What is Chapter 13?
When you are struggling with mounting debt and find yourself being harassed by creditors and faced with losing your home and vehicle, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide the relief you need.
Often called a “wage earner’s plan,” Chapter 13 is a consumer debt reorganization that enables debtors to repay financial obligations affordably and in one monthly payment over a three- to five-year period. Chapter 13 is an option that is available to help take the control back from your creditors that are foreclosing on your home or repossessing your vehicle that you want to keep. Chapter 13 allows you to repay a portion of your debt through a court-approved repayment plan that you can afford. Once you successfully complete the repayment plan, the remaining eligible debt is discharged. You will also get relief from harassment by creditors, who must stop all collection activity during the term of repayment.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often the best choice for homeowners with more equity in secured assets than they can protect with their Ohio bankruptcy exemptions and who wish to keep these assets, or for people whose income is too high to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must have a regular source of income and have some disposable income to apply toward your Chapter 13 payment plan.
Is Chapter 13 right for you and are you eligible? A free consultation with an experienced and compassionate Ohio bankruptcy attorney at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer can help you decide. Call us today at one of our conveniently located Ohio offices at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati)
Why Choose Our Ohio Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers?
Our Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Makes a Difference
Bankruptcy is a complicated process, with federal and Ohio laws that need to be considered, so working with a knowledgeable attorney helps prevent mistakes that can keep your debts from being discharged and make your situation worse. There are many attorneys out there, so look for one you feel comfortable with and who has the experience and track record necessary to see you through your bankruptcy successfully. Here are some reasons why we believe you should choose our FCW Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers:
- We are experienced – Founding attorney Tom Fesenmyer has been practicing law since 2001 and has personally filed several thousand cases to help people get out of financial difficulty. Our firm focuses solely on bankruptcy, debt relief, and related matters.
- We are affordable. We understand that you are already having financial problems, so we strive not only to keep our fees low, but, if necessary, to work with you to arrange affordable plans for payment prior to filing. 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.
- We are compassionate. Our attorneys show deep compassion and respect for our clients, and we understand that even the most responsible and hardworking individuals can find themselves in debt despite their best efforts.
- We know how to negotiate with your creditors and try to get them to slow down their collection attempts to allow you time to obtain the funds you need to file.
- We provide trusted advice. We understand the distinctions between the various types of bankruptcy and can provide the best legal advice to help you decide if Chapter 13 is the best way to protect your assets and get back on the road to financial freedom.
- We are thorough. We make sure everything is done correctly so that there will be no delays in getting you the debt relief you need.
- We are available to answer your questions and concerns and we have the backup staff, paraprofessionals and legal assistants to prepare your case properly. To learn more about our legal team, read our attorney bios.
- We are certified by the American Board of Certification.
- We offer free, confidential, and personalized consultations to discuss your individual situation and determine the best way to help.
When you hire Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer, our Ohio Chapter 13 lawyer will sit down with you to evaluate your individual situation and determine whether filing for Chapter 13 or some other debt relief solution is the right choice for you. We will explain the laws, help you get your documents in order, and file a petition on your behalf with the bankruptcy court. We will be there for you throughout every step of the process to make sure everything is done properly and you get the debt relief you need.
You don’t have to feel discouraged or hopeless about debt. There is help available. Call us today at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati)
Our Ohio Chapter 13 Lawyer Explains Advantages
There are advantages and disadvantages to filing each type of bankruptcy. When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, you have the opportunity to repay your debts under better conditions and at lower interest rates than you were originally obligated to do. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves liquidation of assets, this process allows you to use future income to repay your creditors and keep your property.
Under federal law (11 USC section 1322), Chapter 13 allows you to consolidate many of your payments to avoid fees and fines. Debts that may be consolidated include secured loans, such as mortgages and balances on vehicle loans, as well as unsecured debts, such as credit card debt and medical bills. You can repay some or all of your debt affordably over a three- to five-year period. Some loans such as second mortgages or vehicle loans can be avoided or modified in a Chapter 13 plan. Plus, the automatic stay provision of Ohio bankruptcy law means that the phone calls and letters from your creditors will stop during this time. When you successfully complete the court-approved payment plan, the debts covered by the plan are discharged.
