BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEYS IN CINCINNATI
If you are struggling with debt and considering filing for bankruptcy, it is crucial that you reach out to a knowledgeable attorney who can help you with this complex process. Contact The Green Law Firm today to get started.
Being in debt can have a dramatic impact on nearly every aspect of your life. Not only will you have endless phone calls from collectors trying to get paid, but you may feel mental and emotional challenges. Arguments between spouses, filing for divorce, and feeling less productive at work are just a few of the long list of consequences people experience. In many cases, people seek relief from their debts by filing bankruptcy. Although this may seem like the end of the road, it is actually the start of a new journey ahead.
For over four decades, the bankruptcy attorneys at The Green Law Firm in Cincinnati have helped numerous people start over debt-free. Our team understands that life happens and we are dedicated to helping families move forward. Filing for bankruptcy can seem overwhelming and confusing. Many people feel discouraged having to seek assistance in clearing their debts. In the end, bankruptcy allows families to receive debt relief and enjoy their lives again. If you are considering bankruptcy, contact our team as soon as possible to explore legal options available for you.
Types of Bankruptcy Filings in Ohio
Every year, more than 770,000 people file bankruptcy cases in courthouses around the United States. There are various routes for bankruptcy that people can take. Each provides them with their own unique set of benefits as well as setbacks. Generally, people in Ohio choose one of four types of bankruptcies. These include:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy filed each year. Nearly 63% of all cases filed fall under this category. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often referred to as liquidation bankruptcy. These bankruptcies are used to wipe out specific types of unsecured debt held by the debtor. Nearly 93% of filers are able to have their debts wiped out by filing under this chapter.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: This chapter of bankruptcy is typically used by large corporations and businesses in Ohio and across the United States. Chapter 11 bankruptcies provide large companies with the ability to reorganize their debts. Many large companies favor Chapter 11 Bankruptcy because they are able to continue operating and earning profits while paying down their debts. After a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is filed, the courts issue a stay on the debts to prevent creditors from trying to garnish payments or levy bank accounts from the business. This automatic stay enables the debtor to establish a repayment plan and begin paying back creditors with less risk. Chapter 11 bankruptcies make up around 1% of all bankruptcy filings annually.
Chapter 12 Bankruptcy: Chapter 12 bankruptcy is a relatively new concept. As such, it is rarely filed in Ohio. In the United States, approximately 0.05% of all bankruptcies are Chapter 12. Generally, Chapter 12 bankruptcies are filed by family farmers in the United States. This type of bankruptcy enables those plagued by poor economic conditions to take advantage of reorganization and financial relief services available to families who have farm debt. Some advantages include the use of seasonal repayment schedules that provide three to five-year low-cost payment schedules. Family farmers also utilize Chapter 12 proceedings to reorganize debts and avoid having their assets liquidated or seized.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Accounting for nearly 32% of all bankruptcies, Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides people the ability to restructure their debts rather than wiping them out or discharging them entirely. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is commonly referred to as a Wage Earner’s Bankruptcy as it allows people who have enough income to repay all or a portion of their debts rather than liquidating their assets and discharging them. Many people opt for Chapter 13 bankruptcies because it allows them to keep their assets and repay the debt at a fair price. Generally, people who choose this route to restructuring the repayment of their debts have between three and five years to resolve their debts through court-ordered payments. During this type of bankruptcy, all of their disposable income is used to pay down debts while eliminating their unsecured debts.
Working with a reputable bankruptcy attorney at The Green Law Firm will help you determine what option is best for you based on your specific needs. Contact our law firm today to schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your case.
How Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
Those who decide to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy must file actions in court. Once the procedure is initiated, the Courts automatically place a stay on all of the filer’s debts. This stops companies from making any collection attempts throughout the duration of the bankruptcy process. Once a stay is issued, all wage garnishments, foreclosure proceedings, and repossession or eviction orders will be immediately stopped. A trustee will be assigned to review your finances and determine what assets you have. The trustee is in charge of overseeing your bankruptcy proceedings and will determine what property is exempt and nonexempt.
After making this determination, the trustee will sell valuable types of nonexempt property to attempt to repay some of your creditors. The trustee will host meetings between you and your debtors and guide you through the legal process. This person will be available to answer questions for you about the procedure so you know what to expect. Generally, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy procedure can take between four and six months after filing. At the end of the six month period, the court will discharge all of your remaining debts. It is crucial to know that court fees, certain tax debts, child support, alimony, and most student loan debts are not dischargeable and will remain as outstanding debt after the bankruptcy.
How Does a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Work?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is comparable to the procedural requirements of Chapter 11 but, instead, it is available for individuals rather than companies. When a person files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they are required to submit a reorganization plan that protects their assets from being foreclosed on or repossessed. This petition typically comes with a request for forgiveness of certain debts while filers focus on paying down other debts that they have. People often choose this route because it allows them to keep their assets rather than forcing them to liquidate.
