Millions of Americans today face difficult financial times. Total household debt is at or near record levels. A large share of credit card and home loan accounts are delinquent, and the nation's foreclosure rate is at an all-time high. Personal bankruptcies exceeded 2 million cases in 2005. After a decrease related to a new law enacted in late 2005, personal bankruptcies are on the rise again each month and exceeded 1.1 million cases in 2012. Millions more will seek the help of credit counseling.

In April 2005, President Bush signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) into law. The new law made the most important changes to the bankruptcy laws in a generation. Consumer cases were particularly affected by new requirements you must meet before you are eligible to file and receive a discharge from debts. The scope of relief is also more limited than before, as more debts will have to be repaid to creditors.

This important section of ABI World is designed to help consumers survive money problems, rebuild their credit and recover before or after bankruptcy. The information and links from this section can help you determine when bankruptcy is the appropriate choice (and what to do then) or whether alternatives to bankruptcy (such as credit counseling) are a wiser course. Please note, however, that this information is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for same. You must seek advice of competent bankruptcy counsel before deciding whether to file for bankruptcy. You may search for a certified consumer bankruptcy attorney from the American Board of Certification at

Samuel J. Gerdano
Executive Director
American Bankruptcy Institute