Background. In April, President Bush signed into law the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Representing the most comprehensive set of reforms in more than 25 years, the Act's consumer bankruptcy provisions respond to several factors. First, the recent escalation of consumer bankruptcy filings does not appear to be just a temporary event, but part of an upward trend. In 1998, for example, bankruptcy filings exceeded one million for the first time in our nation's history. Over the past decade, the number of bankruptcy filings has nearly doubled to more than 1.6 million cases filed in fiscal year 2004. As a result, there is a growing perception that bankruptcy relief may be too readily available and is sometimes used as a first resort, rather than a last resort. Despite the view of opponents of bankruptcy reform that abuse in the system is not widespread and that most bankruptcy filings result from causes beyond debtors' control (such as family illness, job loss or disruption, or divorce) Congress concluded that reforms were necessary.