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file bankruptcy, circuit courts, personal, bankruptcy laws, should i file, how do i file bankruptcy, chapter 7, chaper 11, chapter 13, personal bankruptcy, debt reduction, debt relief, filing, personal bankruptcy, bankruptcy laws, file for relief, automatic stay, conversion, cramdown, discharge, wage earners plan, liquidation, exemption, voluntary, involuntary, secured debt, unsecured debt, debt consolidation, file for relief
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News Release, March 1, 2005

Bankruptcy Filings Drop in Calendar Year 2004


Bankruptcy filings in the federal courts dropped nearly 4 percent in calendar year 2004, according to data released today by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Total bankruptcies filed in the twelve-month period ending December 31, 2004, totaled 1,597,462, down 3.8 percent from the 1,660,245 petitions filed in the 12-month period ending December 31, 2003. Despite the decline for 2004, total filings still exceed the 1.5 million bankruptcies first reported in 2002. 

New Bankruptcy Judgeships Requested

 The Judicial Conference of the United States has recommended to Congress that 47 bankruptcy judgeships be created in 31 judicial districts. The last bankruptcy judgeships were authorized in 1992. Since that time, the total number of bankruptcy filings has crossed the one-million mark; they have totaled over 1.5 million for the last three years. The result has been a nearly two-thirds increase in the caseload of bankruptcy judges nationwide. 

Business and Non-Business Filings

The majority of bankruptcy filings are non-business filings and in CY 2004, they totaled 1,563,145, a 3.8 percent decline in non-business filings from the 1,625,208 bankruptcy petitions filed in CY 2003. The number of business filings, totaling 34,317 in CY 2004, fell 2.1
percent from the 35,037 reported in CY 2003.

First Quarter Filings for FY 2005

The last three months of CY 2004 were the first quarter of the Judiciary’s 2005 fiscal year. The number of bankruptcies filed during the first quarter of fiscal year 2005 (October 1-December 31, 2004) was 371,668, down 5.5 percent from the 393,348 filings in the first quarter of FY 2004 (October 1-December 31, 2003).

Filings by Chapter

Of the total number of bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending December 31,  2004,Of the total number of bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending December 31,  2004, were 1,137,958 Chapter 7 filings, down 3.3 percent from the 1,176,905 Chapter 7 filings in the same period in 2003. The next largest group of filings was Chapter 13 filings at 449,129, down 5.1 percent from the 473,137 filings in CY 2003. Chapter 11 filings rose 7.7 percent to 10,132, from the 9,404 filings in CY 2003. In CY 2004, Chapter 12 filings dropped to 108 from the 712 filings reported in CY 2003.

Chapter 7 is designed to allow individuals to keep certain exempt property while the remaining property is sold to repay creditors. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, creditors may be repaid in installments, in full or in part, over a 3- to 5-year period. Chapter 11 provides for a business to continue operations while formulating a plan to repay its creditors. Chapter 12 is designed to meet the needs of financially distressed family farmers. Chapter 9 provides protection for a financially distressed municipality from its creditors while it develops and negotiates a plan for adjusting its debt.

Break down is as follows:

Stats for both business and non business filings from 2000-2004

Year Business Personal Total Chapter 7 Chapter 11 Chapter 13
2004

34,317

1,563,145

1,597,462

1,137,958

10,132 449,129
2003 35,037 1,625,208 1,660,245 1,176,905 9,404 473,137
2002 38,540 1,539,111 1,577,651 1,109,923 11,270 455,877
2001 40,099 1,452,030 1,492,129 1,054,975 11,424 425,292
2000 35,472 1,217,972 1,253,444 859,220 9,884 383,894
             


Data gleaned from: The Federal Judiciary

 

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