Bankruptcy filings have been on the decline for the past few years, but financial experts say that the pattern could reverse this year as the economy continues making slow improvements. Yes, you read that right: An improved economy can actually result in more people filing for bankruptcy.

That’s because with a high unemployment rate, many people get by on their unemployment benefits only. But when people begin finding jobs, they have more to protect by filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy helps people get out of debt, but it also helps protect earnings.

Another factor that could result in more Americans filing for bankruptcy is the loosening credit market. At the height of the recession, banks and lenders became very restrictive with loans, but that is slowly changing. As more credit becomes available, additional people will get in over their heads and turn to bankruptcy for help.

One bankruptcy lawyer went to far as to describe a possible “volcanic explosion” of bankruptcies looming in 2014. He said as people secure jobs and start making big purchases again a steep rise in bankruptcy filings will result. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be especially common, he predicted.

Many people choose to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy after they are denied a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, for some people, Chapter 13 is actually a better choice and long-term solution. Not only does Chapter 13 provide immediate debt relief, it can also allow filers to keep important assets such as a retirement account, vehicle and home.

If you are one of the many Americans who are expected to file for bankruptcy protection in 2014, make sure to do it the right way by contacting an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area.

Source: WBIR, “Bankruptcy decline could reverse amid better jobs picture,”Jamie McGee, Jan. 13, 2014