One of the most significant benefits of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it gives you the ability to keep your home, valuable non-exempt property (see Ohio exemptions) and other assets. If you have missed payments and are at risk for foreclosure, Chapter 13 gives you a chance to “catch up” and stop a foreclosure to keep your home. It also is an effective way to deal with nondischargeable debts such as student loans and back taxes.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Review
Tom Fesenmyer and staff have been prompt in returning phone calls and in answering my questions during this five year process with my Chapter 13. I would highly recommend this law firm. I would recommend them to anyone and everyone.” – Jackie Phillips
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer Explains How Chapter 13 Works
Chapter 13 is a repayment plan. If you have a regular source of income and some disposable income, you would choose Chapter 13 when:
- You are behind on your house or car payments.
- Your assets are not exempt.
- Your debts are not dischargeable.
- You have a pending foreclosure.
Under Chapter 13, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code gives you up to five years to repay your creditors. The minimum amount you will have to repay depends on how much you earn, how much you owe, and how much your unsecured creditors would have received if you had filed for Chapter 7.
Your repayment plan will be set up and approved by the courts. Unless a creditor files a formal objection to the plan, then all your creditors are bound by the confirmed plan. Under the plan, you will make regular monthly payments to a Chapter 13 Trustee, who then pays the creditors over the period of the plan. The repayment varies from 1% to 100% of what is owed, depending on the factors such as your income, expenses and type of debt. Once you complete all necessary payments, any unpaid balances on dischargeable debts are discharged.
For example, let’s say you owe $6,000 in credit card debt. The plan may provide for the repayment at 10% over a period of 60 months, or $600. You would pay $10 per month toward that debt. At the end of the plan, the balance of the debt is discharged and you won’t owe any more money.
Under Chapter 13, you can keep your property, so it will stop foreclosure of your home, even if foreclosure has already been filed. If you have missed payments on your mortgage and are threatened with foreclosure, this gives you a chance to make them up. Instead of having to pay the missed payments all at once, you can restart your regular mortgage payment and cover the arrears (the missed payments) in small, affordable payments over the period of three to five years.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys Answer FAQs
If you are faced with filing for bankruptcy, it’s natural to have many questions and concerns. These are best addressed in your free consultation, but to get you started, here are some answers to questions our Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers are often asked.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on your credit reports for up to seven years from your filing date. If some of your discharged debts were delinquent before filing for Chapter 13, they would come off your credit report seven years from the date of delinquency. All other discharged debts will come off of your report at the same time your Chapter 13 bankruptcy comes off.
Ohio bankruptcy exemptions are state laws that articulate which and/or how much of your assets are “exempt” and outside the reach of creditors when you’re filing bankruptcy. According to Ohio law (Title 23, Section 2329.66), you may exempt a portion of a property that falls into categories such as real estate, disability benefits, tools of the trade, life insurance policy or proceeds, and others. Allowable amounts for exemptions change periodically, and are listed here.
Debts backed up by property, such as home mortgages or automobile loans, are secured debts. The debt will be discharged in bankruptcy, but the lender is entitled to recover the property used as security. When you file for Chapter 13, you have choices for secured debt. You can either keep the secured property and continue paying the monthly amount, plus arrearages, in your repayment plan or return the property to the lender.
Debts that are not dischargeable in Chapter 13 include:
- Child support
- Student loan debt (except in rare cases)
- Some taxes
- Debt incurred through fraud
- Financial penalties imposed for DUI arrests.
Our affordable Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer can review your debts to determine which cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.
In a Chapter 13 reorganization and repayment plan, you may get to keep the vast majority of your assets if you make the agreed-upon payments. You get to use your bankruptcy exemptions to affect how much you pay to creditors through the plan. In addition to Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions, under certain circumstances you may use any of the federal non-bankruptcy exemptions that protect property such as federal and military retirement benefits. And if you are married and filing jointly for bankruptcy, you can double the Ohio exemptions allowed.
Attorney fees vary, based on factors such as how complicated your case is or if there are special issues that require spending more time to resolve. At Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer, we pride ourselves on keeping our costs low and not piling up add-on fees. Because we focus on bankruptcy, we offer a streamlined approach that is very affordable and can save you money in the long run.
Our experienced Ohio bankruptcy attorneys are here to answer all your questions throughout the entire bankruptcy process. Besides Chapter 13, we provide other bankruptcy services that include Chapter 7, Bankruptcy for Self-Employed, and Divorce Bankruptcy. Call us today to get started.
Call Our Ohio Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys for Help
Time is of the essence when it comes to debt relief. The sooner you take action, the better. A free consultation with an experienced and compassionate Ohio bankruptcy attorney at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer can help you decide what is the best option for your individual situation. Contact us by email or by calling 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati). You will receive valuable, personalized insights on debt relief suitable for your situation, with no further obligation.