Bankruptcy in Mississippi on the rise - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Bankruptcy in Mississippi on the rise

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Bankruptcies are on the rise for families and businesses in Mississippi since the economic downturn began.

Bankruptcy attorney Michael Pond from Pond, Gadow & Tyler said in the seventeen years he's been practicing law, he's seen more cases of those filing for bankruptcy in the past year.

"Inflation is inevitable and those living on fixed incomes are going to be particularly hard hit," Pond said.

It's part of a nationwide trend that's trickled down to Mississippi. From 2007 to 2008, businesses filing for bankruptcy in the state increased over 22-percent from roughly 11,800 to nearly 14,500 this past year.

For individuals, the trends are similar. From 2007 to 2008 individuals filing for bankruptcy also increased 22 percent from roughly 11,500 to just over 14,000.

Pond says part of the problem for consumer's having to file is over use of credit cards. He says the more money people spend they don't have their like hood increases of ending up in bankruptcy court.

However, services such as the Consumer Credit Counseling is available to Jackson residents. President of the Jackson branch says in many cases their teaching people to budget for the very first time.

"For the first time in a lot of cases we teach people how to develop a budget first, so that a lot of them hopefully won't have to go down a path of filing for bankruptcy," Sherry Rainey said.

Rainey also says the recession hasn't helped for individuals and families in particular.

"Mississippi is certainly not exempt from the national crisis in terms of people being affected due to job loss, furloughs, or mandates from their companies to take a reduction in hours," Rainey said.

Meanwhile, Pond says he's just happy to help for those who find themselves on the brink of bankruptcy.

"We've become about 10-percent lawyer and 90-percent social worker," Pond said.

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