[Mr. Rubin was recently interviewed by a reporter from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The caption of this post is the title of the newspaper article.]
By Donna Gehrke-White, Sun Sentinel
5:11 p.m. EST, January 21, 2014
Bankruptcy filings in South Florida have dropped more than a third since they peaked in 2010, according to new data from U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Florida.
New cases in Palm Beach County dropped 16 percent from a year ago and 34 percent from December 2010’s high of 470. Last month, 312 cases were filed.
In Broward, new cases last month dropped by only one from a year ago, to 523 filings — but they declined 37 percent from the high of 2010, when 828 cases were filed.
“The economy is getting better,” said Boca Raton attorney Steven Rubin, with more people able to pay their bills.
Home values have surged in South Florida, allowing more people to avoid bankruptcy: They’ve been able to refinance mortgages on homes that once were worth less than the owners owed, said Lake Worth attorney Norman Schroeder.
More people are seeking loan modifications before they file for bankruptcy, he added.
That’s because many mortgage holders are more open to making changes that will keep struggling families in their homes, Rubin said.
“A lot of bankruptcies are driven by foreclosures, and more creditors are working on loan modifications rather than forcing people to file for bankruptcy,” he said.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court here adopted an Orlando program in which creditors and debtors go into mediation to try to find ways for people to pay their mortgages. Interest rates have been reduced in some cases; creditors have lowered the amount people owe on their homes in others, said Fort Lauderdale attorney Jonathan Leiderman, who represents clients in both Broward and Palm Beach counties. In some cases, banks have agreed to short sales with families giving up homes they can’t afford, he said.
“Several of my clients have had positive outcomes,” Leiderman said.
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