The number of consumer bankruptcies filed in April increased 36 percent from a year earlier, reports the American Bankruptcy Institute today.

A total of 125,618 filings were made in April, up from 121,413 in March. That’s a 3.5 percent increase. More than a quarter (26 percent) of filings were Chapter 13, which may allow consumers to work out a payment plan and keep their homes.

“The filings reveal that American families are continuing to seek relief from the financial pressures of today’s economy,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “The April total is in line with our estimate of more than 1.4 million consumer cases to be filed in 2009.”

If you think you may be facing bankruptcy, you should first contact a non-profit credit counselor. Try the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at

May 4, 2009