More N.C. Debtors Seeking Bankruptcy Help As Economy Worsens, Says Raleigh Lawyer

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Law Offices of John T. Orcutt Report Spike in Number of Bankruptcy Clients.

That filters down because when banks don't have money to lend, the home builder can't pay the carpenters and the plumber can't pay his workers because the construction loans are not coming through

The current economic turmoil has led to a spike in the percentage of North Carolina residents seeking protection from creditors, making knowledgeable legal representation more critical than ever, a leading Raleigh bankruptcy attorney says.

"If the banks can't withstand the current economic tide, how can you expect the average Joe to withstand it?" asks John T. Orcutt of the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt, a five-member firm that practices exclusively in consumer and small business bankruptcy law.

Jody Bledsoe, an associate with the firm, said that over the last two months the firm has seen the highest number of families consulting the firm since tougher bankruptcy laws took effect in 2005.

"People can't afford house payments, car payments, or they are in over their heads with credit card debt," Bledsoe said.

The rate of bankruptcy filings by North Carolina debtors, pressured by job losses and the credit crunch, has jumped to 2.39 per 1,000 residents -- up from 2.18 just a year ago and 1.98 in 2005, according to Creditcards.com, which compiled statistics from court electronic records.

Nationally, the number of filings is up 8 percent in October from the previous month, totaling 108,595 for the year. It is the first time national filings have topped 100,000 since the 2005 revisions to the federal bankruptcy laws.

Bledsoe said North Carolina residents are getting hit by the slowdown in work and jobs, spurred by the lack of credit to employers. "That filters down because when banks don't have money to lend, the home builder can't pay the carpenters and the plumber can't pay his workers because the construction loans are not coming through," he said.

Bankruptcy can be an option for families who find themselves overwhelmed by personal debt, according to Orcutt. He said bankruptcy no longer carries the stigma it once had.

"The purpose of bankruptcy is to give an honest debtor a fresh start by allowing them to restructure or get of rid of debt that can't be repaid, and to restart their lives," he said. "Debtors can also seek to restructure their loans at more favorable terms, and have some debts settled without losing their homes or cars."

About The Law Offices of John T. Orcutt

The Law Offices of John T. Orcutt is a highly regarded Raleigh, NC law firm that concentrates in consumer and small business debtor bankruptcy law. The firm's attorneys have offices in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville and Wilson. The firm is prepared to help North Carolina residents get free from the burden and stress of debt. Call the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt at 800-899-1414 or contact the firm through its Web site at http://lojto.com/ for a free case evaluation.

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