Personal Bankruptcy In Columbus

If you’re living in Franklin County or surrounding counties near Columbus, Ohio and you find yourself overwhelmed with debt, harassed by creditors, and considering bankruptcy as an option, what do you do? How do you even know if bankruptcy is right for you? Can you do it on your own, or should you have legal assistance?
Filing for bankruptcy yourself may save you money, but you need to do it properly as mistakes can cost far more than you save. Even if you do it yourself, there are fees for:

  • mandatory pre-filing credit counseling
  • court filing fees
  • mandatory debt management ‘education’
  • advice and information to help you decide whether to file
  • preparing your forms for filing, making the required number of copies, and assembling them in the proper order
  • other court procedures that may be required or beneficial.

In any case, it pays to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer who knows the intricacies of the courts, the judges, and the system. The skilled and seasoned Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand what you are going through and offer a free consultation to evaluate your financial situation and come up with a plan that is best for you.

Know What Is Involved Before Filing

To start, you need to understand what bankruptcy is and know if you qualify. An experienced Ohio Bankruptcy Attorney can assist you in deciding if you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If your average monthly income for the past six months is below the Ohio median for your size household, you meet the requirements (section 707(b)(2)) to qualify for Chapter 7. For example, for a 4-person household, the median in 2015 was $6,582 per month.

Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy, and it will eliminate most or all debts, but you can use it only once every eight years. It’s quick — over in a few months, so you can begin rebuilding credit. There are exemptions (Exemption Laws of Ohio) listing types of property that can protect your property but it is advisable to consult with an attorney to confirm that your particular property is protected. Exemptions can include clothing, cars, equipment used for work (like tools) and household furnishings.

If you are not eligible for Chapter 7, filing for Chapter 13 is an option. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can consolidate payments to repay some or all of your debt affordably over a three- to five-year period. This plan is best for those who don’t qualify for Chapter 7, who want to keep an asset that they are behind on or have equity in an asset that they want to protect. Harassing calls and letters from creditors stop, and once you successfully complete the payment plan, dischargeable debts covered by the plan are discharged.

Be aware that exemption laws do not protect all property, a bankruptcy filing does not discharge all types of debts, and there are different classes of creditors that may be able to seize your property. The attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand each of these distinctions and can provide the best legal advice to protect your assets and provide financial freedom

Where to File For Bankruptcy

If you have lived in Franklin County or the surrounding counties for the better part of 180 days you are eligible to file at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Ohio Columbus Divisional Office 170 North High Street Columbus, Ohio 43215, (614) 469-6638. If you’ve moved recently, you may have to file at the court for your old zip code. Check http://www.ohsb.uscourts.gov for updates.

What You Need To Do
In preparing for bankruptcy, you will need to:

  • Gather financial paperwork and run the means test calculator to gauge your bankruptcy options.
  • Determine how much of your property is exempt.
  • Attend mandatory pre-filing credit counseling.
  • Prepare and assemble your bankruptcy papers. There are 50+ pages of forms detailing current debts, assets, income, and expenses, and your intentions regarding loans secured by collateral.
  • Make copies of forms and assemble them according to local court rules.
  • File forms with the court.
  • Pay the required filing fee.
  • Meet with the bankruptcy court trustee and Creditors (341 Meeting). At this meeting, the trustee can ask you questions about the information on your forms. Creditors can ask questions and object to or challenge exemptions you are claiming.
  • File motions to eliminate liens and respond to objections from creditors.
  • Attend mandatory pre-discharge Credit Education session. (Credit Counselors are approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office for use in the Ohio Southern District Bankruptcy Court.)

Because the process is so complicated, it makes sense to take advantage of our free consultation offer. Contact the experienced and compassionate Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer for help, information, and support through this process. We will evaluate your entire financial situation, discuss your options, and help you decide on the path to a brighter future that makes sense in your individual case.
Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email today to set up your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.

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