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Attorney: Filing for bankruptcy can be a viable option

Attorney: Bankruptcy filings increased 40%

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — For 34 years, Indianapolis Attorney Mark Zuckerberg helped people get out of debt. He said he’s seen a 40% increase in bankruptcy filings in his office this year compared to last year. He said he’s noticed more millennials and elderly people filing.

“People need to know that bankruptcy is not a death sentence that you can recover from it, and it’s out there to help them,” Zuckerberg said. “So, if you’re at your wits’ end and you can’t pay your bills, bankruptcy may be for you.

It’s not just in the state. Nationwide, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts found bankruptcy filings increase 16.8% in the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2023.

“I think there’s multiple reasons why they’re growing. Interest rates are high. People have lost the COVID money and mortgage companies are starting to foreclose again.”

Zuckerberg also adds that some have resorted to paying bills with their credit card. 

Zuckerberg told News 8 that he’s seen the effects of debilitating debt firsthand. People have committed suicide or divorced because of it, and he wants people to know that filing for bankruptcy is an opportunity to start over.  

Zuckerberg said there’s a misconception that people spend frivolously, run their credit cards, and then file for bankruptcy, but he said he doesn’t see a lot of that. Some of his clients are hard working people like Kate, who didn’t want to give News 8 her last name, but who wanted to tell us her story.

“We didn’t get into anything too frivolous. It was putting living expenses into our credit cards is what we shouldn’t be doing.”

Kate said she and her husband were jointly making between $80,000-$100,000 a year, but they’ve racked up nearly $85,000 in debt. As a business owner, she’s also seen her profit shrink. 

“It’s frustrating because I thought we made decent money, especially with not having children, but the more that we go on, we just couldn’t catch up to this debt,” Kate said.

Kate said filing for bankruptcy can help stop the financial bleed.

While filing for bankruptcy shows up in your credit score for 7 to 10 years depending on what type of bankruptcy you file, it also eliminates some debt or makes payments more manageable.

“you’ll be able to recover to get your credit score back usually within a year or so,” said Zuckerberg.