per capita.

According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, filings for personal bankruptcy fell in 2015 to lows that haven't been seen since 2007. Across the country, the median filing rate was 226 bankruptcies for every 100,000 residents. In the areas and states with the highest rates, the median incomes were lower than the national medians in 80 percent of them. Six out of the top 10 states with the highest bankruptcy rates were all in the South, as were eight of the top 10 counties.

Tennessee led the list with 553 bankruptcies filed per 100,000 people. Alabama was close behind with 529 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents. In most of the states and counties with the highest rates, the residents also have little to protect them from creditors. Alabama and Kentucky let creditors seize almost all assets that a debtor owes without providing many exemptions.

People who are facing the threat of repossession or wage garnishments for debts that they owe may want to consider filing for protection under the bankruptcy code. When a bankruptcy case is filed, an automatic stay is issued by the bankruptcy court, which enjoins the person's creditors from engaging in any more collection activities. This injunction stays lawsuits and garnishments while the bankruptcy case is proceeding, and if the debts are discharged, the debtor will no longer be required to pay them. People may want to consult with bankruptcy attorneys in order to learn more about the process.

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