A total of 88,773 consumer bankruptcy filings were made in January. That’s up 34.4 percent from a year ago, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

In December 84,926 filings were made.

Of the January filings, more than 32 percent were Chapter 13 – meaning that the debtors wanted to keep some of their assets through a repayment plan.

“U.S. households are under great financial stress today; for many, bankruptcy seems to be their best option,” said Executive Director Samuel J.Gerdano. “We expect more than 1.4 million new cases filed in 2009.”

If you’re considering bankruptcy you may want to first consult with a non-profit credit counselor. You can find one at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling: http://www.nfcc.org.

Feb. 3, 2009.