The process of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy includes filing a petition to the court. The petitioner will need to provide a complete list of all of their creditors and the amounts owed to each creditor. Disclosure of the amount of all incomes of the petitioner, and their sources, are necessary to determine if they have the financial ability to pay off their arranged debts. The court will need a list of all the debtor’s property and an accounting that shows all contracts and leases in their name. Debtors will need to submit a form that shows their income and monthly living expenses as well as tax information.
The debtor will need to propose a repayment plan and present it to the trustee and judge for approval. The petitioner will be given a court date where they will appear before a judge for an interview. The judge and trustee will be able to ask questions regarding any of the documents provided by the petitioner as well as questions regarding their income and ability to pay their proposed debt plan. They will be able to confirm any information provided and ask for clarification on any information that is not clear to them. Like Chapter 7 bankruptcies, those who file Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases will have to work with a trustee who is in charge of distributing payments to all of the creditors.
What Property Is Exempt in Ohio?
There are various types of property that are exempt from bankruptcy proceedings in Ohio. This provides some security to you and ensures that you do not lose all of your possessions by filing a bankruptcy. Properties that are considered exempt in an Ohio bankruptcy include, but are not limited to:
- The value of your home up to $136,925
- Up to $475 in cash, savings, tax refunds, money owed, or HSAs
- Up to $3,775 for the value of your vehicle
- Up to $12,625 in household items (appliances, furniture, etc. with single items valued below $600 each)
- Up to $1,600 in jewelry
- Up to $2,400 in tools and equipment for work
- Wages that are more than 130 times the federal minimum hourly wages or 75% of disposable weekly earnings
- Up to $1,250 in wildcard property
Various types of income are exempt from bankruptcy in their entirety. These include:
- Unemployment compensation
- Disability benefits
- Veteran’s benefits
- Public assistance
- Workers’ Compensation benefits
- Ohio Works First (OWF)
- Child support/alimony
- Disability Assistance (DFA) benefits from the Ohio Dept. of Human Services
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Black lung benefits
- Earned income or child tax credits
- Crime victims’ compensation benefits from the previous 12-month period
- Social Security retirement
- Tax-exempt retirement accounts
- IRAs/Roth IRAs
- Pension for public officials and school workers
Working with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney at The Green Law Firm will ensure your legal rights are protected throughout your bankruptcy proceedings. Contact our law firm in Cincinnati as soon as possible to see how we can help you.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Although each type of bankruptcy provides debtors with the ability to reduce their debts, each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Chapter 7 bankruptcy forces debtors to liquidate all of their assets to repay creditors. The process is generally quick and allows debtors to keep most of their wages and a portion of their property while wiping out their debts. Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy enables filers to stall foreclosure procedures regarding their homes, the stay is only temporary. Once the case is closed, mortgage liens can be collected. Furthermore, cosigners are still obligated to pay.
Chapter 13 bankruptcies are desirable because they enable filers to keep their property while extending the time in which they have to repay their debts. Some debts are able to be forgiven without the forfeiture of property. Chapter 13 filings also provide protection to cosigners against collection efforts because they remove them from the debts and force the filer to pay the debt alone. Although this type of bankruptcy comes with numerous benefits, the filing comes with substantially higher legal fees than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The obligation to repay debts can sometimes last for years, where Chapter 7 bankruptcies close within months.
It is important to evaluate your assets, income, and debts before determining what type of bankruptcy will best suit your needs. Knowing the benefits and setbacks of each type of filing can help you to commit to the route that will help you clear your debt and move forward with peace of mind. Contact our bankruptcy attorneys in Cincinnati for more information and to schedule a free case evaluation.
The Green Law Firm Can Help You
Going through bankruptcy can be a challenging time for you and your family. The emotional, mental, and financial consequences are often unbearable. It is crucial that you understand that you are not alone and the process of filing bankruptcy is not a means to an end. Instead, filing bankruptcy provides you and your family with the financial freedom you need to move on, debt-free, and rebuild your life. Our bankruptcy attorneys in Cincinnati are available to help guide you through every step of the way and ensure your legal rights and best interests are protected.
We at The Green Law Firm have decades of experience helping to educate people throughout Hamilton County who seek information and guidance when it comes to filing bankruptcy. We can meet at your earliest convenience to review the circumstances surrounding your case and determine the best legal approach. If you are interested in seeing how bankruptcy can help you start over, contact our bankruptcy attorneys at The Green Law Firm in Cincinnati by calling (513) 769-0840. Schedule a free case evaluation at your earliest convenience to see what legal options are available for you.