Bankruptcy Attorney in Columbus
As you become deeper and deeper in debt, you may wonder when the time has come to call a bankruptcy attorney in Columbus.
Being in debt can cause problems in all areas of your life, from being less productive at work to having money arguments at home that lead to divorce and family breakdown.
Adding to the stress is the accompanying harassment by creditors and the fear of repossession of your property and foreclosure on your home.
Often people in debt are already having financial difficulty and may then be hit with additional problems such as losing a job, facing uninsured medical expenses, or divorce. Debts mount up, and harassment by creditors becomes overwhelming. If this is your situation, be aware that bankruptcy is a way to eliminate many debts and get a “fresh start” for individuals who are struggling with debts that have taken over their financial life. A Columbus bankruptcy lawyer from Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer can help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for you. We offer a free consultation to examine your individual needs, so contact us online or call our offices today at 614-228-4435.
Bankruptcy Help in Columbus
Know What Is Involved Before Filing Bankruptcy in Columbus
To start, you need to understand what bankruptcy is and know whether you qualify. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Columbus can assist you in deciding whether you qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Ohio requires passing a “means test” in order to qualify for Chapter 7. 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 apply for Chapter 7.
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) 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 who have equity in an asset that they want to protect. Once you file for Chapter 13, harassing calls and letters from creditors stop; and once you successfully complete the payment plan, qualifying 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 affordable bankruptcy 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.
Should You Call a Columbus Bankruptcy Lawyer?
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 that 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:
Every situation is different; but in any case, it pays to consult with an affordable bankruptcy lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, who knows the intricacies of the courts, the judges, and the system. The skilled and seasoned 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 debt relief plan that is best for you.
What You Need to Do Before Filing for Bankruptcy
In preparing for bankruptcy, you will need to:
- Gather financial paperwork and run the means test calculator to determine your bankruptcy options.
- Determine how much of your property is exempt.
- Complete 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.
- Complete mandatory pre-discharge Financial Management course. (Credit counselors are approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office for use in the Ohio Southern District Bankruptcy Court.)
Low-Cost Bankruptcy Filing
It only makes sense that anyone who needs to file for bankruptcy would want to keep their costs as low as possible. Hiring an affordable bankruptcy lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, can be a wise investment and even wind up saving you money, as well as removing stress and aggravation and uncertainty about doing something wrong or missing deadlines. Making mistakes and filing for bankruptcy improperly can result in costly delays and the need for additional paperwork and documentation, having your case dismissed without having your debts eliminated, or even being accused of fraud.
Your attorney fees will depend on your individual situation and the simplicity or complexity of your case. If you are filing for Chapter 7 and you can protect your assets using the allowed Ohio exemptions in a no-asset case, your fees will be lower than for Chapter 13 and for cases with more assets and complications.
The affordable bankruptcy lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer strive not only to keep our fees low, but, if necessary, to work with you to arrange affordable plans for payment prior to filing. And we make sure everything is done correctly so that there will be no delays in getting you the debt relief you need.
Our trusted Columbus bankruptcy attorneys will ensure you are prepared to file, by guiding you through these necessary steps.
What Makes a Good Columbus Bankruptcy Lawyer?
Good attorneys should be experienced and knowledgeable in the law and their field, but also be someone you can relate to and feel comfortable with. Your attorney should answer your questions and concerns, inspire confidence, provide advice and assistance and show you the best way to proceed to a fresh financial start.
Your attorney should give you a personalized case evaluation and counsel regarding your debt relief options, including Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 debt reorganization, debt settlement negotiations with creditors, and foreclosure defense for mortgage holders. Your attorney should handle your individualized situation professionally and uniquely and begin implementing solutions without delay.
When you are choosing a bankruptcy lawyer in Columbus, Ohio, it is a good idea to consider the following:
Experience – How long have they been in practice, how many bankruptcy cases have they filed, and do they specialize in bankruptcy, debt relief, and related matters?
Personalized Attention – Will you be able to personally meet with the attorney who will be handling your case and will you be able to contact them directly if you have any questions?
Affordability – Will they be able to structure fee payments that you can manage?
Your Columbus bankruptcy lawyer should be skilled, experienced, compassionate, understanding, and competent, as well as affordable.
Four Reasons Why You Need a Columbus Bankruptcy Lawyer
Avoid Unexpected Costs
If you try to save money by filing bankruptcy on your own, it can actually cost you more in the long run. The Columbus bankruptcy lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer will make sure you don’t wind up with unexpected and unnecessary costs because you made mistakes. For example, people often make mistakes when taking the Chapter 7 means tests, such as:
- Failure to match income listed with income documentation
- Listing child support that is supposed to be paid but isn’t
- Adjusting the standard housing deduction to claim mortgage payments that you did not pay in the six months prior to filing
- Using the wrong household size by not considering whether household occupants are financially interdependent and form one economic unit
- Taking deductions that are not allowable, such as 401K, and retirement account contributions, 401K loan repayments, and college expenses for your child
- Not taking deductions that you are entitled to, such as payments made under court order, marital adjustment deductions if your spouse isn’t filing for bankruptcy together with you, and taxes and insurance that are not escrowed in your mortgage payment
- Duplicating deductions such as marital adjustment deductions
Ensure a Successful Process
The bankruptcy process is complex and mistakes can result in complications that can cause your discharge of debts to be denied or, even worse, be considered fraudulent and lead to criminal charges.
Receive Trusted Advice
A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney understands the distinctions between the various types of bankruptcy and can provide the best legal advice to help you decide which is the best way to protect your assets and get back on the road to financial freedom.
They Work for You
Your attorney can make sure everything is filed correctly and your fees are paid in a timely manner, appear in court on your behalf, file motions to eliminate liens and respond to objections from creditors.
Since the initial consultation is free, it pays to make an appointment with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to determine what options are best for you. Call today at 614-228-4435.
How Much Does a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Columbus Cost?
Attorney fees vary, based on factors such as how complicated your case is and which chapter you are filing under. Attorneys typically charge more to handle Chapter 13 cases, which are more complex than that filed under Chapter 7. Attorneys also charge more if there are special issues that require spending more time to resolve. Many bankruptcy lawyers in Columbus offer free consultations, and during your consultation they should explain what the fees are and give you an exact fee quote.
Where to File for Bankruptcy in Columbus
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 for the Southern District of Ohio:
Columbus Divisional Office,
170 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215
If you’ve moved recently, you may have to file at the court for your old zip code. Check the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Ohio for updates.
How We Can Help
The skilled, seasoned, and affordable Columbus bankruptcy lawyers at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that even the most well-intentioned people can find themselves in financial trouble. However, if you are at the point where you can’t meet your bills and find yourself drowning in debt, we can guide you through a correctly filed bankruptcy that can eliminate many debts, provide protection from creditors, and give you a fresh financial start.
Our compassionate attorneys know what you are going through and have helped many people in similar situations. A bankruptcy attorney in our Columbus, Ohio, office will provide a free consultation to evaluate your individual situation and make sure you avoid costly problems before, during, and after your bankruptcy.
We understand that those struggling to deal with debt cannot afford to be burdened with large attorney fees, so we make our services as affordable as possible. By efficiently analyzing your situation and your options, we can prevent you from making mistakes that can wind up costing you more in the long run.
Talk to a Bankruptcy Attorney in Columbus and Relieve Your Stress
Because the process is so complicated, it makes sense to take advantage of our free consultation offer. Contact the experienced and compassionate Columbus 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 our office today at 614-228-4435 to set up your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.