Tennessee residents might be interested in some good news about America’s financial situation. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, bankruptcy filings have hit a 10-year low. The rate of bankruptcy filings has been on a downward trend in recent years, but experts advise caution, saying that the rate of decline is actually slow and could turn around again in the near future.

An economic downturn could put bankruptcy filings up, experts say, though some are not expecting any major changes to the downward trend just yet. Both personal and business bankruptcy filings are down, though in the business sector, the retail and health industries are under financial stress, according to one law professor. Most of the filers in the one-year period ending Sept. 30, 2017 were consumers.

One type of bankruptcy did rise in the period. Chapter 12, which is a bankruptcy for family farmers and fisheries, was up from 458 to 508 filings. A university professor says that Chapter 12 remains less complex and less expensive than other types of bankruptcy filings because it was not changed by Bankruptcy Code amendments in 2005. She says that observers have considered if Chapter 12 should be expanded to other types of businesses.

There are several different types of bankruptcy. Individuals can file Chapter 11, but usually opt for either liquidation under Chapter 7 or reorganization under Chapter 13. A shared benefit is that filing puts an immediate stop to collection efforts. An attorney can describe the particular eligibility requirements for each chapter when exploring other debt relief alternatives that might be available to a client.