Consumers Seeking Bankruptcy Advice on Reaches All-Time High

Unemployment, concerns about retirement, and professional athlete bankruptcies in the news fuels increase

Seattle, Wash — Avvo, Inc., the web’s largest expert-only legal and health Q&A forum and directory, latest Avvo Legal Advisory (ALA) shows that bankruptcy is top of mind for many in the United States as questions in Avvo’s Q&A forum regarding bankruptcy, and specifically its impact on retirement, reached an all-time high. Despite research from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC) stating that U.S. personal bankruptcy filings decreased by 13% in the first half of this year, consumers asked nearly 10,000 bankruptcy-related questions on during the first half of 2012. Other findings include:

  • In May 2012, as the U.S. jobless claims rose[1] for the 4th straight week, consumers asked over 2,000 bankruptcy-related questions, the most ever reported on
  • recorded a 73% increase in the number of retirement-related bankruptcy questions in the first half of 2012 over the same period last year. Taking into account population density, residents from Arizona, California and Florida asked the most questions concerning retirement and bankruptcy in the first half of 2012.
  • The bankruptcy question with the most views in the last six months:Can I change my Chapter 13 filing to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy? has been visited almost 3,000 times.
  • Bankruptcy questions also spiked in the weeks following news coverage of former professional athletes filing for bankruptcy in 2012, including NFL running back Jamal Lewis, NBA player Dennis Rodman, MLB player Lenny Dykstra and NFL superstar Warren Sapp.


Even professional athletes aren’t immune to bankruptcy. In 2009, Sports Illustrated estimated that nearly 80 percent of NFL players go bankrupt or face serious financial stress within two years of ending their playing careers, and that 60 percent of NBA players are broke within five years of retiring from the game.

“Anyone who has experienced a significant income reduction—even professional athletes–can find themselves unable to continue paying debts—especially if they took on significant debt obligations during better times,” said Clifford Bordeaux, bankruptcy attorney with Bordeaux Law, P.C. “Although most of the changes to the bankruptcy code which were passed by congress in 2005 were not favorable to consumers, one positive change is that retirement assets of up to $1 million are now almost always fully protected in bankruptcy.  No one wants to file for bankruptcy, but at least those who need to consider doing so can now protect assets that they will need when they are unable to continue working. ”

The Avvo Legal Advisory (ALA) features data from Avvo’s user base and community of licensed professionals, as well as analysis of questions asked in Avvo’s Q&A forum. More information on bankruptcy can found here:

About Avvo, Inc.

Avvo provides trusted answers to consumer legal and health questions every 10 seconds. In Avvo’s free Q&A forum with more than 125,000 participating lawyers, doctors and dentists consumers can ask a lawyer or ask a medical professional questions for free. Avvo’s professional directory provides comprehensive profiles, patient and client reviews, peer endorsements and the industry-recognized Avvo Rating for more than 90 percent of doctors, dentists and lawyers in the U.S.  Avvo launched in 2007 and is privately held with funding from Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Ignition Partners.

[1] Reuters article citing US Labor Department statistics, May 31, 2012