If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you are already having trouble paying your debts, so the last thing you need is attorney fees that are unaffordable. However, trying to avoid fees by filing bankruptcy on your own may cost you. Between filing and court fees and the possibility of making mistakes that will void your bankruptcy altogether, you may save nothing. You could wind up actually paying more or even have your bankruptcy end without having your debts discharged.
To avoid mistakes, it’s best to have the guidance of an experienced and affordable Ohio bankruptcy attorney. The skilled and seasoned Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that financial problems can happen to even the most well-intentioned people. We believe that attorney fees should take into consideration an individual’s circumstances and be reasonable enough to prevent debtors from sinking deeper into debt. We offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial situation and determine which debt-relief solutions and payment plans will work best for you.
Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation.
Bankruptcy in Ohio
When you file for bankruptcy, you do so to eliminate or restructure certain debts while under the protection of the federal bankruptcy court. The more complex your bankruptcy situation, the more you need the help of an attorney.
The most common types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is over quickly and allows you to eliminate many types of unsecured debt, such as medical bills and credit cards. It requires that you liquidate your assets, except for those that are exempt. However, there are Ohio exemptions that may allow you to keep much of your property, which may include cars, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize assets and consolidate your payments to avoid fees and fines and repay some or all of your debt affordably over a three- to five-year period. Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you repay a portion of your unsecured debts, and you may be able to save your home from foreclosure and vehicle from repossession. A trustee distributes money to your creditors so you no longer have to deal with them. If you successfully complete the court-approved payment plan, the debts covered by the plan are discharged and you can keep most assets. Also, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to pay all or a portion of your attorney fees through the repayment plan.
Once you file, both types of bankruptcy provide protection from your creditors. The filing of a bankruptcy case provides an automatic stay that prohibits most creditors from collection activity such as harassing phone calls, lawsuits, garnishments, repossessions, and foreclosures.
Why You Should Have an Attorney’s Help
Ohio and federal bankruptcy laws are complex, and even the simplest Chapter 7 cases require completing extensive forms, researching exemption laws, and following all local court rules. If you try filing for bankruptcy yourself and fail to comply with Ohio bankruptcy requirements, you risk losing your nonexempt assets or having your bankruptcy case dismissed without discharging your debts.
Here are some common reasons bankruptcy is dismissed:
- Not completing the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling class within the 180 days before your bankruptcy filing or not filing a certificate of completion with the court.
- Not filing required bankruptcy forms with the Ohio bankruptcy court.
- Not paying court filing fees to start a bankruptcy case or getting court approval for a fee waiver or an installment plan.
- Not providing requested documents such as tax returns, pay stubs and mortgage statements within the specified timeframes.
- Not appearing at the creditors’ meeting before the bankruptcy trustee.
- Not making your Chapter 13 plan payments on time or not making alternative arrangements with the bankruptcy trustee to catch up.
- Not obeying Court orders.
Should I Hire the Least Expensive Attorney?
The saying, “you get what you pay for” can apply to attorney fees as well. The complexity of bankruptcy law requires an experienced bankruptcy attorney to anticipate, identify, and avoid potential problems that can result in having to spend thousands of dollars later to fix mistakes.
Attorneys who charge rock-bottom prices may have to sacrifice the quality of representation. Some may give you an inexpensive starting price and then hit you with additional fees for everything that comes up. It makes sense to select an attorney who is affordable, but who doesn’t cut corners or hand off your case to a paralegal or petition preparer. Your attorney should be the primary person working on your case, be available to you for questions, and explain the bankruptcy process to you, including all costs and fees.
Contact us for Help and Guidance
The experienced Ohio debt-relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer know that bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, but you need to be able to afford it. Proper legal assistance from our compassionate attorneys can help ensure that you avoid problems and that you actually wind up saving money in the long run.
We recognize that everyone’s individual situation is different, so we offer a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION. During your consultation, we will evaluate your entire financial situation and make sure you are aware of all your options and costs. We will examine your income, your debts and your goals and help you find the best and most affordable path to a brighter financial future.
Delaying can only make your situation worse, so take control of your financial future and learn more about how our firm can be of assistance today. Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what solutions will work best for you.